- 300 -
asked will they hurt your sister and he said no they know that I ain't going to tell my sister anything, after all what does my sister know it just like you had to bring your sister will you tell her that it is going to be used for an apartment that is going to be used to shoot somebody so I answer that I won't even question such a thing. Now I said we are all in trouble, sure he said we have spies among them. We will always know their next move and then I asked him were we mentioned by name, I mean Solly, Nickie and I. He said yes. Well what do we do now. So he said you must give me a number where you will be because in a day or two we got to go out of town. So I asked where are the other guys. He said that's right I'll take you to them and then I could pick you up together and we will go the four of us. I asked how far we got to go. He said about 90 miles and I asked who is going to be there. He said when you get there you see. All of a sudden I thought of something. I said hey I forgot all about the apartment what am I going to do. I said wait a minute, instead of me going over to where them guys are I'll go to the Pelham Parkway apartment. I can't just leave the furniture there. No he said I forgot all about it myself. So I told him you know what we do you take me where those
- 301 -
guys are then from there I'll go to the Pelham Parkway apartment, this way I'll get over this before I go with you upstate. Now I want to know what shall I do, He said you go there and feel your way around and see what it is all about. I'll give you the name of the moving van and if anything you call him up any hour and you order the furniture to go to a dead storage and you won't need to do anything. You just take what clothes you need and leave them where those guys are staying. Then I said why don't you call him now so I can arrange things. I intend to put the furniture in storage so I might just as well do it and I'll be free to go anywhere OK pull over the I'll call him and he did and then he put me on the phone and I left off with the moving van people that I will call them at any hour and I need not worry about the bill as he has lots of bills as long as one of the boys call it will all go on one bill. OK that's fine I said. Now he takes me to those guys. They were at 246 Street somewhere I forgotjust where. So I met Nickie and Solly and a couple of more boys. They were telling me how worried they were as they knew I will stop in Harlem when I will get back from Dannamora. Sure I said where else can I go. So they asked me how long I was on the corner I told them and now I was talking about going
- 302 -
back to my apartment and can you imagine if anything would had happened from that apartment what a fix I would had been. Now you not kidding they all agreed. Now Nickie is telling me how discouraged he is and I told him don't let it bother you as there will be some fun in all this so he said yes some fun you almost got ruined already and we didn't start. I felt the same but what was I going to tell him. I hung around with those guys until about two in the morning and then I said here it goes I'm going home and I hope that everything will be all right. Nickie said that he wanted to come with me and I said no good in case of anything it will be harder so I left and I said so long and I went when I got there it was very late in the morning and I went to sleep at about one o'clock the next afternoon the doorman, I might just as well explain it now, he was not only the doorman but also the renting agent. Well he rang my bell and he went on to tell me that something very bad happened since you went away and I want you to know that a lot of tenants have been moving out as we cannot hold you to your lease. I asked him what happened as you know I just got back. Well he said two men were murdered across the lawn and his wife has already moved out. Now he said the police were here and they took everyone of the
- 303 -
tenants here fingerprints and when they got to your apartment I told them that you were a new tenant and that you had gone to your honeymoon and they said that when you return that you should go over to the police station. I said thank you and if I should decide to move I will send the moving van. He said OK. If I move I said what happened to the 360 dollars that my brother put in your hands when we first moved. He said that I gave him a receipt and all he has to do is come here and he will get his money. I said thank you as far as I'm concerned I told him I will stay but my wife is very nervous and I'm afraid she will want to move. So I told him not to bother calling the Police as I will go there right now. So he said OK you take care of that. I told him that I was going right away so that he won't bother calling them that very moment I called the moving van and I told him to put everything in storage as fast as he can. I tdd him to try and make it by four o'clock because the doorman had told me that four o'clock he was going to his mother.
Now I go to the house where the boys were and the next day I found out that the furniture was put into storage and at least I felt better. Soon we left for upstate. I don't remember just where but I know that it was about 90 miles from New York City and when we arrived we went to a large
- 304 -
house. We were four of us, Solly, Nickie, Chic 99 and myself. Now as we walk in the house Buster and the Doc came right over and shake hands with us and Buster brought me to meet Salvatore Maranzano, as this was the first time I had met him. He told me to sit right next to him on his right and I said hello to everybody as it was too much trouble to go all around and shake hands and as the table was all set to eat. They had ordered for the spaghetti to be thrown into the boiling water and Mr. Marnazano asked everyone to stand up and he went on to explain that everyone make himself at home and after we eat we will all meet one another as this is a sort of get together meet. All told, I say we were about forty. It was a very large room and it looked as though that two rooms were broken down and made into one. We all started to eat it look as though that everyone was hungry. We had whiskey and wine on the table but no one seem to be drinking. After the supper was over they introduced all of Maranzano's men to Tom Gagliano's men. Now I find out that Tom Gagliano was the man on whose farm we were when we went and practice with the guns. I spoke about when we were on the farm, in the earlier part of this story. Mr. Maranzano spoke to me on the side and he was telling me about the Pelham Parkway apartment that he was very happy the way
- 305 -
things turned out and that he was proud of me being so alerted in spotting Joe the Boss and the way I handled the situation when I met them in the elevator. I'll mention the important people that were here at this meeting, besides Mr. Maranzano there was Tom Gagalino, Joe Profaci, Joe Pasisades, Tom Lucheese, Joe Bonanno, Bobby Boyle, the Gap, also known as Dominick Petrilli, Nick Cappazzi, Nick Padovana, Salvatore Schillitani, alias Solly Schields, the Doc, Steve Rinelli, Charley Buffalo, and Buster. I never knew Buster's real name. He died early and young. After the supper we all had coffee and then they excused themselves and we were led into another room and after five minutes I was the first one to be called. I went in the room and they were all standing by their chair and I walked to the right of the room. I was directed to sit next to Mr. Maramzarro, and on the table there was a gun and a knife. Well he said some words in Italian which I did not understand, but I know what it meant. It meant that you live by the gun and the knife and you die by the gun and the knife. Then he gave me a piece of paper and he said that he will burn it and I shall push it back and forth and I shall say as I do it this is the way I shall burn if I ever expose this Cosa Nostra and then he went on to explain to important rules as there are more but this being time of war he only explained the
- 306 -
two most important ones and later on I will tell of all the rules. The two important rules he explained at this time were(one) if you fool around with a member's wife or any part of his family there is no defense for you and the same goes for squealing. Now this doesn't mean that you can go and fool around with anyone else's wife, they don't encourage you to do just that, the idea is that an outsider who would like to press charges against you for doing just that sort of thing he won't know where to make a beef against you unless he has a friend who is a member. In the old days the way I was made to understand, if a member was married and he had a sweetheart he was in plenty to trouble but the bosses developed a habit if they fell for a member's wife he would have the husband killed whether she like it or not. There were not many of these doings but the few that there were that I know of I will talk about it as I go on. One I already told you about, that was the one who got killed on Palham Parkway. The last thing that was done before you were made a member was to draw a little blood from your shooting finger with a needle or a pin which meant now we are brothers and after it was all over everyone stood by their chairs and held hands again something was said in Italian, again I did not understand. Now as long as I am on the subject of making friends of ours as this is the way
- 307 -
the expression is used when you introduce one friend to another friend, for instance I meet a friend and I am with another friend and I know that the guy I met is a member and the guy that I'm With don't know the guy we just met I will introduce him in this expression, I will say Hello Jim meet John he is a friend of ours but if he is just a friend and is not a member I would say John meet Jim, he is a friend of mine. The fellow that I am with would understand that the fellow that I introduces him to is not a member, he is just a friend. Now the reason why I brought this out and I am going ahead of my story is that I want to explain to the reader the difference between a member and a non-member. Now in the old days in normal times if a member brought a new man in the Cosa Nostra he would be responsible for any wrong doings. He will kill him if necessary. Now I want to explain about a new man I brought in the Cosa Nostra in 1957 or 1958 and Vito Genovese was the Boss. He was supposed to tell the man that Joe is standing up for you and if you do anything wrong Joe is responsible for you. Instead this is the way Vito brought it out, someone gave me your name and is responsible for you. The idea of this was to belittle me. Vito thought I didn't understand this move. This is the way they steal friends away from you. It was so raw that Joe Pagano remarked to me what was the
- 308 -
idea of that I thought that you were responsible for me. As this was the fellow that I personally brought into Cosa Nostra and the last one. Well I walked away from Joe and said you heard it. Now I go on with my story.
Now we leave the country and come back to New York City and I was placed in another apartment on Bronx River Parkway now as I have a personal grudge against Joe Rao as I found out he was the one who put me in trouble in 1924. He was the one who accused me of driving the car for the Irish mob. A telephone call comes in the apartment that Joe Rao and Big Dick are at the Pompei Restaurant, the call came about four o'clock in the morning. Solly Shields insisted on coming with me. We got to the Pompei restaurant at 125 Street and Seventh Ave. at about 5:30 in the morning and when we reached 126 Street on Seventh Ave. I asked Solly to drive the car as this was a personal grudge. He said that he will not take a chance at the wheel. Now as it was daytime we could see clear and when I saw Joe Rao and Doc Stretched and a lady enter the Pierce-Arrow that Joe Rao owned. Joe was the first to get into the car, the lady was next and Doc was not in the car yet when I got there and I pulled say about two feet away from the Pierce-Arrow right alongside. I waved Doc
- 309 -
away and he stopped short and I told Solly to go ahead and shoot him as he had the shotgun in his hands. As Solly was aiming his gun and it was not shooting but his feet were tapping a mile a minute by this time Joe had thrown the girl out of the car and he was on the run. I went for the gun that was on the seat of the car and I fired four shots at Joe Rao and I hit him in the buttocks, once. Now as I pull away I'm asking Solly what happened as if I didn't know that he froze but I wanted to hear what he had to say. He said that the safety was on the gun. I said what are you kidding. I opened the safety when we stopped at 126 Street, didn't I tell you that the gun was ready to fire. He didn't know what else to say the next day we got another phone call and this time Solly, Nickie and I went at 138 and 139 Street and St. Anne Ave. and there we say the guy that we got the phone call to shoot. Now before I came to a stop Nickie and Solly started to shoot from in the car. The first thing you know that the guy ran in a hallway and got away. Now we go back to the apartment and someone came there and wanted to know what is happening as there were too many misses in two days. I talked to him on the side and I told him to tell Buster and I want to get away from this apartment, I don't want to work with these guys any more. In a couple of days they sent us that is Nickie and I to what we
- 310 -
called the haunted house, the reason why we called it the haunted house was because Mr. Maranzano was living there and he moved from there to Yonkers. Now when a boss lives in a house like we called the haunted house that house is dangerous because if one of the guys that had that phone number on his person is caught by the opposite mob, God know how many will come to this house knowing or thinking that the Boss is still there, because it was only a couple of days that Mr. Maranzano had moved from L. I. to Yonkers. Now Nickie and I go into the house, it was a nine room house. Now the idea of us being there was in case someone called for Mr. Maranzano we gill give them a new number to call. Now as I looked the house over I told Nickie that the best thing for us to do at night was to say in one room upstairs and lock ourselves in this way at night they cannot sneak up on us by going from one room into another. I said its best we keep a bucket than jeopardize our lives. Then in the daytime we can see what is going on. He agreed and that is the way we lived there. Now when we were there about a month I got an idea. I told Nickie as he has a girl how about we take turns in going out and meet our girls as for sure both of us cannot go togther as one of us must be there to answer the phone. I said to Nickie you go out one night and I go out the following night, how do
- 311 -
you like it, he said fine. I said you go first, He said OK, so I let him go the first night. Now he comes back at 12 o'clock, he said that he could not enjoy himself thinking about me being alone in the big house while he was out enjoying himself. I said Nickie this is no good you make me feel bad. I can't come back at 12 o'clock I just as well don't go anywhere you put me in a spot, that is not fair, I got to go all the way into the Bronx how can I get back here by 12 o'clock. No Nickie I said I ain't going anywhere. Nickie said why don't you make her come to Long Island and I said and if she comes to Long Island how could I get here by 12 o'clock he said Joe about a mile from here there are furnished rooms and as long as I know where you are and if anything goes wrong I can call you. I said its a good idea, I'll call you and I'll give you the phone number of the place where I'm at. I said fine do you know the name of the street where these furnished rooms are he said yes so I picked up the phone and I called May up in the Bronx and I told her to meet at at such and such a street as I'm sure I don't remember where at this time I told her that I will pick her up at seven o'clock sharp. I told her first get a cab then from a cab get on a train and then leave the train and get on a cab again and make sure that she kept her eyes open. So that night I met her at seven o'clock and we went and had
- 312 -
the room we had rented earlier. Now about three o'clock in the morning I heard a knock on the door and as I already asked the landlady in advance that if it will be OK if someone came and call me I also told her that I would have a code by knocking on the door so many taps if I wanted to see the party or not after all I had to be careful we were in war for this I gave the landlady an extra five dollars in advance. This is no time to chisel. When I heard the knock and as I was on the ground floor and right in the back room facing the front door I did not know the fellow that came and call for me, now I went to sleep when he left but I did not sleep all night, especially when I called the haunted house and I did not get an answer. Now I was really worried, we stood up most of the night and May was telling me I don't know what you got into but she did not like it. I was agreeing with her all night and I really meant it now after all the troubles I had all these years I still agree with her but its too late now. Now about seven o'clock in the morning another guy came and call me this guy I knew he was the guy that lived in the next house and he knew what it was all about as he was a friend of the guy who owned the house and the guy who owned the house was one of the boys but he was a greaseball and Italian born. I told the landlady that it was OK to let him in and when he came in he asked me of I knew that someone was over here three o'clock this morning I
- 313 -
said yes but I told him I did not know the guy so I did not answer him and besides I called the house and I did not get an answer so now I was more worried so I would not move from this place until some one would have come over the way you did this morning so he said that's why he came as they realize that I did not know the guy that came at three o'clock in the morning. Now I asked him what happened anyway. He said he didn't know for sure one thing that he knew was that Nickie ran away from the house. So I asked where is Nickie now he said Nickie is in the guy's house that lives next door so I told him that I will dress and I will meet him outside in about half an hour. He said if you want you can take your time as now the damage is done, I'll go away and I'll come back, say in about two hours, OK? I said just let them guys in Yonkers know that you found me, OK. Yes he said I'll tell Nickie that I saw you. OK I said I want to steal all the time I can after this who knows when I'll be able to get out again, so I stayed then and in about two hours Nickie called me and he told me that the people in Yonkers were notified that one of them is coming tonight to pick you up and that the old man wants to see you. So I said that as long as I am in trouble I might as well stay here as long as I can there was no sense talking about anything on the phone so I said call me about three o'clock this afternoon and I will meet you and we will go back
- 314 -
to the haunted house. OK Nickie he said, OK. Now the landlady asked rne if everything was alright. I said yes. I gave her some story but I don't remember just what but she was a nice German woman.
Three o'clock in the afternoon Nickie called me and I met him and we went back to the haunted house as it started to snow. About seven o'clock that night Buster and another guy came over and Buster and I drove to Yonkers and we left the other guy in the haunted house to keep Nickie company while we drove to Yonkers. I told Buster the truth what really happened and he said to tell the old man as there is nothing wrong with that you did as you did not leave the house alone. I'm sure he won't say anything after all he is got his wife with him and he know that we are young fellows and it ain't your fault if Nickie saw or got scared because he was alone. You were alone the night before so we reached Yonkers and when I got into the house everyone was laughing. What happened Joe you made us come there with three cars. We got a phone call from the guy next door he told us that you guys saw someone and that you both jumped out the window. I said I know that Buster had told me all about it so they asked me were you there when it happened, I said no. So Joe Profaci and the Doc were kidding me and so was Bobby Doyle. Now the old man called me in his room
- 315 -
and I told him the story and he said it could happened to anyone so long as you did not leave the house alone. I said I would not do a thing like that so he asked me what shall he do with Nickie. I said its better you let him go with the rest of the Americanized boys and when I am finished with the house in Long Island I would like to come here in Yonkers with you he said OK. I ate there and then Buster and Doc drove me back to Long Island.
A couple of days later they sent me another guy to stay with me in Long Island and Nickie went somewhere in the Bronx with the Gap and Solly. The one who replaced Nickie was Joe Palisades Rosato, he was another bargain he would awaken me every half hour and hear all kinds of noise. He lasted about four or five days and they they gave me another guy and this guy used to see all kinds of lights as the house was on the corner and at night when a car made a turn naturally the lights will shine in the house and he also will wake me up as I was a heavy sleeper, these guys could not sleep at night, they will bother me most of the night. His name Was Charlie Scoop. Well it lasted one more week and the haunted house was closed and I went to live in Yonkers.
Now while I am at the headquarters I learned quite a lot. First Steve Rannelli was telling me how lucky Bobby Doyle was, he was telling
- 316 -
me that after those guys waited into my apartment for about seven weeks he, Bobby Doyle, comes out of the sky and he gets a break the first time he comes. Oh I didn't know that Bobby come to the ground floor apartment sure he said then there was four of them. He said yes but only three did the shooting. Oh I said. Then Steve asked me did Buster tell you the way he ran right into a cop's hands. I said no. Yes he said when Buster came or jump out of the apartment and went around the corner he ran right into a policeman's arms. The cop asked Buster what's the trouble and Buster told him he didn't know he was running because he heard shots. The cop asked where and Buster pointed towards the building and the cop ran towards the building and Buster took off. Oh I see is all I said. Now Steve is telling me that I must go with him as he wants to get Joe Baker in the Forham section of the Bronx. He asked me if I know Joe Baker. I said sure I know him and I like him. Steve said don't let the old man hear that you like him. I said why he said the old man hates him and I said well I didn't mean anything, I just like him and what is that got to do if I like him, after all he is Ciro Morello's nephew if he is got to go he goes what can I do. Well tomorrow you and I will take a ride to 187 Street and Arthur Ave. and see if we can get him. I said Steve is it OK with the old man, he said come on and he brought me into
- 317 -
the old man's room and he told the old man is it OK if I take Joe with me to look for Joe Baker? So the old man asked me if I knew him. I said yes. Then the old man said, "Listen Joe I don't want anyone else hit, all I want is Joe Baker" and then asked me if I knew tham all. "Well," I said, "I know most of them from the days when I was stealing, but I don't know who is connected or is not." "Well," he said, "all I want is Joe Baker, so you need not know. Later on we will tell you who is who." Now I ask Steve why does he want Joe Baker so bad. Well he said Joe Baker used to hijack the old man's alcoholic trucks and he wants to get even. Oh I see, I said. So the next day we went out looking for Joe Baker. I drove around the neighborhood and most of the boys were there but not Joe Baker. Now Steve is asking me if I'm sure if Joe Baker wasn't there. I said yes I was. Now the next day I asked for a faster car as I had a Ford the day before so they gave me the Mormon and it was brand new. This time they made another guy come because he also knew Joe Baker. Now we are three and I drove to 187 Street and the same boys were there but no Joe Baker, so I told Steve see you think I am lying. Well he said I only want to make sure. As we are riding back to Yonkers and we were on Boston Post Road I notice a car tailing us. I told the both of them don't look behind as I think that we are getting a tail. Now
- 318 -
as Boston Road is a wide Avenue I told these guys to have a pencil ready and I will make a four corner turn and I will be in back of them and we will take their license number and we will give it to the old man. So that is just what I did. They had a big Lincoln and it was grey and they ran like hell. Now we get back to Yonkers and the old man is waiting for me in front of the house and he has the license plate number of my car in his hands and he tells me that I cannot use the Mormon any more as they took my number. I hand him the other cars number and when he saw I had the right number he hops with joy, especially when he saw that it was a Lincoln. Boy was he happy. He said that is what I like a fellow that is on the job. Then he asked me what happened and I told him and he said they are a bunch of phonies they went back and they reported that they chased me all over the Bronx, as you know he said I have spies among them and I got a call telling me they almost got a couple of my boys but my boys ran away on them. So I said ask these two guys who ran away on who. So he said that he believe me and the proof is that you got their number, good for you he said we were preparing to move again. So I said you need not move now Steve is satisfied and we used the Ford again and in a couple of days we were back on our way to 187 Street and as I passed 187 Streed and I was nearing Third Ave. Steve
- 319 -
yelled at me and told me to make a four corner turn as he said he saw a big boss so I asked him if he was sure as I did not know the man so I turned and I pulled right alongside of this big boss. This was also a Lincoln and I sat at the wheel while Steve took aim at the man. Steve had a pump gun and he fired one shot and as he did so the man in the other car went with the shot and threw himself on the floor of his car. Now Steve is yelling with all his might for me to step on the gas. So I told him that he is not hit to take another shot as I figured he is a big boss and it better to finish something that we started but you could not control Steve. He was just yelling step on it. I was dissappointed as these guys talk a good mob and then when the action comes they get all excited so I went about six blocks and I told him to get off the car as I will go back alone. I figured I'll be better off alone as he was insisting that he hit the guy and I did not want to argue with him. Again the old man is waiting for me in front of the house and all the boys were standing there with him and he asked me as I walked in the house who did he tell you the guy was. I said that he told me that the guy was a big boss. The old man told me that he told you wrong that the guy is not even a member. So I said OK you need not worry about it because the guy is OK he wasn't hit and if he did get hit I can rest assure you that he ain't hurt as he went with the shot. I am sure I saw him go with the shot and as I was talking the phone rang and
- 320 -
the old man spoke and then hung up and he ran to me and gave me a hug he said that was one of my spies and he just told me that Paul is alright and I asked who is Paul and he said the guy that Steve hit. Oh I said then I'm right and he said yes and then I said I don't want to work with Steve any more and he said don't worry you won't. He said that he was going to get rid of Steve by sending him on a farm for the rest of the war then I told Buster the way he was yelling and I told Buster that hereafter I want to work with him as I am getting sick with these two guys. I did not want to say anything the other day but when I made that four corner turn on Boston Road I told them to shoot a couple of shots at those guys you see what happened they went back and said that we ran away. So Buster said I was thinking that I wonder why you guys didn't take a couple of shots at those guys so I told him because they were ducking they were afraid that the other guys were going to shoot that's why. If it wasn't for me I said we wouldn't had gotten the plate number neither so you see what I mean. I told Buster what a bad showing we would had made especially Solly I told Buster if we got to go anywhere see that he don't come. I see what you mean Buster said. Them guys in the other car I said were no bargain either. I knew two of them I told Buster but I don't know if they are in, meaning in the mob. Now Buster takes me into his room and we started to tell stories and he started to tell me how
- 321 -
we met that is how we got together and he went on to tell me about Peter Morello, the guy who got hit on 116 Street. He told me about himself in Chicago how they killed someone in his family and how he was fighting them all by himself and how the old man got in touch with him and asked him to join in with him in this war and how they got the clutching hand. He said that there was a deal made between Steve Rannelli and the old man. He said you guys went out to war against Joe the Boss and at the same time we went out to war against Joe the Boss. Buster I said all I know is that I was asked to get about a half dozen guys and that we were going to war against Ciro Morello and that is all I know and they told me that the odds is against us and if we win that we will be in good shape now you tell me that you guys did not start together with these guys. He said no Joe the Boss sentenced all my nationality to death so we got together and we are fighting them, what would we have to lose we going to die anyway. I see I said how did you guys get together with these guys that I'm with. Let me understand it straight, you see your boss is Tom Gagaliano they killed his boss for nothing and they put another boss in his place you know about that. I said yes you guys killed the new boss that they put there you know that Bobby Doyle killed him don't you. I said yes. Now Buster tells me that he Buster killed another boss but I don't
- 322 -
remember who he told me although he told me, so you guys knew that they did not kill him so you guys figured that there is someone else doing this and they made their business to find out who is doing it, and as Steve Ranelli knew the old man he found out that it was us that was doing it. Some how he got in touch with the old man and they made a deal between them, after all they got to be sure of one another, so your people gave us a name for us to kill and the old man gave Tom Gagaliano a name for you guy to kill and when that was done we got together and now we are working as a team and we are all one. So I asked when this is over I could come with you if I want he said sure you can so I asked him how do you feel about me coming with you he said I hope so. Now we are told to go to Frank Scalise house, as the old man explained to us that the fellow that Steve shot on 187 Street turned out for the best as his brother is a Cosa Nostra member and as long as it did not turn out to be a serious wound and that he only got a little of his ear cut off they are willing to come on our side. Now I want four of you guys to go and see what he has in mind. He said I want you all to be very careful I know he means well but I ain't taking any chances so Buster, Joe, the Doc and Solly, you guys go and the Doc will do all the talking. So we went to Frank's house and it was way up in the Bronx but I don't remember. As Frank was alone at his house he
- 323 -
greeted us pretty nice so he talk to the Doc on the side and we had coffee and we left in about an hour and on the way back the Doc told us that Frank wants to get Joe Baker for the old man to prove that he is sincere, so when we got back to Yonkers and the Doc explained everything to the old man, the old man said that he will give Frank only two weeks for him to get Joe Baker and when the two weeks are up he will take personal charge of Joe Baker. Well the two weeks were up and nothing happened. Now I understand that they going to get an apartment in the heart of Forham and the apartment is going to be used to get Joe Baker and as I know who Joe Baker is I am one of the guys to go. Buster, Nick Capazzi and Solly, and as Solly knows who Joe Baker is the old man figures that it is better four eyes than two. Now we are awaken one night and it was four o'clock in the morning and we were told to go to a certain address and a certain apartment on Crescent Ave. at 187 Street, which is across the street from an office that Joe Baker goes. Well we found the empty apartment and it was on the top floor. The first day we went we stayed there until it got dark and then we will leave. Now the second day we got up at four o'clock again and we parked the Ford in another block and again we went into the apartment and Joe Baker showed up as he went into the office he picked up something and as the
- 324 -
office was about 8 feet from the corner he will pick up something and he will walk that eight feet and he will turn the corner and this was his routine every morning at the same time, say about 9 o'clock in the morning. Some how they found out what he will pick up will pick up some money every morning and he will go to the bank. Now every time Joe showed up Buster will take aim and by the time he was set to pull the trigger Joe is making his turn. Now this was going on all the time. We went there every day but Sunday. Now I was always thinking that if these guys should find out that we are going to this apartment they will blow us out of there. Now as we were watching across the street we were taking every car number that stopped in front of that office. We even saw the car that tried to tail us that day on Boston Road. So that's all that was going on a few times Joe Profaci was coming to see what it was all about and all we will be doing all day will be just telling stories and talking about the Family, what I mean about the Family, it was not my family, I mean the Family mob. Gee Joe Profaci sure was telling me everything there was to know about our Family. Now we are going there about 5, 6, 7 weeks, I don't remember so one day I was telling the one in charge that someday they are going to catch up with us. I was telling them that you guys don't know as you are not from New York, this is one of their main hangouts and we are
- 325 -
taking too many chances going in and out of here one day they will spot us and I can't say that you will see what will happen because if they do find out about us we won't be around to know what happened. So I said that I have an idea but I'm afraid to talk. I think it was Nick that had charge so I told them that we are not going to do anything here no matter how long we come here so here is what I like to do -- this guy come every day and he never missed is that right. They said that's right. So I said I suggest that we will go to the apartment on the first floor and we will stick up the people, say we go in there about 8 o'clock in the morning and we will have about an hour to wait when Joe shows up then you could shoot him. If we blow it by Joe not showing up you ain't blowing anything because you ain't going to do anything any way. So Nick said that he will take it up with the old man tonight and see what he says. So I said make sure that you tell him your opinion and make him understand that there is very little hope of doing anything from this apartment. So Nick said the old man will want to talk to you if he wants to know I'm sure he will want to talk to you. So that night the old man called me in his room and I explained everything to him. He told me to go ahead and take a chance. I'm getting worried about you guys so tell me what you need. I said that I need two springs from a truck and that one of them is got to be very sharp. I'm
- 326 -
afraid to tap on the door as people are not opening any doors so freely, that's why I want tools. Well that day when the old man spoke to me in the wee hours of the morning we didn't even go back to the apartment on the top ?oor because they had to get the tools for me. The next morning we got up four o'clock in the morning and Bobby Doyle came over and asked me if I knew what I was doing. He said I am going to look bad if I fail. I said I am not going to look bad because the old man himself is disgusted as we are going there too long and if we do blow it we ain't blowing anything because you ain't going to do anything anyway. So that morning we went to the top floor apartment and we waited until eight o'clock and we went downstairs, Solly and I, and I jimmied the door opened and when we walked into the apartment as it had a long hall. To our surprise we found three painters. They were painting the empty rooms. We had the guns in our hands and they wanted to give us their money and I told them that we did not want their money, just go on painting to way you were doing and everyone will be happy and no one will bother you and I sent Solly to go and call the other two guys and that they should make sure that their guns are all set before they come down as Solly went upstairs one of the painters called me and told me that he is a friend of Joe Baker and that Joe Baker himself had rented this apartment. So I told him don't worry
- 327 -
about anything as he won't see Joe Baker any more. So he looked at me wondering what I had said, I could see that he was puzzled. Now I was looking across the street and I could see very clear straight ahead and that was where the office was. Now the other two came down and they had their guns ready and about 9 o'clock Joe came and he went into the office and when he opened the door of the office is the time that I left. I left so that I can have the car started and be ready to go just as soon as they will come. I'll be fair and say that I cannot remember if I heard the shots or not. All I know that I had to have the car ready when they come. I was in the car less than a minute when they came. They got into the car and I went about 6 or 7 blocks and I left two guys off the car and I was on my way to Yonkers. Now Solly was telling me as we were on our way to Yonkers that he felt bad because Joe Baker came out of the office and as he reached the corner his wife met him and she handed him something and they kissed and he went the other way and the wife just stayed there and was watching him go when Buster had to shoot. It all happened so fast if we will had had another chance at Joe some other time we would had done nothing this time. We had no choice as this was our first and last chance we would had had. So I asked sadly as I said before that I liked Joe Baker and also asked if Nick fired he said yes. Solly said that he saw the dust come out of Joe's coat as the bullets hit him in the
- 328 -
back. Now we got to Yonkers and we went into the house and the old man greeted us and he was very happy. All of a sudden I asked the old man if I would had spoken to him and would had told him that I liked Joe Baker would he had forgotten about him. He said no Joe he was working too hard on us you know he is Ciro's nephew. So I said I know. We got the news some hours later that Joe died in the hospital and when they had him in the funeral parlor Ciro put one hand on the coffin and the other hand he held high in the air and swore that he will avenge Joe's death. When the old man heard about this he sent someone at the funeral parlor to see if there was a chance to get Ciro Morello at the wake. Naturally it was a spy but word came that it was impossible to do anything.
Right after the Joe Baker affair I was loaned to Newark for about five Weeks as I was supposed to drive a truck as they were after a very important man. I remember his name but it is a hard name and I will try to do the best I can -- his name was Pordanor. He was a rich man and is important in Newark today. While I was in Newark I met quite a few boys. I met Tom Bell, Sam Accardo, Sam Monicor, Don Steve, a fellow named Joe and they were also after Richie. This Richie was shot in the head by Steve Ranelli with a shot gun and he hit him with all the blast in the head but Richie did not get hurt as the powder in the shells was very weak and we did not get anyone on the job that I was assigned to so I came back to N.Y.C. and right after I came back I was sent to the Haunted House on Long Island.
Now I started to tell Buster I wanted to get away from Yonkers as I had on my mind that I wanted to go out and make some money. I asked him if he could talk to the old man. He said Joe right now there is no one that can talk to the old man better than you. He said you don't know what a favor you did to him and ourselves because we need not get up four o'clock in the morning. He asked me where would you want to go. As I was already thinking about it before I asked Buster I had the answer - I told him that I can go to Lons Island to one of my spies and stay there for a while. Then Buster said Joe I'm going to tell you something. The old man is in touch with
- 329 -
Charlie Lucky and Vito Genovese and they are talking about making peace so be careful as it looks as though that it won't be long before there will be peace. Charlie and Vito I don't know who they are but the old man tells me everything. Are trying to get Joe the Boss, if they get Joe the Boss the trouble will be over. The reason why I know Buster said is because the old man feels bad - you see the old man wants to get Joe the Boss himself but they, Charlie and Vito, said that they themselves want to do it as they have a grudge of their own - no one likes him. Well anyway I said I'm glad to hear it, but I'll tell you the truth I said I really want to go and meet the girl you know Buster we are young and he said you not kidding if he had a girl he would want to see her too but he said I'm from Chicago and I don't know anyone over here with that the old man happened to pass by us and he gave me a nice smile and Buster looked at me as if to say go ahead so I called the old man and I asked him and he said why not I know you can take care of yourselves and beside you earned it so I asked him if I can take one of the Fords as I cannot use my car as it is too well-known. He said OK and he told me Joe the only thing I can tell you is to be careful as you know Joe we can feel sorry for you if anything happened you know it is almost over. We are just waiting to get Joe the Boss that's all there isn't anything to do until then we all we had to do so go ahead and be careful. So I said I will. There was a lot done while I was at the
- 330 -
Pelham Parkway and 187 Street. He said Joe we are a couple of thousand now, when we started we were only 40, do you remember. I said yes and then he said I had them, the ones who came on our side, to take care of what I wanted. We did not even use our own men. But he does like to use his own men on Joe the Boss. So I told Buster that it was OK and he was happy and they are all telling me to be careful and I know what they meant and they were telling me not to go out and steal. Well I got whatever I had in the car and I asked the old man for fifty dollars and he handed me 100 dollars and I left and went to Danny as he lived in L.I. When I got there Danny was there alone, he told me please day and night I have been alone because my stupid wife saw a gun under my pillow and as she is a square she called the cops and now I am out on bail. Oh Gee I said I can't stay here. He said come with me and see what I get for 20 dollars a week and I will pay half of the rent as I am free and I could make some money while you are all tied up and you cannot hustle. I said Dan I'm going to call the boys and I'm going to crash a couple of stores. Good he said can I come. I said why do you think that I came here for. We we went and got the room and it was a swell place and there was a phone in the hall right next to my room and Dan was making a list of what he had to buy and what kind of pots
- 331 -
to bring over. That night I called Monk and was he glad to hear from me. I told him to get a car for the following night and make sure that he brought Johnnie D, because Nickie will not be with us and beside Johnnie D knows Long Island pretty good and you pick out a good store in Long Island and he said he will take care of everything and where will he meet me and I gave him the phone and I told him to write it in code key. I said before I hung up bring only Johnnie with you of course and the tools. I said I have Danny here. OK he said. So the next night they called me about four o'clock in the morning and I met them on the corner. Dan was with me and to make it short we made good as they were driving me back to the flat Dan told them "Listen boys when you bring the swag to Fat West tell him that he is going to give 25 dollars for Joe, tell him that Joe wasn't with us tonight so that Joe will have some decent money in his pocket," so Monk said we will all put in 25 dollars apiece, this way if Joe is got 300 dollars coming to him he will get an extra 100 dollars, so I said thanks. The next night Dan picked up the money and that is what it was, about 400 dollars all together and I felt rich so I called May and she was not home so I told her mother that I will call the next night. Now that night Dan tells me that the Gap called him and that the Gap wanted to talk to me and I told Dan to call him and when he was on the phone I got on, the Gap told me that he was glad that I got out of the Yonkers house...
- 332 -
as he knew I couldn't move so I said already I did something. Yes he said how about we go out and I said where, he said we go all the way out in the end of Long Island. I said just you and I he said I'll bring Tommie with me. I said good you call Dan and let me know when the next afternoon Dan came over and he told me the Tap and Tommie are going to stop in front of his house at 10 o'clock that night. So I called May and I told her that I will call the following night. So that night I met them in front of Dan's house and we left as Dan could not come with us because we did not want to take a chance in case anything may happen so I told Danny that I will see him when I will get back so when I got into the car they told me that we will go to Valley Stream, Long Island at the Pavilion Royal as it was a classy place and no racket guys will be out there so we went to Valley Strean and when we got there it was quite a distance from where we were as we were walking in the place we saw a couple of guys that Tommie thought were against us as I didn't know so I asked Tom what will we do. He said nothing we will go in. I said OK and the Gap said the hell with them we got guns in case of anything so as soon as we sat down the waiter came over and said that the table across the way was sending us a drink. So we accepted the drinks and we wish them luck and we order something to eat and we called the waiter and we sent the other table a round of drinks. As Tommie Brown is a classy guy he asked me how much money
- 333 -
did I have I told him that I had over 400 dollars. He was glad he explained to me that as those people are money men we would like to take the check for both of the tables because we want to make an impression and we want them to think that we got money as this trouble is about to be ended. I said Tommie I'll pay for the both tables as I'm going to tell the truth to you I went out with some of the boys and we crashed a joint in Long Island and I got 400 dollars for my share so you need not worry. There ain't a man on earth that is loose with money like Tommie is and I was happy to be in a spot to be able to pay just once when I was in Tommie Brown's company you can never pick up a tab if Tommie is around, so he called the waiter and he told him that when those guys on the other table were ready to leave to make double sure that he will bring us their check so that is what the waiter did naturally he had to get together with the waiter on the other table, so the both checks by the time we left amounted to 300 dollars that included a good tip for both waiters. We stayed in the place for a long time. I guess the both tables were waiting for one another to leave. All the time we were there we were sending drinks freely to one another's table. Gee I felt good because I was able to pay. Well when I got back I called for Monk again and we went out again this time we went to Brooklyn as Johnnie knew how to get to Brooklyn through Green Point from L.I. It was a short cut and we made good.
- 333a -
Some detective was over to see me and he told me that he had Buster's picture but he never did show it to me. The same detective wrote in to the FBI and he wrote all about Buster from Chicago. The fellow that I talked about on TV. I was shocked that there was no record on Buster when I say no record I mean it was off the police record that Buster got killed. Well I heard that they could not come up with Buster's record. I did not need to get hit on the head to know why there was no record of Buster being killed. Not only was Buster's record missing also Steve Ranelli's record was missing and these two were very important in my life at that time. Well I did not say anything I could had said on TV that the police took out the record of both of these two fellows. Now this detective that came and see me he showed me Steve's picture thinking that I won't remember him but I did and I kept the picture and I asked the detective why he did not produce the picture at the right time. Well I understand that he was sore at me because I said on TV that the police thre Abe Rellis out the window while Abe was in their custody. I don't see why the detective or anyone else should be sore at me especially when it is the truth. It reminds me of the people that are sore at me for saying bad things about the Italians. Well I'll say it again I am an Italian myself does anyone think that I would say something without any foundation. I shall s y not but I do want to tell the readers of America that there are a few
- 333b -
more that are telling the Government the same thing that I am telling but they would not come forward so what do they want me to say that the mob guys are Germans. Gee it don't make any sense to me to hear that they feel hurt because of the Italian people. I am an Italian I'll say it again and that is it. One day they would find out for themselves they would remember me when they would find out, I promise you. They feel so bad yet there is a guy killed here and there is a guy killed there - this goes the same way for the junk agent - there is not a man alive that gave them information with the exception of one and that is the guy that sent about forty-three guys to jail, including myself. His name is Salvatore Rinando. He got his release about eight or ten months ago even though they just missed him in Westchester County jail all the guys that would go after him are in jail. The mob would not help getting him because the mob feels that the guys that Solly sent to jail were not supposed to fool with junk. Well there are a handful that fooled with junk the rest of them may of fooled with junk with Solly but it was a long time ago but Solly moved up the dates in other words if they did anything with Solly in 1950 he turned the dates to say 1958 in other words he lied. Now when they all went to jail they set Solly free but I don't say they would get him now but they will get him. I know they would because he is with his family and when a guy like Solly stays with his family it will be a matter of time. I can't hold against him for sending me to jail because I know that he did not want to send me
- 333c -
to jail but an agent by the name of Frank Savaggie made Solly do it because he the agent was mad at me because I did not do what he wanted me to do he wanted to become a big man on my information but he the agent says that I made a fool out of him. I never heard of such a thing. Here is a man makes an arrest and framed me in another case and got me an extra twenty years. I don't believe that he sleeps well at night if a guy gets so selfish and tried to become a great man over night and when he is told that he must be on the job for at least five or six years he blows his top. I know that he felt bad about what he done to me as he told me so he realized that he should not take a personal interest in me. I tell you more about this agent when I get to the year 1962. I want to finish telling you about Buster and how I got close to him when we met at a young age. Of course I met him during the War of 1930. He was a kid and as I understand he came from Chicago and I don't know who killed someone in Buster's family but I do know that Buster warred against Al Capone's mob and Buster was all alone and before my old boss Mr. Manazano, I don't know how, he got hold of Buster and had Buster come here to New York somewhere around 1930 to join him in the car against Joe the Boss. Well I learned not only from Buster but from the guy that were with him and when these guys tell you something they don't tell any fairy tales the guys that told me about Buster were guys like Joe Profaci and guys like him as Buster were young and I was young. We got close and anytime he had to go anywhere he used to
- 333d -
ask the old man to send me with him. One time he Buster had to go somewhere out of town and he Buster asked the old man to let me go along with him but the old man sent someone else instead of me and when Buster got back he told me that he was sorry that I did not go along because if I did go with him two lives would had been saved so I asked him how and he told me that these two guys were sent out of town to get together with some people that was supposed to be against the old man the guys that they were supposed to meet were Buster and the guy that went with Buster if I had went it would had been I and Buster that these guys thought that we were against the old man, Mr. Manazano, instead they walked into a trap.
When they found out that they walked into a trap they pleaded for their lives and they told Buster that they had a couple of kids apiece and they told Buster after all we came here because they sent us here so give us a break and let us go and they promised Buster that they would never come back. This way the mob would think that they were dead but Buster did not trust the other guy and he was forced to kill them both and that is why Buster hoped that I was with him instead of the other guy. He Buster said that he would had trusted me and he would had let the guys go. I told Buster you are not kidding you know I would had let the guys go. Gee I told Buster now I feel bad that they did not make me come with you. Now you know why I liked Buster because he had a heart and I hope the reader would not
- 333e -
laugh when I say that Buster had a heart but you must remember that the other two guys went there to kill Buster and the guy that was with Buster. Would the other guys had let Buster go? We don't know but Buster was thinking of letting them go only he Buster did not trust his partner. He was afraid that the other guy would had told the old man but Buster knew me by this time and he knew that I also had a heart. I wish the young mob guys read this and they will realize that this life was a tough life in the old days and believe me I was sorry that I got hooked and I used to tell Buster - in fact a few times I told Buster let's run away on the mob and we would get lost and Buster used to laugh. Now I told you about some of the police and about one of the junk agents and yet they think that I have been rude. I could had said plenty more so they should not hold anything against me considering. I also warned Buster not to get in any cheap argiment that I mean was such as to get in a fight with young fellows - say like in a cheap crap game because he was cutting one of the games down on the East Side - by cutting I mean taking a percentage when the shooter made some profit whenhe got through shooting.
I knew they would use that kind of a bait on Buster because he was something to worry about as they knew what he done in Chicago all by himself and what he had done in the Joe the Boss and Maranzano war when I went to the wake of all the things they told his friends was that they already got even for Buster's death so that there won't be any hard feelings but it was all lies, they got rid of him because they feared him.
- 333f -
The reason why I wrote about Buster and the two guys that he was forced to kill is to show the world and the young soldiers how the Bosses sent these two guys to their doom to suit their own purposes. If Buster would had gotten caught with his pants down the two guys that Buster killed were not going to kill Buster and his friend right away they would had held Buster and his friend and tortured them to force out of them the whereabouts of Marazano because Mr. Marazano was the real brains that was giving Joe the Boss all the trouble and Joe the Boss' outfit at that time was the same outfit we have today. Only today it is ruled by Vito Genovese. In other words, Joe the Boss was just as powerful in those days as Vito Genovese is today. I want the soldiers to read what I am writing because they walk around with their heads so high in the air that only their loved ones can stand them. They don't know what this life really is and if they knew most of them will run and never stop running. They are very lucky that today they don't use that kind of pressure. Joe the Boss knew in his heart that those two boys had the odds of ninety to one that they may never come back but still he sent them because he was desperate and he knew that he was about to lost the war. Of course I'm talking about the War of 1930. But the Bosses like Vito Genovese work differently If anyone starts any trouble today against them they make it their business to let the police know all about it by talking on the phone and they talk about just who
- 333g -
is giving them trouble and they make sure that they mention the name of the troublemaker - like in the case of the Gallo affair everyone on earth knew that the Gallo boys had kidnapped a few of the bosses and then let them go. It was talked about so much on the phone until the police got wind of it and the police went all out to get the Gallo boys. But as long as it is gangsters against gangsters the police seemed to go after the Gallo boys and they never locked up any of the bosses that was kidnapped. Life got to be so sweet for the bosses and there is so much money involved today that they don't even want to retire. They are supposed to retire at the age of sixty-five and Vito Genovese and a couple of other bosses are well over the sixty-five mark. Do they retire? No I'll tell you why. In the old days a boss never saw a million dollars, they saw say like one hundred fifty thousand or two hundred thousand but as I said never a million as they make today. So the life got to be so sweet that they want to be boss until they are a hundred that's why I say that this second government would get to be so powerful that it would be impossible to break it up. One day the American people would remember what I am telling them.
Only with one gambling house in Las Vegas that I know of earned five hundred thousand dollars a month. The government knows about it but cannot get the evidence but one day they will get the evidence and then the public would hear how much the mob takes in on gambling.
- 334 -
The next day I collected and I called May and I met her that night and she was telling me that a couple of guys went up her Mother's house about two months before and they told her Mother that if your daughter don't stay away from Joe that they are going to kill both of them so I got in touch with the old man through Tommie. He knew that I wanted to see him.
Well someone had to pick me up as we cannot go there on our own always if someone wants to get to Yonkers like I was trying to do they never let you or anyone else drive there yourself, because they will never know if someone stuck you up or what. So the boys came and pick me up and when I got to Yonkers and I told him what I had to say he told me that I will have to stay in the Yonkers house for a couple of days. So a couple of days passed and the old man had all of us that was at the house lined all around the room standing with our back to the wall and in the middle of the room there was a man I never saw before, he had sort of grey hair, the old man called my name and he told me to tell my story to this man. So I did. Now all the boys heard this and they were mad and the old man that was in the middle of the room was looking everyone over and he was shaking his head. Now Mr. Manarzano started to talk to the man and he told him you heard what Joe said the old man said yes well this is what I want you to bring back tell them that I said that if they harm a hair of any innocent person whether it is a girl
- 335 -
or a friend or anything that belongs to any of the boys tell them we will kill the babies in their wives stomach. Now I asked who was this man and the old man told me that we have what you call a truce man, this man brings messages to the both mobs. The old man explained if we did not have a man to meet us and the other people we are fighting there will never be peace that's why we have men like him. He comes and he tells us that those guys want to make up on such and such a condition. If we don't like it we just say no.
So I said how does he get over here, Oh the old man said he gets in touch with someone who in turn gets in touch with someone and this someone will get in touch with me then I sent the boys to pick him up and when they do pick him up they blindfold him and they drive him here. Now when he leaves they blind fold him again. Oh I said I see. Now the old man asked me if I was satisfied. Oh yes I said so I asked him if I could leave he said yes so the boys drove me a little out of Yonkers and I took a cab. I didn't want them to come all the way. I went back to Long Island and again I called Monk and I tell him to get a car and again we went to Brooklyn and again I got four hundred dollars and I took a rest for a couple of days. I was going to the movie on Steinway Ave. which is like Broadway in New York. We went out again and into Brooklyn and this time we had about half of the load when the Dolly sisters came as I saw them coming, say when they were about two blocks away we had time to get everyone in the car. There was a terrific chase
- 336 -
the two policemen won't give an edge they kept right on our heels. Well I had to go something to lose them having a half of the load on the car and four men, it was kind of hard on turns so I put my best and I was turning on two wheels but we got away. It took a lot doings but I did it. The next day there was a big headline in the papers it ran like this "Thugs Elude Police in Brooklyn Burglary" and it went on telling the story so I was called and I was told that the old man wants to see me. I don't remember who got in touch with Dan but I was told to be at his house at a certain time. Well the boys came over naturally Bust was there and he was laughing. I got in the car and we went to Yonkers. Now Buster started to tell me that was you in Brooklyn. I said yes well tell him the truth don't try to lie he is worried and all he wants you to do is stop. I think he is going to ask you for the suits to give them out to the boys. I said Buster those suits are gone already and besides it will be like stealing them again and we only got about 47 suits as the cops came when he had just started to load. They were so close that they were about 100 feet away when we started to go. Believe me they were tough cops. Buster said the old man is got the papers and he is going to read it to you. That's why I'm telling you not to lie. Everyone was laughing in the car, there was three of us. Well we got to Yonkers and as I went into the house everyone was laughing. The old man said hello and I went over and
- 337 -
kissed him on both cheeks as those days we used to kiss when we met. He told me to sit down and he went on to read the headline out loud and when he got through he said nice piece of work, do you know these guys. I said yes he said who are they. I said me and my friends. Oh he said and he laughed.
He said Joe I'm sorry I must order you to stop stealing and if you got the suits yet I'll buy them and give them out to the boys and I told him the same thing that I told Buster and he agreed with me. Now he said can you stop or shall I keep you here. I said that I'll stop. He said he will see to it that I will get a few dollars every week and I said OK and they brought me out of Yonkers and again I took a cab. I handed Buster a 50 dollars and the Doc a 20 and I went back to Long Island and I gave the boys the news and I said that I am a retired burglar. I was told to stop and it was sad news for Monk. All I could do now was hang around and take it easy with the money I must say that Tommie was always sending me what he could. So for about five or six weeks I did nothing but go to the movies and taking long rides and things like visiting one guy here and one guy there. Of course I mean boys like Nickie and that kind.
I will not bother guys like Monk or Buck only when I need them. Finally I received a phone call from Tom Gagalino and he gives me the news that they got the chinaman in Coney Island by the chinaman he meant Joe the Boss. Whenever we spoke of Joe the boss on the phone we used the word chinaman. He
- 338 -
said it all over but not to move until I would be called and that took about two weeks. Now let me tell you what I found out about Tom Gagliano. He put out of his own pocket $140,000 into this war and up to today I know he never got a nickel back and never had a piece of any racket. All I know he was a building contractor and he went to jail for one year for income tax. I must go ahead of my story as I am in a position to tell it now Tom Gagliano told Tony Bender once in Jersey at Fort Lee over at Duke's Res. as I was on the carpet for something, I don't remember, when the carpet was over Tom called Tony Bender and warned him that he wanted him to know Mr. Tony Bender that we are watching over Joe, don't think that you will get away with anything that you are trying to pull on Joe. Tony dodged it and said that he was treating me good. So Tom said yes I know how good you are treating him that's why we are here just becareful he warned him again as I willgo on with this story you will understand what I just told you. Tom Gagliano died a natural death somewhere in the middle-fifties. I don't remember just when. As soon as he died believe me I knew I was in trouble, and I have tears in my eyes as I Write about Tom Gagliano.
Now I will go on with my story. I was informed to be somewhere in the Bronx and I was told that peace has been declared and in a few days
- 339 -
I would be told where to be and please let a week pass by before you will go into the streets as we want to make sure that everybody gets notified before you hit on the street we don't want any phony misunderstanding, by that they meant that they didn't want anyone to take a shot at me and they say sorry. We didn't know, Don't worry I said I'll take more than a week. Well it wasn't long and they called me again and I was told to be somewhere which I don't remember and when I got there everyone was there that had started this war from the beginning, in other words, Tom Gagaliano's men and Mr. Marangano's men were all at this meeting. No one warned me about what was going to be at this meeting. Nickie came over and asked me if I was warned about what to do. I said no one told me anything and he said that's funny everyone of us were warned this morning. With that I got mad. I got mad and I said to myself they already started when the war was going on. Everything was Joe now its over and they warned everyone but me so I asked Nickie what were you warned about. He said that when Mr. Maranzano will ask us where do we want to be with Tom or him we are supposed to say with Tom. Oh I said and I started to think the guy in Sing Sing was right during the war they had told me that Vincent Rao had to go so I said Gee I'm shocked. They tell me that he had a hand in the plot, by that I mean the former Boss that they killed he
- 340 -
was a partner of Tom Gagliano and that’s why Tom Gagliano fought with all his might against Joe the Boss and Peter Morello. So I said so Vincent Rao had a hand in it, well if you guys need me I'm here, what else can I say when they tell me something like that. Now I already heard that Vincent Rao was going to be a Lieutenant, so I started to think can you imagine if I get Vincent Rao for my Lieutenant. I was getting furious, everything was going through my head to begin with I did not know that we were going to break up in two parts so I waited to see what was going to happen. Now when Mr. Maranzano made his speech he went on to say that the trouble was over and I want you all to know that we are all one but as Tom Gagaliano is going to be boss and as he is going to be boss we must split but don't let it bother you it will mean nothing, it is just a matter of routine. Now when I ask you those who want to be with me raise your hand so I raise my hand without looking around and I could see the old man was looking at me and he seemed glad to see me raise my hand. In the meanwhile I saw two more hands go up that were with Tom Gagliano, one was Steve Renelli and Bobby Doyle. I wish he would had kept it down. Well anyway Buster came running over and he said that he was glad to see me raise my hand that Tommy Brown came over and he wanted to know why I did what I did. So I said no one told me what to do so I figure I wasn't
- 341 -
wanted he was trying to let me go and see the old man and tell him that I made a mistake. I said I won't do anything I would be ashamed of myself. I told Tommie I did not like a couple of guys and I'm sure that they are going to make trouble for me -- little did I know that I was drifted with the worse trouble maker in the whole world - no one on earth could ever match him for his treachery. I warn the whold world to stay away from him as I will go on you will understand me. Now we broke it up and we started to hang out at 110 Street and Lexington Ave. Naturally Bobby Doyle started to hang out with us and I made him meet all the boys like Buck, Pete, Johnnie D. He wanted to be with me as we didn't know what it was all about if he knew he said he would had raise his hand. Solly also remained with Tom. Him I was glad to get rid of. So Bobby brought Buck, Pete, Johnnie to Mr. Marazano and he had them put in the mob. I forgot Dan and Eddie remained with Tom.
Now Mr. Maranzano calls a meeting and this meeting was held in the Bronx some where on Washington Ave., I don't remember. At this meeting there were about four hundred members. There were quite a few tops name. It was a dance hall and it was packed, You could not
- 342 -
move around. I can't remember just everything but I do remember the speech and the way things were going to be made. They held this meeting as though it was a holy society. Mr. Maranzano was on top of the platform. He was explaining how Joe the Boss Masseria and his buddy Peter Morello were killing members and shaking them down and they were killing them without just and how they sentence Mr. Maranzano and all the Cartellamarese to their death without just and he mention a half dozen other members and former bosses. I remember he mention a Don Antonio, he was another big boss. Now I didn't know any of these members he was talking about. Anyway they gave Mr. Maranzano a big hand and then he went on to explain how he was going to run the family. He said that there will be a boss for every family, then there will be a boss of all the bosses and that he was elected the boss of all bosses and then he said there will be an under boss for all the families and besides having an underboss there will be a Lieutenant and then the soldiers. He went on to explain if a solder wants to get in touch with an underboss or a boss he first must tell the Lieutenant and then the Lt. will let him know if and when there will be a meet and if he the soldier don't get any satisfaction then he can ask to meet the boss of the bosses. Now he made Bobby Doyle Lt. and
- 343 -
he said that I have no Lt. as he will assign me to his personal staff. Then he told us that Charlie Lucky Luciano was made boss and Vito Genovese underboss. You must remember that Joe the Boss and Peter Morello were the bosses of this family now they are replaced with Charley and Vito. Then he said that Tom Gagliano was made boss and Tommy Brown underboss for the replacement of Joe Pinzola and one of the bosses that died in the trouble. I know that Tom Gagliano replaced Joe Pinzola but I didn't know which one Tommy replaced as underboss. Then he said a Don Steve was made boss, an Sam Monoca underboss, they were in Newark, New Jersey. Then there was Joseph Profaci and I don remember the underboss could had been Joseph Bonnano, then there was Frank Socolic and I'm not sure who was the underboss, could had been Jimmy Marino from Forham. Now he Maranzana named a Angelo Cruiso as his underboss. After he name all the bosses he said if anyone wants to know or ask any question they could do so now, of course, there were a lot of questions asked who could remember. As he had named Angelo Cruiso, one of the boys could had been anyone like the Doc, Buster of Joe Profaci, told me that when Mr. Marnazano named Angelo for his underboss, Angelo was going
- 344 -
to take off because he felt that he did not earn it. So I asked why was he going to take off and he told me he didn't do a thing in the war, he wasn't even on the lam with us so I asked and why did Maranzano name him. He explained you see Mr. Maranzano is nobody fool. He put him there so he can be his yes man. Oh I see I said. Now the meeting is over and we go on living and hanging out on Lexington.
Now I turn in my Auburn for a later model and I buy a light blue five passenger, it was a 1931 car, as we are hanging out 110 Street, Lexington, Ave., I forgot all about Crazy. Chuck. So one night about three o'clock in the morning I went to get in my car and Johnnie D was with me as he said that he was going to spend the night with me as I live in another building and I had taken the furniture out of the storage and I was driving with my mother and two sisters - the apartment had steam bath and everything up to date and I was paying 40 dollars a month. This was high rent as it was 108 Street, First and Second Ave. As we go to sit in the car I get at the wheel and Johnnie at my right, now remember we were away 14 months and someone comes up from the floor of the car in the back seat and he says hello Joe. I look around and I see Chuck. In the meantime Johnnie sees him and he gets out of the car and he says good night. I was a little stunned but I
- 345 -
had to think about Chuck so I asked him if he had any guns and he said that he had. As it was a very warm night and he had no jacket on he had a white shirt and his sleeves rolled up. I was talking to him and I was looking him over at the same time. I could see nothing. I said to him you got me pinched in Jersey in 1920 for having a gun in the car now you sit in my car and you say that you have two guns. What am I a lawyer if the cops come I'll go to jail with you what are you trying to get rid of me. He said Joe I won't hurt you for the world. I asked him what are you doing in my car with two guns. He said I always carry guns and I saw your car so I figure that I'll take a little nap and I wait for you and what do you want I asked. He said just talk about what I said. He asked me how do I stand with the Gap. I said OK, you worried about the Gap don’t you. He said he is a tough man. Well I said why are you looking for trouble. He said that he was not looking for any trouble. So I said that's why you been hiding in my hallway. He said God forbid. Oh yes Chuck you have been up and down those roofs, 108 Street people tell me all about it. With that he said where are you going from here. I said hey Chuck I could tell you that I'm going for the Gap you know what, I ain't afraid of you. I was getting mad and I knew no fear so I started the car and I headed for the garage 108 Street on First Ave. So he said that he will take a ride with me so I said hey Chuck you were seen with me so I don't care anything that you do you will pay for it. What is the matter with you. I ain't crazy I won't hurt you. Oh no
- 346 -
Chuck. At the same time I was watching his waistline and I could see no guns on his person so I said to myself this guy ain't got any guns, he is going to get them. So I pulled in the garage and now I'm looking him over and I remember how I hit him and I knocked him down so I ain't worries about that and now I'm sure he ain't got any guns. So I'll see what he is up to. So we walked up the block and when he reached a certain address he said Joe I get rid of these things and I'll come down and we talk. Sure I said go ahead I'll wait for you. As soon as he left for the building I ran like a deer and I waited on Second Ave. It was a half block away and I waited on the corner and as it was three o'clock in the morning you could hear clear and I told him Hey Chuck as I saw him come out of the building. He started to tell me come here where are you going. I thumbed my nose and I told him I'll see you tomorrow and I went through the roofs and I went about fifteen minutes. Later he came and knock on my door. I opened the door and I made my mother and one of my sisters get up as I knew he will not do anything with them around. So my sister Lena walked right up to him and asked him so you Chuck that is looking to shoot my brother. He kissed her hand and started to make the sign of the cross and he was telling her and my mother that he would not harm me for all the world. My sister told him it is all over the neighborhood that you are
- 347 -
gunning for my brother. So Chuck turned around and showed her that he had no guns on his person and then he sat on the floor as I was laying on the couch. My sister made coffee for us and I told her to go to bed. Now I knew he had no guns. Then I asked him hey Chuck I said what happened to you, these days you go out and do the things that you been doing. What have I been doing. He answered and I told him you have been fooling around with every married woman in the block I understand you wait for their husbands to go to work and then you go into their homes through the fire escapes. He said that's a lie, the only one I went into her house(name) is Tess is the one who lives on the third floor in 318. No Chuck the whole block is talking about you. Then he asked me I haven't seen you for a long time, how come. I told him that I was waiting for you to ask me then you say that you have not been hiding in my hallway. Well Chuck I might just as well tell you I've been away for over a year that’s true. I've been away on important business and I am not going to steal any more so I will have more time for you. Chuck I said you and I are in trouble there's no use kidding about it and I'm going to tell you that I ain't coming home any more. You are a dangerous man, you picked on me for no reason at all. I don't know what you are doing or what you are taking but I know one thing 108 Street is too small for both of us and I warn you don't come around any more because from tomorrow on I'll be wasting
- 348 -
some time on you.
Well I went and see the old man and I told him all about it and as one has to report such happenings I gave his name and he told me not to go 108 Street and don't go home any more for awhile and he will pass his name around but I want to end talking about this nut and I'll tell you what happened to him. He came around and once we dressed one of the boys in woman's clothes but he got out the block in time and then I got word that he went to jail out of town. I don't remember what town and the next I heard that some punk killed him in jail. I was told that the punk killed him in defending his honor. I started to hang out 110 Street, Lexington Ave., and Bobby Doyle was hanging out there with us and he got some money from the old man and we were living on whatever we got from him and now Bobby tells me that the old man opened an office on 46 Street on Park Ave. and that we got to go down as soon as the office is ready. It was around this time that some kid that I knew who once came from 108 Street, I remember that I was at 112 Street between First and Second Ave. and this kid called me on the side and told me that Vincent Coll and Fat McCarthy are going to fight against Dutch Schultz and they asked him to talk to me and the Gap, so I had heard something like that was in the air but I never dreamed that they will approach me on something like this. As we were waring against Ciro Morello and as Dutch Schultz was
- 349 -
a partner of Ciro and Vincent Coll told this kid to approach me, was a little puzzling, so I asked the kid to tell me what it was all about. He went on to explain to me that the know that we are enemies of Ciro and Dutch Schultz is with Ciro and Vincent Coll and Fat McCarthy want to pull away. So I asked what for and he explained that Vincent Coll asked for a raise because he and Fat McCarthy are doing all the work and they intend to wreck the brewery and they are going after Ciro and the Dutchman. Well I said Lindy as this was his nickname, listen careful are they aware that the trouble between Ciro and us are over. He said no. Now Lindy I don't like those people now if someone finds out that you approached me and I did not report it I am a dead duck. I have nothing to do with them. I am with different people but now that they made up it is all one. Now warn those guys. Let them know what the score is and don't approach the Gap you will put him in a spot. Remember not a word to God if it gets out I'm dead so I wish you all the luck in the world. He promised. I don't tell the Gap anything. Later in this story I will tell how this paid off. Now I did not tell a single person on earth about this.
Now Bobby and I went down to the 46 Park Ave. office and we met Charlie Lucky and Vito Genovese and a number of guys and the old man greeted us and he showed us around the office - it had about four rooms and there was a
- 350 -
very fat carpet on the floor and he said the rent was five hundred dollars a month. We talked for a while and then we listen to a couple conversations that took place, I don't remember all I heard but I do remember one conversation was about a fish deal and it involve Frank Scarles. Then the old man told us about a banquet we were going to run in Brooklyn. He said that it was for all the boys that were away for over a year and then he called me on the side and he asked me that I should report to him about all of the boys that are with Tom Gaglaino that hang out 112 Street, especially Charlie Schoop, so I asked is there anything wrong and he said no I just want to keep track of them and let me know who they talk to and he warned me not to let Bobby Doyle know anything about what he told me and believe me I could not tell Bobby Doyle anything because Bobby will go right over and ask him what is the idea of telling Joe not to tell me. So I didn't Say anything. Bobby asked me what did he tell me on the side I said that the gave me some money which he did. When we were about to leave he said that he was going to send me a hundred tickets and I looked at him and he caught the look and he said I won't hold you responsible for the hundred, the reason why I want you to give them out is so that the boys in your neighborhood will see the kind of people you deal with so I said OK. Now when we leave the office I said goodbye to Charlie and Vito.
A couple of days go by and we hear that big Dick Amato gets Killed at 116 Street between Third and Lexington Ave. and another
- 351 -
guy that Dick was with, his name was Slack, but he had nothing to do with mobs just that he was with big Dick. Now Dick was Ciro Morello's right hand man and I took a ride at 116 Street and I went and see if they were still there, sure enough they were. Dick was laying on the floor with his head on the curbstone and his arms straight out and the other guy was in a store as there is where he ran when Coll and McCarthy caught up with then, of course you remember I had trouble with Dick so I can't say that I was sorry but I did order a hundred dollar flowers for him. Now the war was started between Dutch Schultz and Vincent Mad Dog Coll as they called him in those days. I might just as well finish and tell all I know about Vincent Coll until he met his end. They killed his kid brother, I think his name was Eddie, and Coll went around like a Mad Dog by this time he had Lottie, the girl that was up the house 116 Street when the Irish boys went after Joe Rao in 1924. Sam Medole killed her boy friend, his name was Otto, he came from 116 Street and First Avenue and Vincent Coll killed Sammy Medole because of Lottie and Vinc took Lottie for his girl and then I think he married her but I'm not sure I knew her when she hung around 116 Street and First Avenue. She was very pretty and she was about 5/10 in height and she had a fine shape and everyone used to admire her. I must say that Vincent Coll got all the credit for being
- 352 -
a mad dog, but actually it was Fat McCarthy that had all the guts. I don't mean to say that Coll didn't have it but everyone knew that Fat was the guy to get - he died out of town, I forgot just where. He, Fat McCarthy, shot it out with a cop and they both killed one another that is he died after Vinc got his on 23rd Street, Eight Ave., N.Y.C. I'll tell you what I know about Vincent Coll from the beginning to the end. After his brother was killed he had no respect for no one. He started to kidnap for money. The first thing he done was wreck the whole brewery, in the Bronx, trucks and all, then he cause the death of Danny Amechi. How did he cause it I'll tell you as Danny Amechi was an important guy in our family. He and Dutch Schultz were sitting on a park bench and they were watching Vincent Coll where he was supposed to live - two or three cops in plain clothes happened to be passing and as they knew Danny and the Dutchman they wanted to question them but as Danny saw them approach he thought they were Coll men so Danny started to shoot at these men, the Dutchman tried to stop Danny but it was too late. I know Danny got killed I don’t remember if any of the cops got hit. 1 know no cops died and that is how Vincent Coll cause the death of Danny, of course, Coll found out after it happened the way I did. Now I am up at the office on 46 Street and Park Ave. and there Charlie Lucky in the office and he was talking to Charlie
- 353 -
Buffalo and as I came in as they were already talking I heard Charlie say that they have respect for no one as I stood there and listen after Charlie Lucky left I asked Charlie Buffalo what was it all about and Charlie Buffalo tells me that he, Charlie Lucky, was talking about that nut Vincent Coll. Charlie Buffalo explained to me that Vincent Coll kidnapped big Frenchy and that they got $35,000 and he, Charlie Lucky, is going to have a showdown with Onney Madden as Charlie found out that Onney Madden is contacting Vincent Coll and if Onny Madden don't give Vincent Coll up he is going to take it out on Onny Madden - by that Charlie Lucky meant he will start war against all of the Irish mobs in N.Y.C. So I told Charlie Buffalo that them guys must be broke and he answered me and said if our war would had kept up we would had done the same thing as we were going broke it it wasn't for Steve in Buffalo we would had been broke. I must tell you that at this time Charlie Buffalo was going out with Mr. Maranazano's daughter and they were engaged to be married. Everyone of us young guys were ducking her as we were all afraid to get involved with her because she was Mr. Marnazano's daughter. She was about 5 feet 4 and pretty but none of us wanted any part of her because we were afraid, but she was a fine person but no one wants those kind of ties at least no Americanized boys.
- 354 -
Now while this trouble was going on I was standing on the corner of Lexington Ave., 110 St. and it was about three o'clock in the morning when a red Auburn pulled up about 60 feet away from where I was standing and as it was late at night I could hear every word when one guy said I'm telling you that he is one of them and then I heard a voice say what is the matter with you that's the guy I spoke to, that's Joe Cago, so the guy said are you sure and Lindy said sure I'm sure with that they pulled away. That's what I meant when I said that it paid off. When I said in the beginning, this kid name was Laurie but I don't remember his second name, I never saw him again ever since. I know he did not die in the war but he disappeared.
Now we get the news that they caught up with an apartment or a private house on Commonwealth Ave., in the Bronx and they killed a couple of Vincent Coll men but I don't remember any of their names. I know Lindy wasn't one of them. Now Vincent Coll was arrested in the Corish Arms Hotel on 23rd Street and he was caught with a gun and he had grown a mustach and he was out on bail in no time. Not long after this they, the Vincent Coll mob, were passing 107 Street mear Third Ave. and they saw Joe Rao standing in front of the Club and they started to shoot at him from in the car and Joe Rao ran in the back of the club and he jumped out of the window and did not get hit,
- 355 -
but two or three babies were hit in their baby carriages and one of them died and Vincent Coll was picked up again and he was charged for the murder of this baby. Now Vincent Coil hires Samuel Leibowitz, the great judge of today in Brooklyn today, and as Leibowitz had a fine staff of investigators he found out the guy that had identified Coil was in Detroit at the time he was supposed to be 107 Street so the case was thrown out of court.
And now the banquet in Coney Island is underway. First I tell of the big money that came in that I know of. Steve from Buffalo sent $6,000 as the ticket cost $6.00 a ticket he sent 100 tickets to each of these guys that I will mention. There were more that sent the same amount but I do not remember.
Al Capone sent $6,000 and Charley Lucky sent $6,000 and Frank Scalice was at the table and he will greet every one that came in and he will say in Italian good luck and he will put his hands in his pocket and put money on the big trays that they had on two big tables at the entrance of the Hall. I don't remember where the banquet was held but it was held in Brooklyn. Well the banquet was held to three days and the old man said that he took in 115 thousand dollars but the rumor among us was that it was well over the 150 thousand dollars mark. Now we were waiting for some money and we did not bet any. So when I is at the office on 46 Street, Buster came over and told me to get some of the boys ready
- 356 -
and that he wanted to go and steal as he was getting disgusted and I told him that I saw them split some money a few times and he told me that he got a few hundred dollars here and there and that was for trucks that they hijacked and I asked him how come I didn't get anything. I don't know he said. He was thinking about it. A few times he handed me a 50 dollar bill as I was going to the office back and forth then I asked him why don't you ask the old man why he left me out on the splits and he walked right over to the old man and he asked him and the old man told me that he knew what he was doing and that he did not want to involve me so Buster told me that this is the way he and I stood that if the old man ever asked him to kill Joe that he Buster will turn and shoot the old man so I shook Buster's hand and I said the same goes with me and I asked him if we had anymore that felt that way and he said yes, the Doc and he told me not to let Bobby Doyle know anything the way we felt. He told me that he did not trust Bobby Doyle as he Buster thought that he will sell you for a dime. He said that he has a lot of nerve and that's about all and I said we all got nerve so that makes us even. Good for you he said that's the way you should feel about anyone if the guys don't treat us right after all we did we will shoot them all so I asked him do you really want to go and steal, he said yes we will have some money in our pockets as they are not giving us
- 357 -
anything we made a couple of splits in 3 months is that money so I said be up in Harlem tonight, not realizing that Bobby will be there so when Buster came 110 Street and he saw Bobby there he said to Bobby hello and Bobby said to Buster what are you doing up here in Harlem. Buster said I came looking for that guy Chuck that wants to shoot Joe and Bobby said don't you think that we are looking for him. I don't care Buster said I like Joe and anyone who want to shoot Joe I want to shoot him and that goes for anyone who wants to shoot Joe. He told Bobby that he thought that Joe is the best guy that he met in the whole outfit and Bobby said why do you think that I am with him. So Buster just looked and he said to me tonight I want to be with you where yougo I go as at this time I was going in midtown in an Italian Restaurant on 46 Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, next to Dinny Moore the name of the Res was Freddie and Charlie Lucky, Mike, Marazanda, Dutch Schult and Mike Capollo used to come down there. So I told Bobby that I was not going down ther tonight so he asked me to drive him down there when it came around six o'clock that night so Buster and I drove him down to Freddie, and on the way down he told Buster that we looked suspicious, that we look as though as we are out for no good so we told Bobby that we are getting disgusted and we don't care for anything, after all the money that come in at the banquet, all we
- 358 -
got was a 50 dollar bill so Bobby felt the same way and we did not trust him we were afraid of him because he was always up at the office and he was a Lt. So that night Buster and I went back to Harlem and we met Johnnie D and as he was already a member as I put him in three months before I told him tonight we are going out and crash a joint good Johnnie said I got a good one in Long Island and it is a good dress joint and we must raise the price on this load as Fat West didn't get anything for about 6 months so I told Johnnie get Monk to get the tools ready as I will go and see Fat West. So I took Buster along and I went and see Fat West and I told him to be ready tonight that we were going out and he was happy. Fat I said we want a better price for the dresses as this load is going to be dresses worth from 14 dollars up and we want $4.50 a dress. OK Fat said get a good load and we went back to 110 Street and Lexington and I was bringing Buster here and there and he said that he wanted hand out there in Harlem with us and I told him not yet the old man will kill me. He wants you down at the office every day so he told me to try and come down more often as I will keep him company. OK I said when I will come out of the house here after I will come down and have breakfast with you how is that? He said fine.
That night we went out and we got three hundred dresses and we got $1,300 coming to us as we had taken a few dresses apiece and the next
- 359 -
afternoon Bobby Doyle came to 110 Street, Lexington Ave., and he looked all excited and he asked me what did you do go out with Buster. I said how do you know he said the old man called him and that he wanted to see me so I told Bobby is he mad and Bobby said yes then I'll take off and I'll take a ride to see Steve in Buffalo. Bobby said its a good idea by the time you come back he will forget all about it. So I ran over to Fat West and I took my end and I took off. I took some guy with me and I was in Buffalo in a couple of days there I met Steve M. and he entertained me and I met some boys. I met cowboy big Montana, Charlie Buffalo was in N. Y. C. I even met Frank Scarlice's two brothers, Joe and Charlie, as they were visiting in Buffalo. I went to every cabaret in Rochester and Buffalo and every good restaurant. I borrow five hundred from Steve M. and I came home when I got to N. Y. C. the next day I went to the office on 46 Street and before I had a chance to say anything the old man said in front of Charlie and Vito as they were up there, he said he had sent out a check to Buffalo and that he paid the five hundred I told him I thought that he will be mad but he said why should he be mad. Charlie Lucky and Vito Genovese gave me a good hand and the old man told me to be careful with those two as they are looking for your confidence. I told them that I notice it, now I sit around and one of the boys I don't remember who, started to talk about
- 360 -
Charlie Lucky and he was saying that he had a hard job getting Joe the Boss out of his house and the only way they got him to come out by telling Joe the Boss that they had a chance to get Mr. Maranzano if he will come out and meet them they will explain everything to him, that's how they got him to go out in that Coney Island Restaurant and that Ciro Morello is finish. He was so shakey when they got into the car that he was not able to put the key of his car into the ignition, someone of the mob took the key off him and made him sit in the back. So he is much pretty bad ever since. This guy went on to say that he don't think that Ciro will be there too long he think they are going to break him and make him a plain soldier. The next day Bobby and I went up the office again and we sit around and they tell us to make sure that we don't go up there with any guns in our pocket as they expect the police to come up there any day. The first guy I ran to was to Buster and I told him Buster I don't like this, they are trying to get us used to come up here without any guns I ain't going to come around here any more. If the old man falls for this line, Buster argued with me and I told him you better talk to that old man and make him understand because these guys are got plenty of connection with the police and I'll bet you that when they come here that they don't come here empty handed who are they kidding Buster I said tell me the truth is the old man doing anything wrong if he is let me know so that we can figure things
- 361 -
out these people are smart and they are going to out-smart the old man which you see after all Buster I said we depend on the old man if anything happened to him we are through. So Buster said we will fight. Yes I said we must start from the bottom again and you saw how much money you need to carry on a war. I'm sorry I ever got mixed up in this. I said here I am I know in my heart that is phony and we don't do a thing about it well I'm going to tell him and then at least I know that I done my duty if anything happened. I didn't say anything right away. I waited for my chance as I was going down every day and I did not get much chance to talk to the old man but after about 12 days after we got the order not to go to the office with any guns as they expect the police the old man told me to come to his house. The last time I was at the office I went that night to his house and it was about 9 o'clock when I arrived and as I rang the bell and he said to come in and when I came in the house he was nursing his hids beet and he was bending his head as I walked in and I said to myself, eh one shot and you get rid of a powerful man like him. Well he talked to me while he had his head down and he said Joe you know why you did not get any money from the banquet. I said no and he said that we must get the mattresses again by that he meant that we are going to war again although I thought that I will get a heart attack. Gee I
- 362 -
said we are only back about four months and he said Joe I can't get along with those two guys - he meant Charlie Lucky and Vito Genovese. He said we must get rid of these guys before we can control anything. I wanted to say who wants to control only thing I wanted was a good living but I dare not say anything. I'll try to remember most of the names.
The first one was Al Capone, Charlie Lucky Luciano, Vito Genovese, Frank Costello, Willie Moore Moretti from Fort Lee, New Jersey, Joseph Dodo Adonis, Vincent Mongon, Ciro Morello, Dutch Schutz. Not Mike Capollo as he was a heel at this time and as far as I'm concerned he is still a heel.
Now to more. Now I went home and before I left he told me to call the office at a quarter to two the next afternoon and he gave me special orders not to tell Bobby Doyle anything. I knew he was able to do such a thing now before I left he had told me that this was his last appearance at the office and I turned and said Mr. Marnazano why don't you let Angelo Crusio go in your place why must you take a chance going to the office you know I never liked that order about us coming down the office without any guns. Gee after all anything happened to you we will all be out in the street. He said he had to make this last appearance. Well I left sadly and I went straight home and I started to think that he did not mention Tom Gagliano, Frank Scalise,
- 363 -
Don Steve from Newark so I was wondering if these guys were in on it. Well I thought most of the night and I did not come up with anything but fear. So the next day I went 110 Street at Lexington Ave., and I waited until a quarter to two. I made my call at a quarter to two and Charlie Buffalo answer the phone and he told me that I should hold on then he answer and told me that everything was alright now the Gap comes around two o'clock and he tells methat he met two girls from Brooklyn and we shall go and spend the whole day out there as they were very pretty and it didn't take long to make up my mind and we went to Brooklyn and we met the girls in East New York Brooklyn as this was thirty miles from N. Y. C. We decided to stay out in Brooklyn. We got there about four o'clock in the afternoon and we went to their house and then we went to a show and then went to one of these girls' sister house and then we left for N. Y. C. We reach 14 Street at about one o'clock or 1:30 and we went to Charley Jones Restaurant and we order a nice meal but we were there about fifteen minutes when a guy came in and he was looking us over. He left then a second guy came in and he was looking us over, he left and a third guy came and he was looking us over, that was enough for me. I said Gap have you noticed what I noticed. He said yes, let's go.
Now I get close to Charlie Jones as he was no mob guy. I asked him is there
- 364 -
anything wrong and as he knew guys like Joe the Boss or Charlie Lucky as he was a connection with the Police Department and he always had a crap game going and he was partner with such names as Bill Warnar, Bill Duffy and A. Rothstein, and guys like that. I had a lot of respect for him.
He moved over to me and he whispers to me and he said go home Joe that was all I had to hear I got up and I gave the girls forty dollars and told them to please excuse me as it looked as though that something is wrong.
I know the Gap won't give them any money, to my surprise he handed his girl some money and I said Gap I'm going he said yes you go home and he stayed with Charlie and as I was riding toward Harlem and I was on Lexington Ave. I was riding very slow and thinking very hard I had the news laying on my seat of the car and I just could not figure out what it was all about. I thought of when I called the office that afternoon and I remember Charlie Buffalo said that everything was OK and I just couldn't figure but I reached 110 Street.
Lexington Ave., and I saw about nine fellows on the corner and I heard a whistle and I looked and I did not like the looks of things so I put it in second and I pulled away as I lived on Second Ave., 108 Street. I went home and parked my car on the corner and I woke up my kid brother and I told him to take the car in the garage and the man in the garage asked the kid how is Joe
- 365 -
is he OK and the kid told me about this. Now the man who owned the garage was the guy that Nickie and Solly fired at on St. Ann Ave., if you remember I mentioned this in the early part of this story. He held no hard feeling as he understood that we got an order and it is not our fault especially when we did not know him at the time. Now this sent me wondering. I'm sitting on an arm chair and I'm still thinking and I did not look in the newspapers yet. Then all of a sudden I hear a rustle of feet come up the stairs and I have a gun in my hand and I asked who is it and they said Buck, Johnnie D and Pete Muggin, his right name is Leno. I asked them if they were along and the funny part of it I was worried and I did not know what I was worried about. So I opened the door and I saw the impossible all three of them had powdermarks on their necks and faces and none of them were hurt. I asked them did they see anyone all afternoon and they said yes and than I said you guys don't know if anything is wrong. They said that they wreat a lost.
I asked them who fired at you and they told me Joe Swed, Micky Shapes, Danny Hogan and some other dog and Eddie Coco was there and I asked was Eddie Coco there all afternoon they said yes that he was asking all day where is Joe. Now I happened to look at the papers and I see the headline Park Ave. murder and I read hey I said now I know what it is all about they killed
- 366 -
the old man and everybody took a look at the papers and we read how they killed Jimmy Marino up in the barber chair in Forham and they killed one here and one there a few days later they found Sam Monanco in the Passaic River, and now I tell myself no wonder the Gap took me to Brooklyn he must had known something and he kept me out of the neighborhood. Now I realize that they were all in on this. I could tell that's why I wanted to know about Eddie as Eddie is one of the boys that I put in and he remained with Tom Gagliano.
Now somehow Solly came over and got me and he brought me to his sister house in Newark and that night he was acting suspicious and I made believe that I did not notice it but when it came to three o'clock in the morning I took off on him he never knew what hit him when he found out that I took off the reason why I was at a loss was because Bobby Doyle was arrested at the office after the old man got hit and he remained in jail no matter where I looked it look bad so I said to myself that I'm going at the wake at Ave J in Brooklyn and see if I could find someone there. No not a soul except the family. Well what could they tell me so I went to Nickie's house and he was scared to death when he saw me not that he did not like me he was worried about me and he told me that he is supposed to call them if I go there so I
- 367 -
said that enough for me so I said don't worry Nickie I will leave and I understand so he had tears in his eyes he said don't let anyone know that you were here so I took off. Now I know where I went they were a respectable family and it is not fair to say because until this day they did not know why and where I was only one guy knew as I had called Tommie Brown and he told me to stay where I was as it was safe for me and he did not let anyone know that I was there. Now the next day he called me and told me that Tom Gagaliano wanted to talk to me and as I felt that I did not do anything wrong the next day I went and met them. It was somewhere around 228 Street on the East Side of the Bronx so when I got there they wanted to know if I had anything to do with hijacking truck like piece goods and things in that line so I told them that I swear I did not know anything about such lungs. Then they told me I did not have anything to worry about so I asked them what was it all about and they told me the old man went crazy and he thought that we are going to kill ourselves, all our lives, as he wanted to start another war. I knew they were right but I did not say anything I figure I first find out'What it is really all about and then I will decide what I shall do. Now Bobby come out of jail but I don't see him yet, I see Tommy once more and he tells me that only I could go back with Tom Gagliano, they don't want any part of Bobby Doyle and ...
- 368 -
the rest of them that included Buck, Pete, Johnnie D. So I told him that I will let him know. Now I see Bobby Doyle and he tells me that he saw Vito Genovese and that he wants us to go with him. I told him that I will let him know. Gee I said we are men without a family. Well I went and see the Gap and he told me to go with Vito as that is my best bet so now I'm sure that he took me to Brooklyn on purpose. Well believe me no one knows what it means to be on top and then be in a cellar. Well I went through that experience and I can hardly write as I think about the Breaks I got in life. Already I got away with my life about 506 times and I did not start yet. You can imagine how I felt well - courage I said so I went with Bobby. I hope that I would had broken a leg. I curse the day I met that Sicilian, he and Vito run a race as to who is more treacherous. I must say Bobby Doyle is as bad as Vito is. I can't find any words for the both of them. Oh what I will like to say - I'm sure I'll be arrested for using foul language.
Let me explain how they get guys here and there - for instance they knew that they were going to kill the old man, although the old man was after them and the only way that they caught up with him was the someone had to doublecross him. Well let me go on to what I was explaining. They have their men posted, say like Lexington Ave., 110 Street, they had those three guys but they wanted me and they hoped that I did not find out that
- 369 -
the old man was killed, which I did not. Only break I got was being in Brooklyn and when I got to 14 Street, as I wasn't known down there. It was the Gap that saved me all around. I tell you how when those guys that came in and looked us over, when they made their calls they had to say that the Gap was there with another guy but they did not know who the other guy was now being Gap was with Tom Gagliano and being Tom's men were not wanted they gave me the benefit of the doubt. That's why Charlie told me to go home, he knew that I was with Marangano and that is why I was so friendly with him after this happened. He even remarked to me several times during the years that he lived, "Joe I saved your life. " As he was strictly a Charlie Lucky man. Now who would think like I do that the Gap come around that day and took me to Brooklyn. Now they said that the old man was out to get Charlie and Vito at the office if he did I say he would had not told me that everything was all right when I called - he had to have a reason to have me call at a quarter to two, he must had changed his mind or he will had told me to get off the streets. So the ones who got caught sleeping slept forever.
I was just lucky and again I thought of the state of grace that I kept in the New York Catholic Protectory.
- 370 -
Now we go and meet Vito at the Corish Arms Hotel and we were Bobby, Buck, Pete, Johnnie and myself. He tells us that the reason was simple why he wanted us to be with him. He said he wanted us to get the respect we deserved, meaning that they were in power now. So I asked him why did they shoot at the boys at Lexington Ave. and they waited day and night to get me.
He said that they did that on their own up in Harlem and I said up in the Bronx too and in Jersey too. So he said that whenever a boss dies all his faithful die with him and I said that's different. So Vito went on to explain all the rotten things that the old man did and he would had us killing one another. So I said if you guys appreciate what we did, why didn't you let us know what the old man was doing. He answered and said he could not tell us anything as we were faithful to the old man and they feared that we will tell the old man and then we will be in a lot of trouble. So I said I rather come to your side as you know that we are faithful than being a double crossers. He said you are right and he tells us that we will be assigned to Tony Bender and he will be our Lt. So they drove us or we met them on Thomasson St. and he introduces us to Tony Bender. Right from the start I didn't like him. He was a conceited and a miserable person. He knew right away that he could not tell me any story as he had gotten in, I'll say a week
- 371 -
when he was made Lt. You know in Joe the Boss's time they only had a boss and an underboss, but no Lr. Mr. Maranzano made the new rule and put Lt. in effect.
Now the old man died and Bobby come out of jail. I told Bobby what the old man had said and who he wanted to get rid of but I told Bobby as a partner of mine not to report it to Vito. Now Bobby tells me that Vito wants me to go to Chicago and tell my story to the rest of the bosses. As you know when a boss get hit to avoid a national war one must present evidence as to why they killed the boss as they must give out of town bosses some explanation as to why it happened and what can be better than to give one of the soldiers who had no Lt. but was assigned to the boss himself. It is an honor to be assigned to a boss and not having to account to anyone else. I'm sorry I must say this as I want the people of America to understand just how the mob rules and why. I called it a second government. In fact the old man was a fan of Julius Caesar. He had a room full of Julius Caesar books and he copies from Julius Caesar the word carpagine, which means Lieutenant. So I told Bobby that when I see Vito I'm going to ask him to spare me the embarrassment of testifying against my own boss, even though he is dead.
So Bobby told me I wouldn't if I were you. I happened to see Vito and I asked
- 372 -
him if he would do me a favor and see that I don't go to Chicago as I don't feel right telling stores of a boss of mine. You know what its all about so if you need anyone Bobby is enough. Vito tells me don't worry about it you need not go to Chicago and I must say that I was admired for this.
Now I must go ahead of my story. When they killed Albert Anastasia and Jimmy Jerome wanted to testify against his former boss so they told him OK if we need you we will callyou. After he left they called him all kinds of names.
Now I see Bobby and I tell him that I saw Vito and I spoke to him about Chicago and he said I need not go you can go in my place. He seemed to be happy to go as he is going to meet Al Capone and the rest of the mob in Chicago. I must say that I was sorry for ever joining the mob as there are very few men, all dogs, to my opinion. They don't have their own mind. Now Bobby tells me that it was the Jews that came up at the office and they showed phony badges and they said that they were cops and that there was about fifteen guys in the office at the time that they came up. So I asked him how did they go about it and how did you get pinched when everyone else got away. He said they came in and they said that they were policemen and that they wanted to know who they can talk to and the old man said you can talk to me, so they went in the next room with two of the guys and two stayed in the front and they
- 373 -
were watching us and then we heard a shot and everyone ran out of the office and at the same time the two guys came out and told us to beat it as they ran out. I went into the other room and I got on my knees and I lift his head and I saw that besides the shot they had cut his throat and he was alive and I thought that he had a chance but he was deal and I didn't care if I got pinched as I was disgusted and I figure that even if I did run I won't know where to go, that's how disgusted I was. I asked Bobby tell the truth did you know that he was hijacking these trucks on Charlie Lucky. He asked me what kind of trucks. I said piece goods is all I remember. He said that he didn't know and wanted to know how do I know. I said I'll tell you some other time as right now I want to know are we going to fight. He said what are you crazy. I said are you aware as to what happened to Buck, Pete, and Johnnie? He said No. Then I told him how they waited for me on Lexington and how they shot up Buck and them. He said how come you were not around. I said I was lucky I was in Brooklyn all day. He said with who. I said the Gap and he looked at me. He said looks like everybody was in on this except us. Now after Bobby explained to me everything I forgot about fighting. I left everything to him.
Now as I go ahead with my story. We were with Charlie and Vito when the slot machines opened in New York City. So I went and see Charlie
- 374 -
as I had to because Frank Costello opened the town. I asked Charlie if I can get a few machines. Of course Bobby was with me when we went down town on Thomson Street as they had an office in the building where Vito had the junk shop. I was a very confused guy and I really was in a fog. I was with new people and I didnc think I deserve anything as I did not do anything with these people and when I was called in the office and I met Vito and Charlie I felt sort of ashamed. I don't know why Bobby made me go in we were sitting in the front room and the bosses were in the next room and all of a sudden Tony Bender pushed me in the office and Charlie asked what does he want so Tony said he wants some machines and Charlie said is he along and Tony said yes and Charlie said OK - 20 machines. That meant 20 stickers. Now the stickers were the protection of the office of Frank Costello - without these stickers the police will lock up or give a ticket to the storekeeper. They changed the stickers every month. Now Bobby and I put the Gap in partner with us so they come up with an idea they got two number 1 stickers and two number two stickers - in other words we operated 40 machines instead of so. Now I realized why they threw me into the office if I would get caught using double numbers it will be very embarrassing. I would have to face Charlie so I told Bobby no wonder you made me go in the office do you know the say I will feel if I get caught - I'll die of shame. He said
- 375 -
don't worry he wont say anything to you it will be bad if he got caught.
So I said I guess you are right, as he was an old timer compared to me.
Well now we were looking for locations and I went and see Frenchy the watchman in the Harlem Market as there never was a machine in the square of the Harlem Market. There were about eight restaurants and bars in the Square. I beg Frenchy to let me put some machines in the market. I told him that I want to get married and all that sort of stuff. Finally he asked me if I was connected with any racket guys. I told him that I wasn't so he said if I find out that you are lying I'll break your neck. So I assured him that I was telling the truth and he made me put the machines in the Square. Those eight machines were taking in a thousand dollars a week. I had about three or four quarter machines and a couple of dime machines and the rest of them were nickle machines. Now I wanted to give Frenchy a 500 dollar gift but he refused - that's the way he was. He knew me when I used to go to the market with my father and he thought that I was a hard working kid. Now everything was going swell and no one notice the numbers
- 376 -
on the machines as Frank Costello's office had agents going around checking machines in stores and see that they belonged to Frank's office by having Frank's stickers on the machines. If not, they would hijack them.
Now when the first month was up and I had to go and get new stickers up at Frank's office which was somewhere at 116 Street on the west side, they wanted to know how did I ever get into the Harlem Market as they been trying to get in there for years. We had to register our locations and they had to make sure that we did not have more than twenty machines. Of course I register the best locations I had. Now if they caught up with the double number we had we will not claim the location if they called the service number and caught the workman we will say that he was doing it for himself and then we would pull in the other 19 we had on location and then go to the front for the workman as we can always talk for him and say that he did not know any better. That's the chances we had to take. We had to watch the big office's agents as they were what we called spies for the office. Now the office had a way of checking on their agents.
- 377 -
The one I'm going to talk about happened to be with Dutch Schultz as I said Dutch Schultz was partner with Ciro Morello and for sure Ciro had to get his share of slot machines on the street even though he was on the black list for what he did in the Coney Island affair. Dutch Schultz caught one of his agents stealing by having one of his men put a hundred dollars in a quarter machine in Max Green's route. Now when Max Green turned his collection in and this particular location where the hundred dollars was put into the machine Max only turned in twenty dollars so as the agents only got 20% of their collection, Max did pretty good on this location but caught himself a beating that kept him in the hospital for six months and lost the whole route. My workman's name was Frankie West, the brother of Fat West. One day as we were riding in my car as we were going around collection on the machines and I stopped for a red light and I went for my handkerchief. He opened the door and runs and he runs in a building. I did not chase after him, now I figure that he was stealing on the machines but the Gap comes around and as I said he was a partner. He wanted to know what happened to Frankie West. I said I did not know and then I said maybe he was stealing - then the Gap said No. Are you got a girl in this block he asked. I said you know I never had a
- 378 -
steady girl on 108 Street why do you ask. He said that's why Frankie jumps off the car he is going out with a girl that claims you are in love with her and he thinks you know about it. Oh God I said who is this girl. So Gap said come on we will go and talk to him. So I went with the Gap and we went 123 Street and First Avenue where he hung out and we met Frankie and Gap told him Joe does not go out with any girl from 108 Street. So Frankie remain dumbfounded. Well Frankie was very happy after he found out that it was his girl telling him lies.
Now I get an attack of rheumatism in my right hand and it was so bad that the doctor ordered me to go to the hospital as he was a doctor at the Sherman Square Hospital at 70 Street at Broadway, and it was a private hospital. I was in pain with my hand so bad and it got twice its size. He will come and visit my room every day and sometimes twice or three times a day. I knew him for about two or three years and he lived on 75 Street on Park Ave. and he was a nice old man. He will not give me any drugs as he will say that if he gave me any drugs it will come back on me but he was giving me needles and I was there already a month when I got a big basket of flowers and a card that read like this "Tony Bender and the Boys." Now my nurse picked up the card and she read it to me outloud and she used to give me baths everyday with epsom salts
- 379 -
in the bathtub and a spoon of epsom salts every morning in a glass of water. How if I slept for say one hour I will tell my visitor Gee I slept last night. Well now I'm there about 2 1/2 months and I went down to 90 pounds and I got very friendly with the nurse and her name was Miss Runie and she was a fine girl. Now I was feeling a little better and Miss Runie used to talk to me a lot. She will say that she heard of racketeers but she never met one in person. When I will tell her that I was not a racketeer and she will laugh so she made me promise her that I will take her to the Cotton Club when I will get well and strong. She got wise because of the clothes the fellows wore when they came and visited me. I had Tony Bender, Bobby Doyle and those kind of people coming to the hospital. Tony was a good dresser and so was Bobby. Then there were so many other guys too numerous to mention. Now I get out of the hospital and I weigh 90 pounds and I find out that no one expected me to live after all that was the idea of Dr. Duncan for me to lose all the weight I could and I was in the hospital 4 months at this time I weighed about 145 pounds. I put on weight so fast after I got out of the hospital that I was running around in no time, the bill at the hospital was paid by my partner in the slot machine racket. The bill was paid every week and it ran like 85 to 125 dollars a week.
- 380 -
Now there was another guy in Brooklyn who had a lot of slots out on the street and a lot of boys who had nothing to do will go out and rob this guy's machines. His name was Leo Dyke or Byke, I'm not sure I never met him, but I heard enough about him as I was buying all of the machines these boys took in Brooklyn and I would resell them to the jobbers in the vending machine business and I will make say 20 to 25 dollars on every machine that they brought in from Brooklyn and I will throw the profit in the collection of the week take on the week from the slots.
Here is the way they will take the machines from the storekeeper. They will call up and say that it was the machine company that was calling and that the police were seizing the machine and we are sending a man over and take the machine out for a day or two and when the guys got over to the store the storekeeper will be glad to meet them because they didn't want to get a summons but of course they never worked in the same section twice and then most of the time they walked right in the store and took the machine.
Now there was a plainclothes cop - he was working in the Harlem section and one day he put catsup in the neck of the machine. They sent him on a beat way out in Long Island and he never got back in Harlem. The last I head of him that he died. Now use your own judgment who sent him to Long Island.
- 381 -
Now about the nurse Miss Runie, I feel so bad until today that I forgot all about her and I never saw her again. I must say if a person stays in a hospital for a couple of months he finds out what a nurse is really like - they are dolls and they take care of you like your mother. The reason why I forgot about Miss Runie was because I was busy with the machines and I was about to get married and I had to make money.
I got a five hundred present from my machine partner for the wedding. It was six months before time but they figured its best they get it over with and they figured the machines may go out any day as there was talk about it every day in the newspapers and Bobby knew that I needed six hundred dollars for an engagement ring as he knew through his wife that we were going to have an engagement party.
But I must say now that the machines lasted a little longer than I thought. We were hanging out 110 Street, Lexington, but not the Gap. Frankie West will take his share and bring it up to his house and I will see him once in a while as he had an argument with Bobby in a card game and he did not want to come around much.
Now Bobby tells me that they want to see me down town the
- 382 -
following day as he got a phone call from Tony. He said he did not know what its all about as Tony himself didn't know. All he knew was that Charlie wanted to see me. So we started to think maybe they found out about the double numbers we had on the stickers. The next day I went downtown and I saw Shim, the fellow that wanted to know if what he done in Sing Sing will be held against him on the outside. As I was walking along Thomson Street I ran right into Shim. We said hello to each other and he said that he thought that Charlie wanted to talk to me about him.
So I said Shim you know that there were a lot of guys from downtown in Sing Sing I'll feel my way around but I'll tell you now I would not lie to Charlie Lucky. Shim said he understood. So I walk up the office and sure enough there was Charlie and Vito and he asked me to step in the other office and he asked me if I was making a living with the machines and I said yes and he wanted to know how I feel as he heard that I was sick. I told him that I felt fine and then he told me about Shim. He said that he heard a lot of stories about Shim and he heard that Shim is a good boy but what he heard he said that he was not interested. He said Joe you are one of my boys and I want to hear it from you, what you say goes. I said Charlie, I like Shim but it is a sure thing that I am not going to lie to you.
- 383 -
Whatever you want to know. So he asked me is it true that this guy will kill you for a punk. I said yes Charlie its true and he said thank you and he said that is all I want to know. So I came down and I met Shim again and I said you see what I mean and he put his head down and he said I know who told Charlie and I left downtown and I went uptown, back to Harlem. I explained everything to Bobby and we forgot about it. About a month after this thing about Shim a fellow by the name of Sam, who had done a lot of time in Sing Sing, comes around and he sees Bobby there and they shake hands and Bobby asked him what was he doing up in Harlem so Sam Simone tells Bobby that he came to speak to Joe. So as he said that it was private I told him to come to my house so he said that as long as he found me the thing can wait until tomorrow morning as I will come to your house. So I gave him my address. He sat down in the restaurant and we talked about Sing Sing. He stayed about an hour and he left and the next morning he came over to the house and now you would see how the world turned. He said that Alexander Venero is home and he sent me to talk to you so I asked how does he feel and he said not too good. Now I ask him what was on his mind and he said that Alex met so many guys in the 17 years that he done in Sing Sing and none he trusted like he trust you. I let him talk he heard that you are with Vito Genovese and I said yes. He said that he
- 384 -
has six kids and his wife had a hard time bringing them up and that he heard a lot of stories while he was in Sing Sing, the same as you he heard that Ciro Morello is going to get him. Now he wants to know if you talk to Vito and see if you can straighten him out as he want to spend the rest of his days with his wife and kids. I said Sam give me a week and give me your phone and I'll go right to Vito and I'll let you know as soon as I will hear something and in the meantime I don't want to know where he is until I hear something. In my early part of this story I told you how he wanted to send me to Al Capone when I came home in 1928. Now this is 1932 when Sam comes to talk to me. So I went and see Vito and I sat him down and I explained everything to him. He started to tell me that he can't see why we got to take care of things that happened 20 years ago. So I said this is a case of saving a guy's life that paid for his crime and done 17 years in jail and I want to tell you now Vito I said if I can't do him any good I'll do him no harm. I must explain to the readers that sometimes a guy goes to the front for someone and he winds up by getting the contract for shooting him. So I went down prepared for such a thing. That's why I didn't want to know where Alex was until I hear something. The other guy can say we are looking for that guy and you have him in your hands
- 385 -
and you are stuck. That is why a man has to be careful as to who he goes to have himself straightened out. So Vito said give me a week and I will let you know something. Three days passed when Vito calls me and I went down and met him. As soon as I got there I knew that things were OK. Vito said you ain't the only one that spoke for this guy other people spoke for him to, so I said Alex went to other people? He said no but these others guys spoke on their own. Oh I see well what is what. He said tell him to mind his own business and everyone will mind their's. Boy I was happy as I was down town and Sam came from downtown. I called him right away. He came and met me and we went to Brooklyn and we went to Alex house and when I saw Alex we hugged one another and he lined up his family and his wife and he made me shake hands with everyone of them and then he showed me their pictures. When they were kids he said see how they grow up and now I want to take care of them. I put my hand in my pocket and he stopped me and he won't let me pull out any money. He said he done good when he came out and besides you did enough so I sat down and I ate with them and I stayed there a couple of hours. Now before I left I told him that I won't come out here any more as I'm afraid that they might think that we are planning something. He said you are right, I was going to tell you the same
- 386 -
thing. Well he made me kiss everyone and I left I heard he opened a cafe and he stayed here three years and then he went to Italy and then I heard he died. Now before I tell this story I must explain to the reader that we were in trouble with the big mob and we survived and the people in the neighborhood understand and being it is a rough neighborhood and it always has been through the years. The people themselves go to their favorite tough guy whom they think will give them a fair deal, now they don't go to the police because of fear.
Now one of the boys from 108 Street told me that Joe the grocer man wanted to see me so I went and see him. I knew him since I was in short pants and he always gave me a sandwich when I was hungry. He takes me into his house as he lived in the same building where he had the grocery store. He sat me down and he tells me that he got a letter asking him for five thousand dollars. They accused him of raping an eight year old some years ago. Now the girl is back in the neighborhood and if he don't pay the girl will expose him. Of course the girl is a big girl now and to begin with there is no girl at all at any time. Now the business man and a married man with a family cannot afford to have such a rap like this, the accusation itself will ruin him. So he makes up his mind to pay but he is afraid that they will come back some other time. He goes to a guy that he thinks will give him a break and assure him
- 387 -
that they won't come back. This trick was used in Italy and they brought it into this country. This black hand mob comes from a town in Italy called Calabraze, that is a certain nationality in Italy. I found out all about this through this deal. I asked the guy if anyone talked to him in person besides the letter and he said, his gombah. Now as I am new in this life at this time I go and I tell Bobby Doyle all about it, so he tells me how to handle the whole thing. He tells me to find out when he is going to pay this money. I went and see Joe and I asked him to let me know when he is going to pay as I want to go on the appointment. He tells me his gombah is going to pay Friday. Oh I said don't give him any money and I want to meet him. Joe said I can get him on the phone so I tell him to call him and make an appointment for me for tomorrow for five o'clock. The next day I brought Bobby with me and we meet this gombah and we asked him where is he going to meet these guys. He said that he did not know yet but as Joe turned he made a signal to us and we went on the steps of the store. He said that he did not want to talk in front of Joe. He told us that he is going to meet these guys under the bridge at 129 Street so he told us the time and we told him that we go and meet these guys and we go without any money. He said OK so we went there on Friday and there were two guys there and they were looking at us and we were looking at them. Finally
- 388 -
one of them was making a signal and I asked Bobby what is he doing and Bobby said he is trying to give us a signal of the black hand. Well I said let's walk over to them and he said no let them come over to us. We stood on the corner and they came over we asked them if they were waiting for someone and they said they were. We told them that he will not be over that's why we are here. Bobby asked them if they knew some well-known names that we mention and they said that they did not know anyone and that there were by themselves and they work by themselves. So we told them that we don't allow anything like what they were doing, especially on 108 Street. They told us that Joe's gombah brought the proposition to them. Well we said as long as you worked hard on this we are going to pay you some expense and make sure that you never go near this guy again. They said don't worry. We asked them how much did they want for their trouble and they said how about $1,500. We told them OK remember we told them never go near this guy again, now or ever. They told us to give the money to Joe's gombah. We went and See Joe and he had the five thousand ready and I told him that we saved him $2,000 and he said that he did not care about paying the money only make sure that they don't come back. We told him that if ever they will come back they will be in trouble with us and here is my phone number if they come call me and he said that he was going to
- 389 -
move the store up in the Bronx and he will never come around any more. He gave me a thousand dollars. He said he had a lot of money. He said he was happy to be assured that they won't come back again and that is how Bobby and I got the experience of handling a black hand plot. They are not racketeers, they are shakedown artists and Cosa Nostra will not accept them as members.
Now there was talk about the slot machines going out as Acting Mayor Joe V. McKee is trying to win a three way fight. It was O'Brien and McKee and Mayor LaGuardia. O'Brien and McKee ran on the same ticket and LaGuardia ran on some kind of deal I don't remember. Now it was on my wedding night that we got the news that McKee threw all the slots in the street - it was in September, I will never forget it as I had to cancel my honeymoon as I had to replace the slot machines for the pinball machine. After all I had good spots and it was something instead of wasting the good location and If I did not put pinballs in my location someone else will. Anyway when it was over both of Tammany Hall men lost and I remember clear that McKee refused to talk to the people on the radio as he was so mad that he lost.
Right after the wedding which was broken up early as Vito being my best man he could not come and sit with us as the way I understood that there was a little trouble in the air. Well anyway the next day I saw Frankie and I
- 390 -
asked him how many machines did I lose and Frankie said only one. I ran to Charlie Litchman and I was talking out every kind of pinball that he had at this time. Charlie Litchman was a jobber and he handled all kinds of machines and as I walked in Litchman's store he was having an argument with one of the pinball operators and I jumped in and the operator ran away. Now Charlie is asking me if I care to go in business with him. He said he found a nice store on 60 Street between Broadway and Eighth Ave and I told him that I will be glad to go in business with him, especially now that the slots are out and at the same time he asked me if I was interested in working on a pinball union that I told him that I don't want any part of. He tried to tell me how much it will bring in. I said I don't care as I had too many friends in the pinball business and besides I don't like unions. To me I said a union guy is like a pimp. I'm sorry and I ain't a good talking person - that is a trade for con men and Charlie I said I'm sorry you get on the phone sometimes and you never stop so forget me with the union, As I was going back and forth to his place he was telling me that he rent the store and we will be started in a few months. He knew I had a lot of friends and that is why he wanted me. I knew but I didn't care I never made any money if I didn't work for it. With the pinballs I was making a living, not too much, but enought to sit back and wait
- 391 -
for something else to pop up.
Now I was talking to Bobby about the numbers business and he told me we can't go into the numbers business as Ciro Morello will stop us. He said there were only three banks, one was in Jersey and it was Willie More, the LaSalles in New York and the Dutch man who is partner with Ciro. I said I didn't know you need an OK to book numbers. Bobby said if it ain't one of this outfit that you work for then you are considered an outlaw. Ok I said. Then Bobby told me when you see Vito tell him that you want to bank, play dumb, if he asked you don't you know the rule you say that you didn't know. I said I won't look for him but when I bump into him I will ask him. Bobby said that the way to do it. To make it short I saw Vito and he told me that he will let me know as he had to talk to Charlie Lucky about it. So I said OK. Now as Charlie Litchman was almost ready with the story, Tony Bender asked me if I wanted to go to Hot Springs. He said your hand don't look so good. I said Tony I just gave what money I had to Charlie Litchman. He said for what. I said we are going in the jobbing business. He said that a good business. Then he said all you need is your fare and he will take care of the rest. I said OK I'll come so in a week I was off to Hot Springs, Ark. I left Frankie West to take care of the pinballs and I told Charlie Litchman that I will see him in a month and I went to Hot Springs.
- 392 -
Tony brought along Jerry Rayn from Brooklyn who was with Joe Adonis, his wife Edna and Johnnie Bagianoia who is a night club owner. At this time he owned the Hardy Club which was downtown somewhere on West Third Street and while we were on the train we played cards, pinochle, and I told them that I had no money and they told me that we can play with IOU so we played and everytime I had a hand they will out bid me so when I gave the hand up they will pass cards to one another but I did not see them as I didn't think that I had to watch people like them. So I'm stuck about 5 thousand dollars. I did not say anything but I did not intend to pay. I knew something was wrong but I did not know what. Then Tony asked me what did you do, I did not answer and Edna answered and she said to Tony why do you allow them guys to fool around with Joe and Tony said they don't want to gamble they just having some fun, they like Joe and Joe told them that he had no money so we are going to ride for three days so they thought they will have a little fun. So Edna said to me do you mind what they did. No I said I'm glad to hear it I did not intend to pay any way. So Tony showed me 5 thousand dollars. They want me to give them the money in front of you and then you owe me the money. Then I said let's have some fun give them the money in front of me and I make them believe that I don't know anything. Tony said its their money they gave it to me just for fun. Well I must say they were real class and two real nice fellows
- 393 -
Mow they know that I owe Tony 5 grand and they were telling me if Tony presses you for the money let us know so I said where am I going to see you and Jerry said I'll give you my phone number and Johnnie said that he is always in the Hardy Club. I said OK. Then Johnnie asked me if I ever was in the Hardy Club I said yes but I thought Tony owned it so they said to one another, Hey Joe knows. So I laughed so Johnnie asked me is that the only Club Tony owns.. I said Hey Johnnie and we stopped talking them he asked me Joe I never saw you before and Jerry answers as Jerry is a member and Johnny ain't and until today Johnny is still not a member and said Joe just come with us he was with the old man that died on 46 Street. With that Johnnie looked ah he said no wonder you don't look like them guys on Thomson St, where are you from. I said Harlem. Oh he said I see and he kept looking at me and said I like you Joe.
Now we arrived at Hot Springs and we stopped at the Arlington Hotel as that was the best and it cost 20 dollars a day for the room not including the baths. We went horseback riding the next day and we went in a park they call Mohawk Trail and we were riding on an edge but you could not see anything because the trees were full of leaves and we were riding for about half an hour when the horse I was riding saw a snake and he went on his
- 394 -
hind legs and when he did this I saw how high I was I thought I'll die - first of all I'm afraid of height. But when I saw what a drop I will make if the horse threw me I got off the horse and I rather walk than ride back. Now they wanted to put me on one of their horses but I said if I wanted to ride I wouldn't had gotten off of my horse so I walked all the way back. Now that night the owner of the horse handed me a bill for 600 dollars. He said that will pay for the horse I told him that I will pay for the horse but he must come to New York City to collect. He said that he would and I said that I will pay I knew that he was kidding but he was serious so I made him think that I was serious. Well the next day we all were walking in town which wasn't much of a town and we saw a big crowd in front of the postoffice and we saw a big Dusenburg parked outside of the post office and Tony recognized the car he said he was sure it was Oney Madden's car so we squeezed our way through the crowd and we saw Oney in the Post Office and he was laughing and he shake hands with us and he said I come here to send a telegram and I'm stuck. I can't get out of here. We helped him to get out and Tony made an appointment with him to meet us in Studies Restaurant and they served good Italian food it was about 14 miles from the Arlington Hotel in 1933 there weren't many places you can go to in Hot Springs. They did not have a race track at that time.
- 395 -
We went riding again and this time we did not go to the Mohawk Trail and I had a fine time. As we were coming in I said to Tony how nice it was that day to go horse back riding and he answered yes its nice, wait until we get the bill. That's all I had to hear. I won't go anywhere with them any more, not even to eat. So Jerry and Johnnie got wise and they will come in my room and ask me why I did not go riding and not go to Studies Restaurant any more. So I will laugh and that's all I told them that if they don't cut it out talking about why I don't go here and there that I will go home so Johnnie said that he had $10,000 in his pocket and I could have any part of it. I said Johnnie I thank you but I don't know you well enough to take money away from you. Believe me I said you don't know how good I feel about your offer but please don't ask me to come riding or to eat. I will go home if you want to know why then ask Tony, he knows why. Now I met a girl and Jerry was with me and I go to the hotel through the back way and I went to the basement and the elevator stops on the first floor and there is Edna right in front of me and I told her that I was bringing her to Jerry's room as I figure that Jerry did this on purpose and Edna tells me afterward that she was glad that she found out that I was going to Jerry's because they think they cute. I told her that's why I told you and that is the way things went at Hot Springs, Arkansas. The 21 days are up and we come
- 396 -
home and I told Bobby about what Tony did and he could not believe it. Now I go and see Charlie Litchman and he tells me that the union guys were at the store. The president was a friend of mine and he told Charlie that when I get back that he wanted to see me so Charlie called him and Marvin Leviwitz came over with Joe Hirch, they were the pinball union members as the union was new and honest Mayor LaGuardia told the union that if Joe Valachi stays in the vending machine business he would throw them out in the street. So they asked me if I want to sell. I said what can I do I might as well sell and save the business, after all I got machines on location. If I don't sell I will lost both businesses. So we sold to a guy by the name of George Ponza. I asked why the Mayor was mad at me and they said that I helped make him lose the election when he ran for congressman against Lanzetta. It was not true, it was the boys from 116 Street and he thought I was with them. I made some money on the deal but after a few years George Ponza made a couple of hundred thousand dollars at 60 West 60 Street, that is the address of the store I sold to George Ponza. If the pinball don't go out George Ponza would had gotten rich in that store.
Now everyone thought that all the crap games were going to be closed but they didn't in fact more crap games opened after he took office. There was one game that ran on Lexington Ave. for 30 years. It broke everyone in
- 397 -
Harlem. That game was run by Fat Butch and Cockeye Nick from Westchester County was Fat's partner. He was not raised in Westchester County, he was raised in the Bronx. He is got millions today.
Now our Mayor used to talk every Sunday on the radio and he will tell you not to go down to the Copacabana as Frank Costello owned the club. Well the Copacabana was not known too much at this time but by the Mayor talking about it the Copa became famous. He was also mad at Frank Costello for losing his election. People are funny, you tell them to stay away from some place and that is where they go. That is the story I know about LaGuardia, but he was not a bad Mayor - he was good in his own way. He also stopped policy Pete from printing the policy numbers in the Daily Mirror. In this case the numbers player had to figure their own number from the Daily racing. Almost every boss had theyr own political connection - Ciro Morello had Warran Hubert in Harlem no one could beat him in Harlem as long as Ciro Morello was behind him, downtown East Side Charley Lucky had Al Marusielli, until he got busted Dutch Schultz had Jimmy Hines until he went to jail. Frank Costello had Mayor O'Dwyer. Tom Gagliano had Marcantonio, I need not talk about Jim Walker, he made everybody happy. I don't see why anyone is so shocked when you talk about New York City, they
- 398 -
have been having shake-ups after shake-ups all through the years. Guys after guys talked their heads off. Gross and Joe Pledge from Brooklyn, Pete LaTampo who was talking in the Vito Genovese case - he was found poisoned to death in the administration of O'Dwyer in Raymond Street Jail. Pipe the Blind who hung himself in the Bronx County jail, they say he hung himself, who knows. Then you had Abe Relase who was thrown out the window - he also was witness in the Genovese case. I ran ahead of my story just to show why they are so shocked.
Around the late part of 1933 or the early part of 1934 I went to Florida with my wife and another couple. I wanted to make up for not going away after the wedding and for leaving her behind when I went to Hot Springs. Now while in Florida I met the Gap and he taught me how to play horses. He gave me 27 straight losses - its a good thing that I was only betting tens and twenties. One day my wife picked a horse, she liked the horses name and she came over and asked the Gap if the horse had a chance. The Gap told her not to let anyone know that she wanted to play such a horse. There was another guy there and he heard it all so he called my wife and told her to play the horse and told her that every horse can win, don't listen to the Gap. The horse was on the board 99 to 1. Well I got busy and I forgot all about the horse and when the race started this horse went to the front and
- 399 -
never stopped. The horse paid over 200 hundred dollars and my wife and 2 dollars across the board on it. That was the only bet we cashed. She collected over 300 dollars.
Now I run into Vincent Monagano. He was a boss in the old family and took the place of one of the guys that died on Pelham Parkway. When I saw him I tried to avoid him because I knew that he was against my former boss Marnagano. He put his arm around me and he said what's the matter with you don't you want to talk to me. I was really ashamed more than anything else as I used to see him up at the 46 Street office. So I said you know how it is Vince I got horses on my mind. He said hey Joe when you are going to pass up people like me because of the horse its time for you to quit. So I said you right but what can I do and he saw that I was nervous and I wanted to get away. He asked me did I put any bet in yet. I said I did and he said let me see how much you bet. I showed him the ticket and he saw that it was 10 win and 10 place so he showed his ticket and all he bet was two dollars. You see he said all I bet is two dollars and he had his arm around me all this time that we were talking. So I said Vince you can afford to play just two dollars that is all the millionaires bet but us guys that ain't doing too well we try to win our expenses - instead we go in a hole. Yes Joe he said I understand. Come here a minute he said and he walked me by the rail
- 400 -
and he said we watch the races together. Then he said you know Joe I got a lot of respect for you if it wasn't for guys like you we won't be where we are and I want you to know that I am an old timer and I appreciate and respect all of you guys that done away with Joe the Boss and guys like Peter Morello. Yes I said I agree with you but look at what happened we done good and now we got to walk with our heads down because our boss went crazy. Yes he said don't you see that's why Vito took you guys with him he wants to make sure you get a fair deal. I said Vinc I got to tell you the truth if I don't hustle I'll starve to death what can I tell you. He said hey Joe anyway this is the way I feel, have you got a car. I said no the couple that came with me went home, the poor guy is a working man and the Gap gave us 27 straight losers. Give me your address and I'll send you a brand new car and you can sent it to this address when you go home as he handed me a card and I don't remember just what he said, he started to tell me anyway Joe if ever you are in trouble in Brooklyn this is what I don't remember whether he said they made a Judge or they were going to make a Judge. He told me that the Judge was Italian and that his name was Arbruzzo. Later on in this story I will tell about Judge Abruzzo.
Now I go to the dog track and the Gap is getting more loses but at
- 401 -
the dog track I'm only betting two to four dollars a race because I did not like the dogs and I went just to kill the night. We were tired of going here and there. My wife and I notice an old man going to the winning window after every race so I started to follow this old man and I was starting to win but I did not tell the Gap anything fearing that he will laugh. So one night I had 10 across the board on a dog he was number four. I will never forget about this particular night. Now the Gap had a couple of hundred dollars on number two. He had to bet heavy he was stuck a lot of money. So the race is running and number two is leading and I was rooting for number two. Now number two stops and number four is in front. I get excited and I forget number two so I rooting for number four the Gap looks at me and he said who are you betting on. I said Gap what can I win on number two, number four is 17 to 1 so I got a couple of bucks on number four. Number four wins and pays 35 dollars and change 12 dollars for place and 6 dollars for show. How can anyone forget such a night. I must had told this story so many times it ain't funny. So I was so happy that I went and told the old man thanks. He said he knew that I was following him. He said he did not mind so I asked him how come he is always collecting. He said that he comes to Florida every year and he makes nice money. He said he raised dogs and that he trained them and he knows when they drink water
- 402 -
and when they don't by looking at them. Sometimes he has to bet a couple of dogs and he waits for his spot when there is only one dog to bet. Now I was meeting the old man every night and I must say that he got me even on all the money that I lost on the horses. By this time we were in Florida about four months. Now the Gap comes over to me in the last race and he tells me that he is ruined and he asked me to do him a favor. He told me that he will introduce me to some guy and this guy will give me a tip on a dog and after I get the dog I shall give so and so the bet and tell him that the Gap is betting and if the dog loses I shall meet him at his house and we will go home. Well the dog lost and my wife and I were leaving the track and these guys call me over and they asked me where is the Gap. I said I did not know. Isn't he around I asked and they asked me where does he live and I told them that I didn't know and they asked me if he told me who they are and I said no he did not and they said that they were with Joe Adonis. Then I said then what are you worrying about. They said that they were not worrying only that the Gap said that he will meet us here after the races. Oh I said do you know who I am they said that they did not so I said as long as you are with Joe Adonis them I am with the same people you are so they said that they understood the bet was 6 hundred dollaws. Now it was a good thing that Vincent Mongano gave me the car when I got him I found out that the Gap got
- 403 -
into a crash and he turned upside down and that he was in a hospital some where in North Carolina. I kept the car for about a week as I wanted to have it checked and then I called Vincent and I thanked him and I asked if it will be OK if I send someone over with the car and he said that if I need the car I could use it. I said I had a car and I thanks him again. Now I see Bobby and he tells me that Vito told him that if we want to book the numbers that it will be OK. Now so I said well he laughed and said I already have a good controler and I said we need money. He said he had a guy with money. Fine I said. I met a guy and he wants me to go in the ice business with him and Bobby told me not to so I said why and he said that belongs to Vito and if you build it up they may tell you to stop. So I said as long as it is for Vito then I don't care if I work for nothing after all he just gave up the OK on the numbers. Yes Bobby said the idea is that you will look bad with the guy that you are with. I see I said I didn't know that they got the ice business union. He said they ain't got the ice union, they have the ice business. I said that I did not understand. He said the ice racket is been in existence for a long time. I see the guy I said and I will tell him maybe if we guild it up we may have to give it up. He said that he didn't care as he just wanted to start because he was stopped once before and he wanted the satisfaction to go back. He said he has the trucks so I said that I will not
- 404 -
put in any money and the only thing that I will do is get customers. He daid OK. All I did was when I go in a place, say like a bar, I will ask the bar owner if I could get his trade for the ice service. Well in about six months I got quite a few customers and I rwer got a cent. Now Vito Genovese calls me and he asked me if I was with Russo in the ice business.
So I said didn't Bobby tell you. He said yes and he told you not to do it. I asked why and he said not I must ask you to stop so I said I'll stop do you get anything out of it he said that it was his company so I said I don't mind the little work that I did as long as you get the benefit. When we were in Atlanta together I reminded him one day we were talking and as there was an iceman in the cell boy did he get mad. He said how do you guys remember so far back. I just laughed because I wanted him to know that he stopped me from making a living. He didn't like it as it hit hard and it sounded so rotten it was not even funny. The other ice man just looked.
Now we go into the numbers business and we started small I'll say the first day we had about 400 dollars net, net means that after the 30% is taken out for the controllor he gives his runner 25% or 20% that's his business what he does. We the bank hold him responsible for his runner.
We have all the runners names in the office if one of the runners is missing or his work don't come inwe send for the controller. We went pretty nice
- 405 -
nice for about three weeks and then we got murdered. We were working in everyone of the partner's house, one week we work in my house, another week we work over Bobby's house and we had a jew boy for a partner and he had a partner, his name was Nick, and the guy that was banking he ran like a thief. Now we don't know what do do so we worked without any money and we were lucky but we looked around and we found another guy to back us up by this time we had about 600 dollars a day. We got notice that Charlie Lucky's father died and that night a bad number came out and the guy did not want to pay he got scared so we made all the hits overlook which means that we made believe we did not see the hits. We told the controller that there was hits and not to worry. we will pay tomorrow and we went to Charlie Lucky's wake, I mean his father. I don't remember where it was but it was either in Long Island or Brooklyn - I know it was pretty far from Harlem. When we got to Charlie's father's wake there was a big crowd and we sat. I'm pretty sure it was in the back garden. Charlie was not in sight but then he came and he walked over to us and he put his hand out to shake hands when Bobby Doyle said to Charlie, hey Charlie I want you to meet Joe and he had no chance to finish when Charlie blew up, what do you mean by trying to introduce me to one of my own boys. Bobby's face got all red. Bobby I'm talking to yoy do you remember this. I bet you do. In
- 406 -
other words Bobby was trying to impress me. Too bad Charlie had to go to jail, eh, Bobby. Now Charlie walks away and Bobby is talking in the other room and Charlie is comning towards me and he says Joe you look sad what is wrong and I told him that we went broke with the numbers and he called a friend of his which was a friend of mine to and he said to Frank get together with Joe he got some number play and he went broke. So Frank said to me do you need any money and I said yes. He said will five thousand dollars help you. I said yes. Then Frank told me to go and see him tomorrow at 114 Street and Pleasant Ave. So when Bobby came over I told him all about what happened and he was kind of surprised. Well before we left that night Charlie said ot me you going to be all right. So I said thanks, Charlie.
The next day I went and see Frank and he gave me the money. We paid out the hits and in a few days we were broke again and I went and see Frank again and he gave me more money, he gave me four thousand more and he told me not to worry you stay by yourselves for about another week and any money you need I will give it to you and then we will get together, don't tell Bobby anything because it will look bad if it will get out. I said what will look bad and he said the numbers are going to be fixed and we will be in on it. Boy I said. Keep your mouth shut Frank said that's why Charlie wanted you
- 407 -
to get together with me, he want you to make some money. Frank said its too bad you are with that guy he is a tough man to do business with. I was so much in a daze I could not make out what it was all about. Bobby Doyle is making himself a big guy with me and now I'm seeing that guys like Charlie Lucky ain't got much use for him. I didn't know then but I know now. Well anyway in about a week we got together and the first day we got together he had some more business and Frank had more so we had all together $2,500 business, that means $1,750 cash that day. Now Frank tells me to chart the work which means when I get the first number say it is seven, I go up the office and put on the board all the numbers that lead with a seven. Now in about one hour we will have five. Now the first two numbers are 75 and in one more hour we will get the last number before it comes out I let Frank know which number had the most money on it that particular day we had a number with 25 cents on it. I don't remember the number that day as it is too far back but we were hit for a quarter so we had to pay out one hundred and fifty dollars, deduct one hundred and fifty dollars from one thousand, seven hundred and fifty dollars and we win one thousand, six hundred and fifty dollars. Frank called Willie Moore in Jersey after I gave him the number with the most hits and the least hits. Now the business is picking up as everyone is out hustling because the more we get the more we
- 408 -
make. The business went up as high as $5,000 a day but it started to go down because there weren't many hits. We had in the bank roll as far as sixty thousand dollars in a few months the race track we started to work at, and it was fixed, was Fair Ground in New Orleans, it was a ninety day meet. Then from there we went to another fixed track, I don’t remember but the fixed tracks were as far as I can remember, Hawthorne in Chicago, River Downs in Ohio and that was a ninety day meet. Now I was drawing one hundred and fifty dollars a week and every month I got a bonus from $800 to $1,500 and sometimes three or four thousand dollars. I had the pinballs at the same time but I did not pay attention to the pinballs but I was getting about one hundred dollars a week until they threw them out.
Now there is a rumor that there is going to be a special D.A. coming to New York City and everyone is talking about it and I find out that Dutch Schultz is the main guy in the numbers business and that he is got the man that can fix the numbers at the race track and I find out how they do it and this man that the Dutchman is got, I think his name was Greenbaum, was the only one who can do it. I understand he had to put money in the mutual machines to get it to balance so that the number that he wanted will match with the pay off on the wining horse, I don't know exactly how he did it but I am giving you a good understanding as to how they did it. Now there was three main banks
- 409 -
that were in on this, the Dutchman, Vito Genovese who was partner with Tony Bender and Willie Moore in Fort Lee, New Jersey. They were the three banks that were paying. We were not paying anything as we were too small, They were only helping us out. To give you an idea how small we were here is the amount of business the Dutchman had, I'll say that he had from 80 thousand to one hundred thousand a day business. Willie had about forty to fifty thousand a day business, and Tony and Vito had about twenty to thirty thousand a day. They had less than the other two because Vito and Tony started the same time we did. We could had got plenty of business but we could not touch anyone else's business unless we started our own runners, meaning guys who never picked up numbers before. The rule was we cannot touch anyother member's business if we did we will be in trouble and we will be on the carpet. It was the only way to avoid trouble. One Christmas they gave us a chance for us to make some money by they, the big bosses, let us work and they let us have part of their business just for that day so that we can make some money for Christmas and they even fixed the number for us that day. No one else worked but us. I never forget the number that came out that day it was 661 that was the best number for us and we won that day seven thousand dollars so we had a very good Christmas. My share came to about seventeen hundred dollars, for those days it was
- 410 -
good money, after all things were bad at that time, people were selling apples on Broadway.
Now the Dutchman is all excited because of the rumor of the special D.A. and he is worrying about Jimmy Hines. One night while I was in Freddie's Restaurant on 46 Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, it was an Italian Restaurant, and Bobby and I used to go there a lot. Charlie Lucky walked in and he had an appointment with the Dutchman and Charlie sat down with us and he asked me if I was happy with Tony Bender and I told him that I will let him know the next time that I'll see him. He said if you not happy I'll put you somewhere else so again I told him that I will let him know. Now the Dutchman walks in and Charlie introduces Bobby and I to him and believe it or not I liked him on sight. Any way they talked on the side for awhile and after the Dutchman left Charlie told us that guy is crazy, he is worrying about Tom Dewey and that was all that Charlie said. When Charlie left Bobby and I started to talk and Bobby was telling me that he did not like the Dutchman and I said I don't know Bobby he seemed to be a nice guy and Bobby said he is a phony, he gives you a good hand but you can't get the right time from him. Well what can I tell you it seems everybody is phony. Then Bobby said you know the guy you liked I said who, Bo Weineburg said Bobby. What about Bo Weineburg? Then Bobby tells me
- 411 -
that the Dutchman killed him and bury him so I said no kidding, no wonder I don't see him anymore he used to come around our office at least once of twice a week. Bobby said you know why he killed him. I said no. The Dutchman thought that he Bo was getting too close to the Italian. Eh I said it looks as though the Dutchman won't be around too long. That's the way it looks Bobby said. Then I asked him the other guy, I mean his brother George, anything happened to him. No Bobby said he is still around. That's how I founded out about Bo. He happened to come in a joint I was the other night and one of the Jew boys tells me he wonder if George suspected anything, that's how I know. Then Bobby tells me don't ask any question, make believe you don't know anything. I said if I didn't like the guy I won't even want to hear about it. Gee what a gentleman he was. Then I asked where did they get him and he said in a Midtown Hotel, they took him out in a trunk. The next thing I hear Bo Weinburg's brother George was talking in some case but I don't remember the detail. I didn't care so I don't remember but I think something happened to him but I just ain't sure so I won't try to guess.
Now there was one strike against the Dutchman. Now he is looking to kill Tom Dewey and that is two strikes against him. I must stop talking about it right now as I must talk about it when it fits. I'll be back with more
- 412 -
about the Dutchman and I'll tell you the real reason why he was killed.
Now I'm riding on 114 Street between Lexington and Park Avenue and I see Pipe the Blind sitting on a stoop on the steps of a building so I stopped and I talk to Pipe and he tells me that he is got a horse room on the ground floor of the building and he says that he is always losing so he wants to see for himself how does he lose so I said hey pipe it is summer time and the horses run into form with the heat the solid horse, if he don't win its hard to knock him out of the money. The horse business is always a grind in the summer time. As we were sitting a couple of Bulls were passing by and they stopped the car and they came over and they asked me my name and I told them and they said that they had a complaint against me and I ask what complaint you have against me and they said that they will tell me in the police station. Being they were new Bulls in the neighborhood I said let's go I didn't even want to mention anything or mention anyone's name because when you mention anyone's name it cost money. When I got to the police station they still don't mention anything so the next morning we went to the line up at police headquarters and then we went to court at 121 Street between Third and Lexington Ave. and they had no one in court against me but now I find out the charge is extortion. I come back to court 48 hours later and there is Magistrate Anna Gross. Now what I'm going to
- 413 -
tell you is on record. The Bulls tell the court that he thought that I extorted some money from a man who is now in court so the Judge said where is he I want to talk to him and he steps forward and came to the bench and the Judge asked him did you tell the detective that this defendant tried to extort money from you. He said that he did not, so the Judge said to the detective it is too bad that this defendant cannot afford to testify against you to begin with I won't let him because I know what will happen to him but I want to tell you one thing I like to send you and your commissioner to jail. Tell him I said so. I want to go on record for what I'm telling you. Then she said you are new in this precinct and you make it your business to find out who has got a record and then you pick him up and charge him with a crime and then you shake him down. How much did you get? The Bull didn’t say a word and the Judge told him to get out of my court and yelled case dismissed. The Bull's name was Tracy, that's all I remember - he was young so he must be still around. When I came out of jail I found out that I owed five thousand dollars as that is what they gave the Bulls. I can't say that I complained. I knew of a case in Sing Sing where a guy refused to give a bull two hundred dollars and the bull won't drop the charge. He got twenty years and they used to call this man in Sing Sing Judge Gibbs as that was the Judge that gave him the twenty years and he had the honor to be the
- 414 -
only man that ever got twenty years for stealing a car. So what I'm trying to tell you is I wouldn't let any kind of money stand in my way when you experience cases like I just described to you.
Now it is summer time and Bobby and I were talking and we decided that we will go to the country and the boys that we are partner with are in Granville, New York. It is about 16 miles from Ellenville, New York, and I went first with my wife and kid. Now we rent a small house and it was on a lake and we had to cross a plank to get to it but it was a short distance to cross - I'll say it was about 7 feet. I got to like it so much that I wanted to buy the piece of land but I could not buy it because the whole town had to get out by the end of the year. It was in 1934 that we were at this place. We used to go across the street as they used to have barn dances every week and we got close to the owner. Now this is where we found out that Bobby and his wife are the greatest trouble makers on earth and when I say on earth I mean on earth. I could write for a year but I won't be able to tell you just what they really are. It is unbelievable but I will try to tell you what I can. Next door to the barn dance hall and bar someone is building a bungalow and who do you think he is - he is one of the boys that belongs with me - he is with Vito and he's a Lt. is the same Lt. I got, his name was Mike Baraze - it was a nick name as I do not know his
- 415 -
right name. Now Bobby is always telling stories about my wife's family and he is making them the worse people on earth and he had me in such a fix that I was afraid to talk to my wife about anything and Bobby's wife will do the same thing to my wife. I will give you one instance as to how they operated, for instance, his wife will ask me what did you have to eat last night and I will say Lobster, and then she will ask who was there and I will say oh only my sister-in-law and she will ask did she eat. I will say yes is there anything wrong with this kind of talk. Well here is the way it will get back that I was complaining that my sister-in-law was eating everything and I didn't get anything to eat. Now my sister-in-law was a little smarter than my wife so my sister-in-law will ask me Joe don't get mad what I am going to ask you I can't believe it and I will say I don't know what you mean and she asked me Joe do you remember the lobster we had the other night and I will say yes do you remember that there were some left over and no one wanted any more. That's right I will say. Now how did you tell Lena, that's Bobby's wife, I will say nothing only that she asked me what did you eat last night and I told her and she will ask me did Rose eat and I will say yes that's all. I thought so my sister-in-law said and she explained everything to me. God I could not get over it and I could not say anything about it as I would had liked to do. Now this was it. We never got along for the rest
- 416 -
of my days ever since and oh how he and Tony Bender tried to frame me and have me killed. I will tell some of the facts as I will go along. How would anyone like to go through something like this, I'll bet not.
The big shot Tom Rye, who is Vito Genovese's right hand man, was just a nobody and he used to ask me about all kind of advice and I will give it to him. I could see he did not like Mike too well. I did not blame it for that as Mike was a hard guy to like. Now Mike was going out with Peggie's wild daughter and Peggie was one of the biggest madmen in New York City but I or my wife didn't know anything or let us say what do we care who they are. As Mike's girl has her sister with her. His girl's name was Joan and Joan's sister's name was Flo. Now everytime they see my wife and I they will look funny at us and were afraid to talk so we figured Bobby and his wife are at it again. Now Tommy had his wife there and she was a fine person and her name was Mary and she got along fine with us. We were there 3 1/2 months as it was really wonderful and we were getting our money from the number office and I had a few machines and I had a kid taking care of them. Now Tommy and Mike also had machines. Now we come home and Mike was always coming around looking for me and he will say gee Joe you are always bothering a friend of mine. I would say how will you take a spot from this guy and that guy and I will return them. Now I find out they were not
- 417 -
friends of his at all so I waited for him to come around again - he did. I waited to see what did he want when he told me about another spot. I told him take a walk and I told him take a walk or I throw you down that cellar. He ran like a thief and in one hour I got a call from Tony Bender and I went down to see Tony. He was mad he said when that guy comes and see you it is like I'm coming so I didn't answer. Then before I left I told Tony that he is getting a few dollars to return the location to these guys. Tony said it did not make any difference it is the way you spoke to the guy you told him that you wanted to throw him in the cellar. So I did not say anything. Now the next thing I hear that Mike is missing. Boy it was good news for me. When I found out why he was missing I got the kick of my life. Now as Pete was one of the guys that I put in the Mob and he was one of the guys that got fired at after they killed the old man he told me the whole story. He said why do you think that Mike was up in the country for he was on the lam. I said for what. He told me that he and Mike killed a guy on the roof on Thomson Street I told him that I did not know anything about it. He said he knew I didn't know anything that is why I telling you. Then I asked when did this thing happen and he told me that it happened in 1932. So I said and it just came up. He said Mike has been on the lam ever since that why he used to come and bother you in Harlem. He was supposed to come in but everytime an
- 418 -
appointment was made he will not keep it. I said I don't know what you mean. He went on to explain every time they made an appointment for him to meet the bulls so he can go in for questioning and everything was fixed he will not show up. He, Pete, had to go in but Mike will not goin. He will say to Pete you don't come from Thomson Street the people know Mike but not Pete because he was a stranger down there as Pete came from Harlem. Then I asked did anyone see you guys when you strangled this guy. Pete said yes they OK but Mike cannot be convinced. Well I said this man is a dangerous guy. That's why he is gone. Oh, Oh I said who did you kill on the roof I asked and Pete said hey Joe do you want me to get killed. I said forget it. Then he took my hand and he said you know Joe I'll tell you anything, then he said we killed Vito Genovese's wife's first husband. I said I'm sorry you told me you see why I did not want to tell you. Pete you told me but I swear I will forget all about it. Only knowing a thing like that is trouble. Don't get mad at me Vito when you read this it is all your fault. I'm sure you going to read it Vito and you never guessed that I knew. You are no good Vito, you are no good you belong with the guy on Pelham Parkway, the old Mustang Gang.
Now a few years passed. I want to write this ahead of time so that I will be finished talking about such a thing. Mike's girl Joan came and
- 419 -
see me and she sat me down and she wanted to know if she could talk to me it was a little personal she said. So I told her you can talk to me Joan go ahead. She wanted to know if it will remain between us if she spoke to me. I said as long as it is personal it will remain personal. She said that she had a chance to get married and she wanted to know if she should. I said Joan first I want to know what will keep you from marrying this fellow were you supposed to marry someone else. She said yes. The reason why Joan wanted to know if she could get married, it meant if I say for her to get married she will know that her boy friend Mike is dead and buried. If I tell her she better wait then she will know that I don't know anything, little did she know that I found out by accident he was killed because a couple of times there was an appointment made for him to give himself up to the police and everything was fixed - meaning that it was a matter of getting himself straightened out. They, the police, will ask him a few questions and then turn him lose, but Mike was afraid so Tony figured if Mike is so scared and everything is in the bag what will happen if he was arrested for a serious crime. He was considered a weak man. Joan and her sister Flo were good girls, they were one man's women. Then I said you go and get married and I wish you all the luck in the world. You
- 420 -
should be happy. I told her now for the record I go and see Tony Bender and I told him what happened and I wanted to know what will I tell her as I did not tell him that I already told her. You got to know how to handle these bosses they are so touchie. They would always do the oposite of what you suggest so I made him think that he had to handle it as it was too big for me. Darn fool. He told me to tell her to get married.
Now I go back to the numbers. One day the boys were happy when I came around to the office. They told me that we were going to make some money. They told me that we got to play in such a way that they cannot get away from being murdered. Well how is this going to be I said. Well we know it is going to be a seven, the first number. Oh I see I said. They spoke to me because I ran everything. Then I asked do we control the second number. They said yes. OK I said I know what to do. How much do you want to hit for and they told me for about twenty-five dollars, that is for one bank and we have two more banks. So you got to work hard they told me. So I said let us go up to the office and I get right to work as I had about three hours. So I made up the work for three banks and when I got through I was exhausted. Well the number that came out that day was 748, that's another number that I never forget and I used to play the number all the time after this. I hit it a half dozen times since, but this day we hit for 27 dollars which meant
- 421 -
we get $16,200. Now one of the guys could not pay. They caught him taking a boat. His name I remember was Webb. He was the guy that got five years in the Kefauver Committee for perjury. Now anyone who could not pay say like Vito and Tony Bender paid for Webb. Then they will take the business and they will book it and make Webb a controller and that's how they will get all the business and that is the way Dutch Schultz worked and that is how he got all the business but he or anyone else could not do it to a member. Webb was an outlaw.
Now Bobby and I ran into Vito Genovese and he sat us down and he told us that we are going to kill Dutch Schultz and he did not want us to look for him only if you come across him. Take your time there is no hurry and the Jews have been told so don't look for any trouble as I said only if you run into him, say like in some joint. Well we never ran into him and he was caught up with in Jersey about 4 months after. Vito told us after he was killed. Vito Genovese and Charlie Lucky and Mike Copollo took over all the numbers business the Dutchman had and they put a guy to run it by the name of Malone - he was an Irish guy. Now you know the real reason why they killed the Dutchman. I forgot to tell you that Ciro Morello was stripped out of his command and thus Dutch Schultz had no more backing of the
- 422 -
Artichoke King but the Dutchman did not know it and Ciro was replaced by Mike Coppolo and is still there ever since.
Now war breaks out with Waxy Gordon after the Schultz affair. Bobby and I were told by Vito Genovese that we need not be involved as it was not a national war only if we want to volunteer. So my friend Bobby asked me to volunteer with him and I was assigned to an apartment on Pearl Street on the west side of Greenwich Village. It was the main apartment, by the main apartment I must explain. There are other apartments all over the city and the spies are everywhere. Now if a spy sees someone, say in the Bronx, he will call my apartment as my apartment has all the phones we have a list. When he calls I will get the location and I will call the nearest apartment to the location. The apartment that I call will have the boys there. I may not even know the boys only that I have the phone is enough. My apartment is the only one who has the phone and they never use those phones as they got to be ready at all times if anything happens. After I called I may never know or it could be that they missed their target. Now I worked at night and I worked for 12 hours and I must say in the time that I worked I received one phone call and to be truthful I don't even remember I know they caught two bosses in Jersey somewhere and I only remember one name, his name was Max Greenburg and I don't remember the other. They
- 423 -
were killed in an office. Now I know of another boss that they caught in the Bronx - his name was Murray Marks. His downfall came as a result by parking in a certain garage that Tom Gagaliano owned. He had a flashy car and one of the guys who ran the garage checked on the license plates and found out it was registered to Murray Marks. They did not get him that night as by the time Tom got in touch with Charlie Lucky and told him about the discovery it took about two days. Now he will drive his car in the garage and then take a bus. Now they already had an apartment right near the garage and as Murray parked his car in the garage and then went to the bus stop to wait for the bus one man came out of the apartment which came I'll say from one block away. They rented this apartment as soon as they found out that Murray had parked his car in Tom's garage in order for this man to get close to Murray he had to pretend that he was a cripple and was in disguise and he was walking with a limp because Murray himself had a gun. The gunman had to disguise himself as Murray would had recognized him and he never would had got close to him. After they got Murray, Waxy Gordon made peace with Bugsey Seigle which he was known as Ben the Bug and Myer Lanskie. Ben the Bug later was killed in a California apartment by his own men as he went to California to take care of the
- 424 -
motion picture union and as I was made to understand that he went crazy and was spending all of the mob money and was giving no one an account of his doings. He was going out with Jean Harlow and Virginia Hill. I must say that I knew Ben the Bug and I think that he was the handsomest man I ever met. He was about 6 feet tall and he had light complexion and a round face. I heard that he took out half of Hollywood. After this trouble Waxy Gordon wound up being a bum and he died in jail. I did not know him but I hear he was a fine guy.
When we get free from the Pearl Street apartment, Bobby Doyle give me a proposition about a horse room in White Plains, New York. I went up there and I met a Jimmy Dolan and a fellow named Doc. Where in the world did I expect to find what I found - they had a horse room and it was one of the classiest horse rooms I ever saw. There were beautiful women, well dressed and very serious and all well to do, young and old.
They will sit at their tables and you could not hear a sound from them, most of them were married and after the room was closed for the day they will go about their business and go home. Well I liked it and I put up all the money. I don't remember how much but enough to carry them in case they need it and Bobby and I got fifty per cent of the room. The ice wasn't much, by the ice I mean the connection Jimmy Dolan had and they had to
- 425 -
be the police. I did not question them all I asked was, how much was the ice. I really don't remember. After I and Bobby left I did not go or call the horse room as I was busy with the numbers so I used to ask Bobby how was it going and he will say OK - one does not have time to be everywhere.
We made an appointment and we went to White Plains on a Saturday and Jimmy looked downhearted so I asked him if anything was wrong and he said I better talk to Bobby so I asked Bobby what was wrong and he tells me that he was betting horses on the phone all week and he did not know that he lost so much money so I said what is that got to do with me and at the same time Doc had a puss on. Bobby said that he had no money and that he had went broke in the crap game on Lexington Ave., at 103 Street where Fat Butch had his game. Dolan said not only we lost the winning but also the bankroll and the ice is up for the month. So I asked Bobby haven't you got any money at all? He said the only money he had was the pay from the numbers that we had just got being it was on a Saturday. So I asked how much is involved and Jimmy told me I know it was over fifteen hundred, they had won pretty good that week or it would had been more. I said hey Bobby I'll put it up this time but I don't like this kind of business. I like to bet on horses to you know that don't you. He had his head down. So I told Him that he should take a ride to my
- 426 -
house the next day as it will be Sunday I will be home. I told Bobby that when we make a profit I will take his end and I will keep it until he makes up the loan. He said OK and then I said that he cannot bet to this office any more as I will foul up. The next day Jimmy came over to my house with his wife and I gave him the money.
Now we started to go to the race track and we were doing pretty good but I was only betting 10 and 20 dollars on one horse. Bobby was betting 50 and a hundred on every race. We were getting three and four winners a day. Sometimes we were getting five winners in one day so we were doing all right and I could not go every day as I had to take care of the numbers. The horse room was doing OK and Bobby got even and we were getting money every week until there will be an election coming up and we had to close for a couple of months. No one in White Pains knew we had anything to do with the horse room as they the town itself will not allow it. Being Jim and Doc were local boys it was OK. The numbers were doing OK as we were still on a fix track and we were getting a pinch there and a pinch here and we started to put police on the payroll as we were getting bigger and the ice was getting bigger. One day I was passing 124 Street and First Ave. and the controller calls me and tells me that his work was not picked up as it was
- 427 -
late I took it and I put it in my car and as I pulled up 114 Street Pleasant Ave., and as it was drizzling and I ran at the drop and I had my head down I ran right into the police - they were the commissioner's confidental squad - and you cannot do any business with them. So I was arrested and when my case came up my record did not show up in court. I don't know how they did it but I got a suspended sentence. Before I went to court I had went and see Steve Francis from the 181 Club at 11 Street and First Ave., and he took care of everything. The name of the police boss was Carberry.
Now while we are busy here and there and Bobby and I used to go on Broadway every night we ran into Charlie Lucky and he again told me if I am not happy down there with Tony Bender, I should let him know so I told him that I will let him know. He must had known something or maybe Tom Gagilano might have been telling Charlie, you remember I used to be with Tom Gagiliano when I started, and you remember how close I was with Tom. I wanted to tell Charlie but I was worried that Vito and Tony might find out I wanted to get to know Charlie more before I would tell him. I sure hope that I would had told him now I find out that they made a council of six, meaning they made a new board. It was to protect the soldier, in ...
- 428 -
of his soldiers killed just because he did not like him. It meant that if a soldier did anything wrong he will get a trial and be judged by seven men. I don't remember who the seventh man will be cause it had to be 7 in case there will be a three and three tie then the seventh man will decide the decision. Everyone was glad to hear about the council. They knew soldiers were being killed for nothing through the years. Near the end of this story I will explain everything in detail how the old and the new operate. I'll put it all in rotation.
Now they kill an Irish guy in Brooklyn. His name was Vinnie Higgens. He was the king of the bootlegged and they took over his business and Tony Bender used to sit in his office and take orders all day long from all the hot spots in the Village. He sat there like a king you would think that he killed everyone on earth and he took over everything. The only time I agree with Vito is when in Atlanta he once told me that he, Vito, made Tony Bender a tough guy. For that Vito I give you right.
Now some kid comes and see me and he tells me that he can make a lot of money by lending out fifty and hundred dollars so I tell him no good and he comes around with his brother and I knew his brother from being in Sing Sing Prison with him. He was the guy that was in the dormatory bathroom when I got cut on my left side and he tells me that he is got a guy that
- 429 -
is in a jam with his dress shop. He had the shop on 133 Street in the Bronx and being I was looking to get away from Bobby I got in the car and I went with the both brothers and I looked the man over and I see he is an honest man and he needs about seven hundred dollars very bad. I did not talk about getting in with him with the factory I figured I'll give him the money and then I will be looking him over as I'll see him now and then and I also give the other guy the five hundred dollars.
Now with the numbers we go off the fix track and we go to the NYC tracks as there you cannot do any business and we start to lost money with the numbers and now we are only getting our pay but no bonus at the end of the month. Now Bobby is getting out of control and he goes to White Plains and he does the same thing he done once before he gambled away everything so I quit and I don't want anything to do with the horse room.
Tom Dewey the Special DA that they were talking about gets into office and there is a lot of rumors around. All the talk you hear is Dewey is going after the numbers and Dewey is going after this and that. Now I get the guy that I gave the five hundred by this time I had gave him about 25 hundred dollars. He had some kid with him and the kid was telling me that Yap is acting funny and that he is going crazy since he got together with me. I keep my eyes on him and I notice that he is always prespiring
- 430 -
and I started to get worried so I put a man with him and I want to know where all the money is laying so if anything happened at least I'll know where all the money lays. Sure enough he goes crazy and he gets in a fight with two cops and he gets away and he almost kills his gal, but they catch up with him and he goes to the bug house and he stayed there for a long time. That's how I wind up in the shylocking business by this time Matty the guy who is got the factory owes me about thirty five hundred dollars. He talks to his jobber and his jobber wants to talk to me so he tells me when the jobber goes to his factory he will call me. The jobber comes to the factory and Matty calls me and I get into my car and I drive to the factory and I meet the jobber and he seems to be a very nice man. All I remember is that his name was Hirsh and I don't remember his first name nor where he had his jobbing business. So he tells me that he can give Matty plenty of work and the same style every week for a couple of years. He tells me that he don't belong to the union and he is afraid that giving Matty work will put him into trouble as he gives all of his work out of town so that the union will not catch up with him. Matty tells me that you know a lot of people down into the garment district so I asked him ain't you giving Matty any work now. He said I sneak Matty a lot every now and then but I am afraid but if you know the people down there and you think that I won't get into
- 431 -
trouble then I will give you all the work you want. I don't do much he said he said that he is a sick man and he is satisfied so long as he makes a living. So I told him that I will let him know. I told him in a week he will have his answer so I went and see one of the Dio brothers or Jimmy Doyle, I don't remember which one. It did not make any difference as Johnnie Dio is Jimmy's nephew so they told me as long as you stay up in the Bronx that I won't have anything to worry about. It is rough to have a shop downtown. So I assured him that I will stay up in the Bronx and Jimmy asked me whom was I going with. I told him a guy named Matty. Jimmy said I know Matty - that guy knows his business but you got to watch him he said he likes to play the numbers. He plays five, six hundred a week.. Oh God I said does he ever win. Yes Jim said once in a while and when he does he don't get paid. Well I go and see Matty and I confront him with the gamble habit that he has. He admits it and he said that he will stop so I tell him don't you know that I am in the numbers business and I tell him that the numbers are fixed just to discourage him. He promised to stop. So I tell him that I don't care so long as he bets his own money but I don't want to see you losing your money as you have a fine family. By this time I had met one son and two of his daughters and his wife. His wife was so discouraged that she did not want to talk about the gambling. Now we get together and I put
- 432 -
more money in the factory and he is working hard and we are drawing 75 dollars a week and I am taking a hundred dollars a week towards the money I got invested in the factory to stay away from everyone I started to hand out in the factory and I was cutting threads from the garment after it was finished. It going that way for at least 6 months and the numbers are going bad as it is summer time and all the fix tracks are closed and we are booking from the New York City tracks and all we are drawing is our weekly pay and Bobby is always looking to split, by that I mean that he is always looking for money. When he takes we all take, the 60 thousand bankroll that we had it down to about 23 thousand. Now we have a nut and we must win if we break even with the work we lose because the pays and the ice with what he had must come out of the business. Now we have a tough mob going around and they are from the Bronx and this mob stuck up Bobby Doyle up in the Bronx. We used to hand out on Tremont and the Boulevard in a coffee shop and in a restaurant on Tremont. We used to spend a few hours up there every day until the work got in. We had all the number business along this neighborhood. One night Bobby was in the coffee shop and it was at night late. I was not around when they stuck Bobby up. They asked where is the money man, Bobby did not answer them. Now one of the Jew partner that we had, his name was Moe Block was telling me the next day how tough these
- 433 -
guys are and that I should be careful as they were asking for me so I said I know they asked for the money man how do they know. Well Moe I want to warn you be careful and don't say how tough they are or you find yourself being accused for working with them. I notice you are impressed with these guys. Moe we don't tell you anything we can handle any mob in the city. These guys come and go we don't tell you guys like you and Nick so that you don't go around talking. Now I asked Moe who is the main guy in the mob. He said a guy by the name of Harold Green and they are getting their information from one of our main controllors. I asked who is that? He said Shapiro. I looked at Moe and I said Shapiro? He said yes. No wonder he was questioning me the other day. He was telling me that he likes me I was thinking who is he to say he likes me. Moe I said I don't want to curve you, don't let him put you in trouble. Now I see this is serious if they ask you anything tell the truth don't get jammed in. They going to tell you how tough they are and you wind up getting into trouble. Joe, Moe said, I was worried. I said about what and Moe said they tell me that they have good backing and that they have machine guns and that they are going to take over the city, So I asked Moe who do they think we are so Moe said the way Bobby Doyle borrowed from the runner and he don't pay back and he is a boss naturally they think that you guys are nobody. When does Bobby borrow from
- 434 -
these guys? Moe said in the horse room. Oh God I said he preaches so well and then he does those things. Moe said please don't say anything he Bobby will have my life. I said you not kidding. Then Moe said they were not looking for you the night they stuck up Bobby. If they were looking for you they would had waited for some other night. They just said that to make it look good. You don't talk tough to them. Bobby is always throwing digs to them. He tells those stories in the coffee pot so guys think that he is telling the bull. You know how people are. I told Moe, Bobby ain't throwing any bull but I told him a dozen times not to tell stories. Even Joe Rao told him Joe told me once you know when Bobby talks he bores you. I know I said to Joe Rao, well anyway Moe be careful as they on the loser's side. Now we reach in Harlem as we came all the way from Tremont and the boys were there and when I got off the car Joe Rao asked me what is this that I hear, they stuck up Bobby up in the Bronx. I said yes. Where were you Joe asked. I wasn't around I answered. Boy Joe said we got to get these guys do you guys know them. I said yes one of our main controllor is the tipester I said. Oh God Joe said what are we going to lose a controller. I said we will work out something. We will have someone else to take his business and besides Moe knows all his runners. So Joe Rao asked me Hey Joe how is this Moe. I said Joe I just had a good talk with him he is scared to death. You know
- 435 -
Joe I said we don't tell these guys anything, they don't know who we really are so when some mob comes up like these guys, guys like Moe get scared.
Now this very night they stick up Vincent Rao, not the Vincent from 107 Street, Joe Rao's brother they are not related with the Rao from 107 Street. Anyway they stuck up Vincent Rao at 114 Street at Pleasant Ave. Vincent Rao had a bar 114 Street and he is still there today. I don't find out until the next day as after the numbers are finished I go about my business. The next day Bobby and I went to the office which was 115 Street and Pleasant Ave., and there we heard about the stick up. Now Bobby and I go and see Vincent Rao and Bobby asked Vincent Rao for a discussion of the guys and when he tells Bobby now Bobby is convinced that it was the same guys that stuck him up but Bobby don't say anything because he don't want them to think that he is looking for any help. Bobby wants them to find out for themselves. Well they found out within a week and they called up Bobby and Bobby called me and we went down and Joe Rao tells us that he thinks that the guys that stuck up Bobby are the same guys that stuck up his brother. Now to make things more positive two of them came down one afternoon and they asked for Joe Rao, but they were not the guys that stuck up Bobby or Vincent. They were from the same mob. When Joe Rao met them they asked Joe Rao if the numbers business belonged to him and they asked Joe what did Bobby
- 436 -
and Joe up in the Bronx have to do with the numbers. Joe Rao tells them that Bobby and Joe up in the Bronx are partner with he, Joe Rao. So they said they knew but they wanted to make sure. So Joe Rao asked them what was on their mind so they said we are thinking of protecting you so Joe said how. Well he said if anyone gives you any trouble we will take care of them. So Joe Rao told them that how much a week do you want and they said five hundred dollars a week. So Joe Rao asked them when do they want the first payment and they said Saturday and Joe told them that it was OK with him and they got up and they shook hands and they departed. Now Joe explained everything to us when Saturday come we were all ther but out of sight. We were all prepared but they did not show up but they called and they said that they were not coming for their first payment. As Joe Rao answered the phone he asked them why not. So the caller told him that they checked and they found out that they will get paid with lead. Joe told him he did not know what he meant and the caller told him you know right well what I mean and with that he hung up. Now we are all in a fig as to what it is all about, and we could not figure it out. Now we hear they stuck up some more friends of ours but this time it was up in the Bronx. At this holdup they told their victim that they, the holdup men are going to stickup all the bookmakers in the city. In the meantime we are trying to catch up with them as they do not
- 437 -
come on Tremont Ave. anymore. Well anyway one night I don't remember whom I was with and one of these guys was in some joint I was in. I don't remember the name of the joint but it was up in the Bronx. Now there was a friend of mine in the joint and he knew this guy and I took a good look at him and I was studying him all night and we did not talk to anyone in the joint. He was not Green or Stein. I don't remember this guy's name at all. Now I reported to the boys what happened and I gave them the name of the joint. I know it was 174 Street and Third Ave. Now they, the boys, worked on what I told them and one night Mike Copollo and some one of the boys and I were in an apartment as being we were partners in the business they took one guy from Tony Bender regime and one from Mike Copolla regime. Although we were all Charlie Lucky boys, but we, I mean Bobby and I, had different Lt. Now a phone call comes into the apartment and Mike gives us a gun apiece and he tells me that a few blocks from here you will see that guy that you saw the other night. He said don't make any mistake when we stepped out on the sidewalk there was a car waiting for us. The other guy that came with me his name was Charlie and the guy at the wheel his name was Joe. He drives a few blocks and he says that guy you know is in that Coffee Pot. So Charlie and I walk in the Coffee Pot and there is about ten or fourteen guys in the Coffee Pot. So we line them all
- 438 -
against the wall or windows as there were both, and I walk slowly and pass the guys one by one and I don't see the guy and all of a sudden I hear a click and I ran over to Charlie and I said in Italian what are you doing this ain't the guy let's go I said. The poor guy froze on the floor with his feet and he was stiff. Now we walk out of the Coffee Pot and we get into the car and we go back to the apartment and the great Mike Copolla asked me did you see him. I said no and he yell, give me that gun, so I tell him what gun you ain't getting this gun. You told me that the guy was in the Coffee Pot. Well I'm telling you that he was not in the Coffee Pot. I said something is wrong. He said what do you mean. I said I don't know what it is all about, all I know is that you told me the guy is or was in the Coffee Pot. I went there, and this guy almost killed an innocent man. Are you finished with me. He said yes so I left and when I did I left with the gun. As I say these guys suffer with some kins of something, I don't know what, but they get to believe to themselves that they God almighty. Well Mister as long as you have no jurisdiction over me you ain't nothing to me and all of you can't say that I didn't show it. I'm tired and sick of all of you if a guy ain't a yes man, you Mike, guys like you don't want to know them. See what I mean. I never spoke to you again about that incident. How did you feel when you found out that the guy wasn't there. Always looking for me to make a bad showing,
- 439 -
but whenever you were wrong you ask me to drop charges like the case of Pepe the Blind and Tony the Bum, remember Mike, you know what I'm talking about. I'll tell you some more before I'm through. Now I want to tell you something about your own guy, Charlie, how come you did not say anything to him for pulling the trigger on an innocent man. After all Charlie did not know the man but he pulled the trigger, wasn't he supposed to wait until I shoot, yet he tried to shoot. In my country when a fellow does a thing like he done it shows signs of nervousness, doesn't it Mike? But you tried to cover him by grabbing my gun. But when I went down town and I explained as to what happened he told me if I would had given you the gun he, Mike, from downtown, not Tony Bender, he would had sided in with you, but Mike from downtown told me if I handed you the gun he would had lost respect for me. Now I found out that you, Mike Copola had a guy in that restaurant and his name was Mickey and he is the one that called you at the apartment hefore we left. A few days after I made the statement to Mike from downtown you were all excited with Bobby you wanted to know who told Charlie Lucky that the tipster was in on it. You thought we were crazy but a week after this happened the tipster Mickey was shot and killed. What was he shot for? I'll tell you because he first called you to tell you that the guy was in the Coffee Shop and then he warned the guy to get out of the Coffee
- 440 -
Pot through the back and then you found out that Dutch Schultz was behind all this and Mickey was one of the Dutchman's men. See why I never cared for you guys at 116 Street you all are trying to blame someone else when you do the wrong thing. Well let me go on with my story. They got the guy that was supposed to be in the coffee shop about three weeks later and Benny Squint got one at 124 Street and Madison Ave. Benny Squint acts for you as Lieutenant while you enjoy yourself in Florida. Harry Stein hung himself in Jersey and Shapiro is at the bottom of the East River in a concrete drum. They got some more but I don't remember. Now the whole story gets out to us it was the Dutchman that was backing up these guys. He supplied them with machine guns. The real story why they came and shake down the office was they didn't know that Joe Rao and them other guys were partner with us, by they I mean the Dutchman, you see when I got the OK to book the numbers it was the ground work to instigate trouble for Ciro and the Dutchman. I'll try to explain it to you the best way I know how those boys 116 Street were on the Dutchman's payroll. Now being on the pay roll won't look too nice for them to book numbers as I already told you there was only three banks in those days. Now the Dutchman does not know Bobby and I very well and then he knew that we fought against Ciro and Charlie and Vito when I was with Marnagano and then he hears that Bobby and I were booking
- 441 -
numbers and right in the Dutchman's neighborhood in the heart of the Bronx. He went and talked to Ciro and wanted to know how come these guys are booking numbers. Ciro told the Dutchman that he should not worry because he Ciro wanted Bobby and Joe to build it up and then they would take the business of us. Of course it was not Ciro's idea, it was Charlie and Vito's idea, and Ciro had to tell the Dutchman what he was told to tell him. Now Ciro had the boys 116 Street on the Dutchman's payroll and they are supposed to help the Dutchman if there is any outlaw banks around, that's why they are on the numbers payroll. If the Dutchman would had found out that they were partners with Bobby and I they would had gotten a hemorrhage by them I mean Ciro and the Dutchman. Now I must remind you that it was not them that stuck Vincent Rao up as they had claimed from the beginning it was part of them but Harold Green did not know it until it happened. Now if you remember, when they came and they asked for Joe Rao and they asked Joe Rao for five hundred a week they never intended to come and collect. It was the Dutchman's idea to find out if the boys from 116 Street were with us or if we were by ourselves. When he got word that Joe Rao was willing to pay the five hundred he knew darn well what kind of five hundred they were going to get. Now for the first time you all know the real reason why the Dutchman got it. There has been so many
- 442 -
versions. Now you have the right one. I had gave him two strikes against him in the early part of his downfall, now I gave you two more reasons, one for killing Weinburg and the other one I just gave it to you when I say you I mean to the reader.
I meet a couple of boys from downtown and they want to entertain me and we go here and there and in the late hours of the morning they suggest that we go to Peggy Wild so I did not want to be a joy killer so I go along. When we walk in the place I hear the girls talking among themselves and I could hear what I heard very clear, they were saying to one another take care of this boys they are Charlie Lucky's boys. Well I thought that this was not a nice thing to be going around as I did not see any of the girls. I could not ask them where did they get that kind of talk as I said I did not want to be a joy killer so I kept my mouth shut. But the next day I went and see Tony Bender and I tell him what happened at Peggy Wild. I should have went and see Charlie myself but Tony didn't like it either so he said that he will see Charlie and he will tell him about it. Now whether he told him I never knew because I never saw Charlie again. It wasn't long before I heard that Charlie was at Hot Springs, Ark., and the next thing that I heard that while he was at the Ark. jail the boys wanted to go west and take any kind of chance to get him out, even if they had to stuck up the
- 443 -
guards or anyone else as they all loved him. As I understand Charlie did not want any part of such a thing. I must say that I felt bad. He was the only one who made an attempt to take care of me. I must tell the truth I said to myself it had to be Charlie why couldn't it happened to someone else anyone, I did not care who. Every time I get someone who is interested in me I lost him, who could blame me, I felt really bad. Well he goes to trial and he gets found guilty and he gets 30 to 60 years. At least that's what I think he got. Well after ten years Governor Dewey pardons him and sends him to Italy and while he was in Italy he was not there too long when he changes a rule, he sent word to the U. S. that he does not want to recognize the members in Italy and he does not want them recognized in the United States, in other words he does not want anything to do with the Italians in Italy and his reason was they are troublers and besides they work two ways, meaning they work with the police and the underworld. He was still boss all the time he was away. After he went away Willie Moore in Fort Lee, New Jersey, was acting boss for a while then they elected Frank Costello to act as boss but only acting boss until Charlie sent word in the early fifties that he had resigned and that made Frank Costello automatically Boss.
I remember it was at one of our daily Christman gatherings when Tony Bender told us we used to meet every Christmas. I will talk about it
- 444 -
later on. Now with Charlie in trouble and in jail I was in trouble with Tony Bender and Bobby Doyle. I thought that it was only Tony Bender and Bobby Doyle but it was also Vito Genovese as one of the boys in Harlem from 116 Street happened to meet Vito on Broadway in some joint and he told Vito Genovese that Bobby Doyle is giving Joe Cago a hard time and Vito Genovese answered this guy and told him to mind his own business. When the guy told me about it I hardly used to go downtown. I could tell you who this fellow was that tried to talk to Vito but it will not be fair as he is still alive and I will put the fellow in trouble. Altough this fellow won't care but greed Vito is still the boss unless we keep him in jail. God forbid if he gets out on the street there will be more blood shed. Now I'll go back to the numbers business with my friend Bobby Doyle. Now I know all this and I make believe I don't know anything, I figure as long as he, Bobby, wants to act the way he does, I remember that he caused the death of three former partners. I used to ask him about his former partner and he will tell me all about it and I will listen to him and make him think that I will admire him. What fools these power crazy guys are, it ain't not even funny. He is jealous of everything I do. I did not want to do anything wrong as I knew they were dying for me to do something wrong. I was starting to hang out with kids and now that I
- 445 -
know about the new law about the new council I told you about I did not care for anything as most of the new councilmen I knew so Bobby had a fat chance of me dogging anything, that is why I did not want to do anything wrong. I knew as long as I am in the right nothing will happen as I knew that I will get a fair deal.
I'm going to tell you just what Bobby was trying to get me at home and with his wife helping him. Everytime we went out, like we had to meet someone say like in Midtown, the first thing you know my wife will know everywhere I was and more added. Bobby's wife will put more cream on the fire. My wife compared to Bobby's wife is honest and sincere and did not belong to the same category as Bobby's wife as she was an old fox and my wife was a saint, even if she is mad at me. I must tell the truth there isn't a woman on earth that is better than her but they could equal her but not better - a lot of class - God bless her. I guess she will understand now what I went through all of my life with those mad hatters. The proof is that they still agitate.
I read an article in the Inside News or The Law Down on December 15, 1963, there was no name as to who wrote it and they stated that I killed my father-in-law, but it is published by Weekly by Parc Publishing Co., Inc. 624 Madison Ave. N.Y. 22, N.Y. I accuse this
- 446 -
paprt as working with the underworld and I'm going to tell you why I accuse them and I'm going ahead of my story being I was talking about my wife. I figured I just as well tell it now. Bobby Doyle and Tony Bender, right name Anthony Strolla, were trying to kill me legally by that I mean so they will have a case for the council. Somehow they spread a rumor to my in-laws that I killed my father-in-law but they knew that I did not. The idea of thos propaganda was to get me away from my in-laws. I knew this all the time but I could not tell my wife or the in-laws how did I know. Well is was obvious I was talking to Tony Bender once and he was telling me why don't I get away from that family, meaning my in-laws, so I asked him why and he tells me that if he told me why my hair will come off so I told him that I loved my wife and if I lose her I do not care to live anymore and he said is that the way you feel. I said yes. Good thing to know he said. Then I said you know Tony I know no fear when it comes for people to put their business into my personal affair. I said to Tony you know Tony my wife gets a lot of phone calls did you ever hear of anything like it, I said. Well he said you go around with girls and I said don't you go around with girls, he said yes and then I asked does your wife get any phone calls? He said no and then I just looked at him. Now I will explain as best I can why they accuse me of such a fantastic lie.
- 447 -
You see by me having a family, meaning my wife and her family, I will have someone who will be looking for me but if I didn't have anyone they could bury me without consulting the council. In other words, they will do it on their own. Ain't I right Bobby, I can't ask Tony as he is dead and no lost sleep on my part.
Now I will go on with my story and I will tell you later on as to who ordered Tony Bender's death and where is he. Now you see why I accuse this Paper for working with the underworld. Somehow the Gap made me meet a nice guy and his name was Johnnie Roberts. At this time they owned a night club on Broadway somewhere in the Fifties, called the Seven Eleven Club. I will be one day with the Gap and the next day God knows whom I'll be with but it was one guy or another. Johnnie Roberts is one of the sweetest guys I ever met. He used to hang out down at the Villege and he was partner with Tony Bender and he had a couple of hot spots. He owned a place called the Villege Inn and he had a couple of clubs one or two on 52nd Street on the West Side, they were located between Sixth and Seventh Ave. on the same block where Leon and Eddie's and he had a big still going for him - it was down at the Washington Market. I don't know where as you don't dare ask anyone where is he got his still. Now I
- 448 -
meet a couple of kids from the Bronx and they are very serious kids and they are about 22 years old. One guy's name Mike and the other is Paul and they ask me if I know anyone who is got a still as they would like to have the output. By the output I mean they want to buy all the alcohol that Johnnie makes and bootleggers like to give it to one man. I told them that I will let them know. So I speak to Johnnie and he tells me he is got someone so I tell him, meaning Mike, that they have someone and if anything turns up they would have me in mind. So Mike asked me if it was Johnnie Roberts that I spoke to. I asked hom how did they know and they said that they are in alcohol business and word gets around as who is operating stills. I see I said. Bobby Doyle finds out that I asked Johnnie for the output and he comes and he tells me that he can get the output so I asked how. He said that he can talk to Tony Bender and Tony will tell Johnnie to give it to us. Now you the reader would see that I can't get anything down there unless Bobby Doyle gets a piece of anything that I can make any money. I accept Bobby's offer and we get the output. When I see Johnnie in the Villege Inn and now I'm going down there a couple of times a week and Johnnie tells me I could have the output and he said Joe I'm sorry I did not give it to you the first time but he has to take orders from Tony Bender and Bobby spoke to Bender and he told me to give the output to
- 449 -
Bobby. I didn't say anything to Johnnie but I laughed to myself. I became a tough guy and got into the mob so that Bobby Doyle can shake me down. Well I make believe that I do not notice it. Now he is bagging to these two boys from the Bronx and being we stop on Tremont Ave. every day before we do downtown, as we are still in the numbers business, and Mike and Paul started to come on Tremont Ave. whenever we will be there they would call and then come over and pay us for the alcohol and Bobby will take the money and he would bring it to Johnnie. We were earning about five hundred a week as long as it would last. The numbers were holding their own and things will go that way. Every day I was taking care of the numbers and when I was through I will take care of my shylocking business. I didn't not have much but something here and something there is the way to do - that's what I thought.
Now I'm going to tell you how I worked the shylocking business.
I don't care whether anyone believes me or not but when someone came for a loan I will ask how much do you want and he will say five hundred dollars and then I would ask him how much could you afford to pay he will tell me how much do you want. I will say it ain't what I want, I don't want to hurt you, make it easy for yourself and he would say what do you usually
- 450 -
get I would say look I want you to pay what you can afford to day it is costing you a hundred dollars and at the end of the week I don't want you to say I can't pay here is ten dollars and ship me this week. Oh I see the guy will say. Gee can you make it 35 dollars a week. I will way it won't hurt you, 35 dollars a week and he will say I can pay it wasy. Now I never had any trouble and if the guy could not pay and I will pass him by for a couple of weeks. I never charged him extra and I never lost a dime and no one had to run on my account. Now you have heard all kinds of stories about shylocking but I made it a business out of it. The proof is that in all the years that I shylocked I never got in trouble with the law. After all it was not the only thing that I was doing it was side money and besides if anyone thinks otherwise they can always check with the police as the police every now and then they will tell me hey Joe everyone talks good about you. They say you are the best shylocking guy around in the long run. I was in the shylocking business and the rough ones had to stop after all once the police get a complaint they must act or the D.A. will act. I was in business for a long long time, not steady but through the years and if I needed money I will go to another shylock and borrow any amount I wanted. I borrowed from a guy 116 Street his name was Paul and he was a nephew of Willie Moore, plenty of money. All through the years
- 451 -
he will charge me 10% and I will charge 20% and I had to make good the loss. I am telling you the truth now if anyone don't believe me than you can check in New York City. I have no reason to lie I am telling you my life story and I must tell you the truth or I will look bad and I ain't aiming to look bad in the shylocking business if I could not back up what I'm telling you I son'e say it at all. After all I ain't the dumbest guy in the world. Thank you people as you have been swell to me as I received a couple of hundred fan mail.
Now I hear that Vito went to Italy and I find out that he went on the lam in the Abe Relas case and they lock up some guys which I did not know and still don't know the reason why I know is because Johnnie Roberts had a gone on 90 Elizabeth Street and I used to go there since Bobby and I had to bring money to Johnnie Roberts from the alcohol and everytime I went there I will leave word in Harlem where I was going. I didn't even know myself that I had a following and at least a half dozen guys will come down to the game when they heard that I was going to the game. I did not shoot crap but I will hang around until Johnnie came around sometimes. Bobby will stay and sometimes he would leave. Now this particular night I was there alone by that I mean there was no boss at the game around only the ...
- 452 -
help so there was about three or four Jew boys shooting crap and the way I understood they lost a lot of money and one of the guys made a mistake when he was laying down the bets. He was short six hundred dollars when he had to pay out - he misjudged his money when he had to pay out he was short. So the guy behind the stick came over to me and he said Joe you are the only one here and I don't know what to do when I found out what he was trying to tell me. I said to Jackie who are them guys, do you know them. He said yes they are with good people and they come here to shoot crap because I'm working here and they never borrowed any money. Jackie I said what can you do you got to trust them and pay out the bet for them. So he said OK. Now when Johnnie comes I explain it to him and he said I did right. He said these guys are afraid to do anything wrong. You know Tony is kind of hard on them. Well it was OK that I did it. There was no other choice. That night when these guys went home they found the cops waiting for them and they were arrested for murder and to this day I don't know who they were. All I know they were arrested in the Abe Relac case there were quite a few that were arrested and I did not know any of them, but the guy I ok the six hundred went to jail that night and he remained in jail. When I was down at the game the following night is when I found out about this
- 453 -
and Johnnie told me don't worry about it. Tony walked in the same and after he checked on the night before business he called me over and he asked me about the six hundred and I called Jackie and Jackie explained to Tony and Tony tells me don't let it happen again so I tell him did I do anything wrong if I did I'll pay the six hundred. He said no I don't want you to pay but don't let it happen again. So I did not go the game any more. Now Johnnie come looking for me as he missed them good players that were going to the game on account of me so Johnnie tells me that he will give me a piece of his share if I go down so I know Johnnie is a fine guy and I forget about it and I kept going down to the game late at night. I said to myself with Vito gone now I really got my hands full. Charlie away and I thought that at least Vito was not like Tony he will be more kind and you could not get wise unless you lived with him at the end of the road. I found out that Tony did not like Vito or Bobby Doyle. He was only taking orders as to how he had to act towards me. I will explain the whole story at the end of this story and I will explain who turned Vito against me.
Now there is one of the boys down town when I say down town I mean Thomas Street. That's where Tony hung out. Bobby Doyle calls me from down town and at this time I was on First Ave. and 107 Street as there is where we had one of the drops, by drops I mean it was where the controller
- 454 -
from the Bronx will drop off his numbers. He got me on the phone just as I was getting in the car someone called me. Bobby tells me not to move I should stay 107 Street until he gets there by the time he came I started to think what does he mean don't move so what do I do. I go in one of the joints across the street and I'm watching from behind a curtain and I watch and see who he is coming with. When I see who he came with I didn't know what to do so I made him stay in front of the poolroom where we hung out sometimes. I watch his every move. After ten minutes I crossed the street and he asked me where was I. I told him what's the difference I'm here what is it. He started to say you know what happened to Eddie Starr. I said no. He said last night they cracked his head wide open and I said who did it and he asked me do you know the Wackie Brothers. I said yes they are with Vinc Rao, 107 Street. They are in the numbers business and they turn all their work to Vincent Rao and I don't know what Vincent Rao does with the work. Now you must know that Dutch Schultz is dead and Ciro Morello is dead too. He died in bed, he lived in Pelham Manor, one of the best spots in Westchester County and the numbers are running wild and there is no more three banks, it is spreading everyone is going in business, but the guy who fixes the numbers is still alive and besides Gov. Dewey is around and things were a little tight. Bobby said you,
- 455 -
Tommy Rye and Johnnie D. will go after the Wackies. I said I don't know where to find him. He said Tony wants you to take personal charge and you must do it in 24 hours. We don't want it to cool off. I said you know how I stand with Tommy Brown. How come you all elected me so that I make hard feeling with Tommy Brown. He said Eddie is dying so I said why me I don't want to be responsible for this thing. He said you not going to kill him and I said what am I supposed to do. He said give him a beating. I said OK where is he. I don't know he said you would have to find him. I said OK so I asked Tommy Rye for his Phone and he gave it to me. Now you know how I felt about Johnnie D. he is the one who walked out of the car when Crazy Chuck sat in my car on Lexington Ave. I did not even look at Johnnie D. Well we parted and I went on my way the next morning I get a phone call very early in the morning and the voice said come down right away come 115 Street and Pleasant Ave. I want to talk to you. So I asked who it was and he said Fat Tony. Now Fat Tony is with Mike Copolla and I am close to Fat Tony. Now I must explain the strategy of what was going to happen to me. Fat Tony asked me if I was looking for the Wachie Brother. I said I was and he said which one and I said what's the difference I was told the Wackie Brothers. Then Fat Tony tells me that he is doing business with the Wackie Brothers and I said I
- 456 -
thought that they give their work to Vincent Rao. Yes he said but they give him a part of it.. Oh I said they are cheating on Vincent Rao. He said yes. Go ahead I said what's on your mind. He said today at two o'clock I'm going to meet one of them as we settle once a week.. He said I'm going to meet him at 97 Street on Third Ave. at two o'clock sharp. Now he will be five minutes late so he can give me a chance to get him. Now Tony tells me this is between you and I. It must be a secret that we must carry to our grave. After Tony left me I started to think how did Fat Tony know about this. I was to make believe that I could not find the Wackies but now I'm stuck. It looked funny to me. One of Mike Coppola's men come and gives me a tip. I wondered if Tony Bender knew anything about Fat Tony giving me the tip. Now I knew something is wrong. Well now I remember the Sunday before I had met Tommy Brown in the Vascuvia Restaurant on 48 Street right off Broadway and as I walked in with my wife and I see Tommy Brown sitting at a table with his wife and a couple of Jew boys, but business men I had no choice but to go to Tommy's table as my wife and Tommy's wife are very close friends, not Tommy but his wife asked us to sit down at the table. We sat down at the table and we ordered something to eat as we had just come out of a show. He acted
- 457 -
so bad that his wife was blushing. Tommy was turning his back on me and making himself busy. It was so bad as I looked at my wife and she asked me with her eyes if I wanted to leave before the food came. Well I saw that she was also embarrassed so I got up and asked for the check and Tommy asked me if I was going. I did not answer him and I asked the waiter for the check again. When I ignore Tommy he turned around and I got my check and I left without eating. So I told my wife it looks like we cannot go on Broadway any more. I said from now on we go to a show and we go and eat elsewhere. Everytime we go on Broadway we meet one guy or another. We used to meet Bobby Doyle in Freddie's Restaurant on 46 Street and it is very embarrassing when you meet a friend and the wives know one another there is always a fear that the wife may say something to the friend's wife. But I'm sure my wife will not say anything to Bobby's wife as by this time we knew Bobby's wife real good. In plain English we were scared of her and we did not even want to go out in their company any more. Well my wife asked me if I did any thing wrong. I said you don't need to do any wrong someone will do it for you. She said you not kidding. My wife and Tommy's wife used to pal out with Bobby's wife one time that’s before we got married, but I did not break this
- 458 -
up as they broke it up way before I came around. Of course Bobby's wife broke it up with her yelling all the time my Bobby, my Bobby. What a team of phonies, no one will ever match them. So I called Tommy Rye and I met him and Johnnie D. about one o'clock that afternoon. They did not ask me how did I find out. I just told them where he is going to be. Now I asked Tommy what did he intend on doing. He told me I got ordered to hit them hard across the legs with the baseball bat. He said that they have two of them, one for him and one for Johnnie and none for you he said so I just looked. Then he said you Joe you don't do anything because you are in charge and beside we don't know who they are. Now as we had an hour on hand we got in the car. I don't remember whose car we used. We got in the car and we drove toward 97 Street but we took Lexington Ave. down because First Ave to Third Ave. is where one might meet them and if they saw me they will not keep their appointment with Fat Tony. I'm sorry Tony I have to expose you as you did not know what I went through after this was done as I write you will understand how the bosses use us for their own purposes. Now I asked Tommy what happens with Eddie Starr and he started to tell me the shole story. He said the Wachie Brothers and Joe Palisades went down to Eddie Starr where he stays and
- 459 -
as Joe Palisades knew Eddie he asked Eddie to call a couple of girls as being it was a Saturday night they were out to have a little fun. Well Eddie made a couple of phone calls and he could find no one at home also because it was saturday night but Eddie was no pimp it was because he knew where to find them, being he was always hanging out in midtown. He tried and he told them that he was sorry that there was no one at home no matter whom he called. Now they thanked him and they departed. A few hours later they came back they were more drunk and again they asked Eddie to call up for some girls and again he tried and again there was no one home. This time one of the Wackie Brothers pick up a heavy marble table lamp and struck Eddie across the forehead and the way Tommy described his forehead was wide open. They called him a pimp so and so. Now I don't know what Joe Palisade had to say. I am sure that if we don't get Wackie Joe would had had a lot of explaining to do. In other words, Eddie was right and from right we get wrong for taking the law in our own hands. Anyway two o'clock came and there was one Wackie brother and Vincent Rao's nephew Big Rocks came strolling along the Ave. and they were looking all around as they were walking. We jump out of the car and I ran toward Big Rocks and pulled him by the arm and he told me what are you doing and I said stay here while Wackie was getting a
- 460 -
beating and I asked Rocks you mean to tell me that you don't know what they done - I meant the Wackie Brothers, Before you know it we were leaving and we headed for down town and we drove to Thomson Street and there we saw Tony Bender and Sandie, now Sandie was Tony's legal adviser in Cosa Nostra, and he remarked when he heard what Tony Bender had ordered. I don't know he said I don't like this. I hope you know what you are doing. Now Tony tells me to stay away for a day or two and I tell him I'm staying away for a week. I don't want to give them a chance to take a shot at me. Now in a few days Bobby Doyle comes and look for me and he is telling me that I must take the rap I said for what and he said Tony Bender is in a lot of trouble. I felt like saying good but I said no good and he said why when I said I don't like the set up. Now you Bobby you got your satisfaction, you were jealous all the time because Tommie and I got along. Now you want me to take a rap that I never do. How in the world am I going to get away from a thing like this. In the first place I don't trust you and who ever is going to front for me. He said I tell Tony to make Mike Marando front for you. That's different I said but I don't believe you. He said how about I'll call you after Tony sees Mike. You better because I don't trust you or anyone
- 461 -
else. The only one I trust is Mike. He said OK I'll call you the next day of two Bobby got in touch with me and we went and see Mike and when he said that he will front for me then I OK the whole scheme. As this was near Christmas everything was put off until after the holidays. Now we went to Tommy's for the Christmas holidays a year or two before this thing happened and I didn't think that he would ask us over this Christmas to my surprise I came home one night and my wife tells me that Tommy's wife Kitty had called up and invited us to go to their house for Christmas. So I picked the phone up and I called Tony Bender at his house in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and I told him that we were invited to Tommy's house and he said good go ahead and go and he told me to be careful and don't drink. He said take one or two. I asked Tony not to tell Bobby Doyle anything as I was getting so sick of this man that I was thinking about doing a lot of things. Well anyway I went to Tommy's and when I got there Tommy was upstairs and they told me that he will be down in a little while. What make me mad in life is when dam fools try to outsmart you. There was a lot of whiskey on the table and Tommy's uncle and brother tried hard to let me drink. I won't mind if it was a real wise guy but guys that never done anything in their life want to out smart a guy that got a lot of hard knocks in life. Well I had a drink or
- 462 -
two and then I asked for a cup of black coffee. Really they did not mean any harm by them wanting me to drink they just wanted me to clear myself with Tommy if they only knew how I wanted to tell Tommy the whole story but for Tommy sake and my own I knew I could not tell him anything. When I went upstairs and Tommy told he could break Tony Bender I felt like hopping with joy but I knew different. I tried to make Tommy understand that he knew me well and he knew that I did not like cold shoulders but he made it go over his head. He did tell me that I did not need to find Wackie but I could not tell him that they made it their business for me to know by having Fat Tony call me at home and Fat Tony did not have my phone number so I figured that Bobby Doyle gave him my phone. Naturally I had to make Fat Tony believe that he was a friend because I knew that they would ask Fat Tony how did I take it. That's why I am exposing him. Now I have no one to account to. Now Wackie should know if he had an appointment with Fat Tony at 97 Street and Third Ave. that particular day when he got hit they are both still alive. By me not wanting to tell Tommy anything I'm going to tell you the reason Bobby Doyle and Tommy Rye made me understand if Tommy Brown presses the case against me then they are not
- 463 -
going to take it sitting down and I knew they meant it so I feel that I did the right thing but ig I knew that Tommy will listen to me I would had said Tommy if I tell you the truth will you take me back with you but I knew it meant trouble and I say again I did the right thing. After Christmas they had a table and I was there and the other two guys were not even mentioned always the one in charge get the rap. Well I must say that Tommy did not press but all his boys were very cold to me ever since. Now Tommy here is the payoff. This is going to shock you I know it. Bobby Doyle and Mr. Bender, Strolla right name, started to scheme against me after they were through with the table they had on 14 Street. Bobby Doyle spoke to my sister-in-law Rose, I mention her name because she died about a year ago - Lord have mercy on her soul - and tonight I'm going to say a prayer for her. He talked with her for seven hours in a restaurant and he was telling her a lot of lies about me. Trying to get her to say things that will hurt me because he felt he did not have enough to bring me on charges for taking the law in my own hands when we went after Wackie. If I took the law in my own hands God will help me I would had work right in their alley and besides I will never be with Tommy Rye as he is strictly for Thomson Street and anyone who is in power and Johnnie D. left me flat in the car with
- 464 -
Crazy Chuck on Lexington Ave, 110 Street, surely I will never use him. Well here is what happened after my sister-in-law spoke to Bobby she came and warn me without her phony husband knowing anything about it they had the husband downtown after he realized what they wanted him to do he got cold feet. Now when I found out about it I went downtown at two o'clock in the morning and I find Bobby Doyle and Tony Bender in a huddle and I walk in the cafe and I tell Tony that I want to talk to him and as Tony got up Bobby got up and I tell Tony and I don't want to talk to that thing, meaning Bobby, and I tell Tony that I want Bobby on charges because of him talking to women and Tony said that he would send Sandie to talk to Rose, this way he said Sandie will be a witness. Now Bobby must had gone out and got something because Jerry came running in the cafe and shouted at Tony if you do anything like this I am talking for all the regime we are not behind you we don't do things like this down here. I'm warning you Jerry told him you are on your own. I checked on these two guys down Harlem and all the boys down there are for Joe, the trouble with these two guys is that Bobby wants to be partner with everything that Joe does and what he Bobby makes he keeps for himself so the best thing you can do is break these two guys up and let them stay away from one another. They Tony told me do you want to put Bobby on the carpet. I said to highest court. Then Jerry
- 465 -
said to me Joe will you please drop everything and you two guys break up and I said yes but Jerry must I let this guy go around and talk about me and even to my own family. You right Joe Jerry said do you want Bobby to stay away from all of your family. I said yes. Then I said what will we do with the numbers and Tony answer and said you got to break it up and I said break up partnership with the guys 116 Street and he said it got to be I can't have you two guys kill yourself. I said OK with me. Well I said to myself there is a good man down here I had the highest respect for Jerry ever since and today I think he is got too much class to be down there he don't belong there at all he walks along he is always alone and when he speak he sayd Sir or Madam. I think if I would had done with what I had in mind with Bobby Doyle I would had gotten away with it. I'm sorry to speak this way as I cannot say in words what this man done to me and my family. I could sit here and write forever if I want to say everything and the heartache he caused me in fact he was the one telling Tony Bender what to do as he was brought up on Thomason St. As I will talk about the boys down there you will see that they all have the same ways by the boys I mean Vito Genovese, Tony Bender, Bobby Doyle, Tommy Rye, Joe Conti, Pete Herman, not too much Sandie, Johnnie the Bug, all treacherous that's why I never went down there,
- 466 -
I only went when they called me. Here is three fellows that they sent to the nut house Tony Wayo, Honey and Sandie but he died at home from a broken heart. Later I will tell more as I get there.
After everything was settled and my sister-in-law Rose realized that Bobby was out for no good she demanéd from her husband Sol that they mind their own business and when Bobby brought Sol to Tony Bender Sol made Tony understand that he did not want to make any complaint against Joe, so Tony Bender told Sol OK forget all about it. Now when everything was peaceful as I wrote when Jerry told Tony Bender if you go though this I'm telling you that we are not behind you. Now everything was ironed out and about a month later Tony Bender calls me and he asked me Joe that brother-in-law of yours is making a lot of trouble for you. Do you want to destroy him. I said Tony my brother-in-law can't make any trouble for me but remember sharpshooters like Bobby Doyle sit him down and tell him that I'm keeping him down and that I don't want to see him make any money and you can imagine what went on when he, Bobby, talked to them for seven hours, Now you ask me if I want to destroy him. No Tony if said I do not want to destroy him, if Sol would had agreed with them they won't be looking to destroy him.
- 467 -
Now about the numbers I must say the reason why Bobby was jealous is because I was getting along swell with Frank and the others. Now we make a meet and Tony come 116 Street. When we sit on the meet one of the boys 116 Street takes the floor and as all the partners were there he goes on to explain that Bobby and Joe are not satisfied and they wish to split the numbers business and wish to go on their own and one of them asked me is that right and I said I never said anything of the kind. Now I'm getting mad. I looked around and I notice how Tony and Bobby are going to enjoy themselves without Vito and Charlie around not that Vito will care anything about me but he had more sense than Tony, especially I will not bow whenever I saw him. Now as this is going on I am thinking by myself in my mind now that I would have no ties with anyone I would stay to myself and keep away from everyone I could had brought this up to the council if I wanted and all I had to do was say that I did not make any complaint and if Bobby wants to break it up he will take 25% of the work and he goes away by himself but as I say I was fed up with everyone and I did not care to do any more work. I was just tired of everyone so I started to hang out with nobodies and women and I had had peace of mind for a while after we broke up the numbers business. We started to book the numbers ourselves, I
- 468 -
mean Bobby and I and the Jew boy Moe. Now Tony wanted me to give Bobby all the numbers because he was worried that we might fight. I said why should I give him the numbers. I gave up White Plains, I did not mind because he brought me up there but the numbers I worked my heart out. As we are booking I got one man in the office and he is got Moe to look out for his interest. Now we are laying off some big bets as we did not want to get knocked out of business in one day. Now Tony Bender gets a connection in the clearing house and he talks to the other banks and he asked them to work from the clearing house. He tells them that he can fix the numbers and he gets Jerry Ryan from Brooklyn who is with at this time with Joe Adonis and someone else in New York which was the big banks, the bank they took away from Dutch Shultz. As Mike Coppola is in charge of this bank and Mike has a fellow named Milone running it, I told him about Milone running this bank. Of course Charlie and Vito are partners with Mike and Bobby Doyle comes up with a new runner and he wants this fellow to work in the office, right away I got suspicious so I go to the office every day and I watch my business. He tells me that Tony Bender gave him the runners. He comes in with about 300 dollars a day business so being Tony has the fix, I thought he will help us and stop some bad numbers from coming out instead we can't get the right time. Now I
started to watch. I'll call it Tony Bender work and I notice that some heavy numbers were coming in Tony Bender's work. Now I'm edging off most of the big numbers, if not all of them. One day we had 9 numbers to win and one number to lose and the one that was bad was in Tony Bender's work. Sure enough it comes out and Tony's work hit us for 18 hundred, but I hit on another bank for the same amount. Now instead of losing on the work I win, because I deduct the day play which was 300 hundred so I paid 18 hundred less 300 hundred, so I sent $1,500 to Tony's work downtown. Bobby was up the office and as we were figuring how we done on the day I tell my man to go and collect the 18 hundred I hit the other bank. Bobby looked and he asked you got rid of that number. Yes I did I answered how come you got rid of that number. So I told him not just that number I got rid of all the big plays which amounted to about 75 dollars so I still win 225 dollars from that work but I got some news for you I don't want the work anymore and he asked why. I told him no reason I just don't want it. So he said that he will bank it so I said good luck to you but you pay the man because without that work in the office I don't need him. Well we went on this way for about six months but that's all there was just the numbers between us I had a little trouble with Gene Gennini and as I told you he gave me a deal
- 470 -
on a horse room in Brooklyn and I found out that he was cheating on me in the money part of it. One day I have an argument with Gene. I must say that he was a pretty good hustle all around but when I find them crooked I don't want any part of them no matter what their ability. Maybe well any way in the heat of the argument I told him where did you come from he said from downtown. I told him I give you twenty-four hours to go back downtown. After I told him I forgot about it. Now as he is one of the guys that has been coming to the Elizabeth Street game and Tony saw him down there he, Tony, had his eyes on Jean like he had his eyes on everyone he saw me with. Well after I told Gene off that night I got a phone call from Tony Bender and he asked me if I had an argument with anyone. I said I did not. I thought of me telling Gene off but I figured that Gene is nobody and it ain't anyone's busines if I tell someone whom I am partner with off. So Tony tells me think good because I got a phone call and we got to go to Fort Lee tomorrow night. Then he tells me you know what you do. Come to the Hollywood Restaurant late tonight I be there about two o'clock in the morning. I asked him where is the Hollywood Restaurant and he asked me don't you know we bought that joint a few days ago. I said no and he tells me its on 51 Street on Broadway. I said OK. Two o'clock that
- 471 -
morning I got to the Hollywood and I find Johnnie Roberts, Bobby Doyle, Sandie and they ask me what happened and because of Bobby's presence I said nothing. I meant to mention it -- Johnnie Roberts was told to close the alcohol plant for a while and that's why I have not been going to the game. Now Tony comes and he sits me down and he tells me you had an argument with Gene. I said I did not have an argument with Gene I just told him off and whose business is it. Tony tells me that he got a phone call from one of Tom Gagaliano's guys and we got to be in Duke's in Jersey tomorrow night. I said OK. I asked what time and he tells me that he will meet me then 8 o'clock in Dukes. Now as a soldier I cannot represent myself I must have my Lt. there. The next night I go to Dukes and I find about four guys there from Tommy's outfit. Tom Gagaliano and a few more I don't remember and as I walked in Tom calls me over and he explains to me that this is not a carpet it is only to find out why you ordered this guy out of Harlem as one of his boys asked him to talk to you and let him stay around as a favor to me. Before I had a chance to answer Willie Moore come over. Willie tells me that Tony is not coming and that he, Willie, will sit for me and he wanted to know what it was all about. So I tell Willie I don't see anything wrong but Tom is explaining to me that actually it is to ask me to allow the guy to stay in Harlem as I had gave him
- 472 -
24 hours to get out of Harlem. Well Willie said to me tell me why you ordered him out of Harlem. I tell Willie the guy is my partner and I find out that he cheated on me and I ordered him out of Harlem. So Willie calls Tom Gagiliano and he tells him do you know the story and Tom said yes we can't question Joe as he is within his right but all we want to ask Joe to do us a favor and let the guy stay. So Willie asked me well what do you say. I say that I will do anything for Tom, only thing is that I don't want that anyone on that table is going to go partner with Gene because I don't like the idea of someone telling Gene that he saved him from being put out of Harlem and then go partner with him after all if we allow guys like Gene to go partner with guys like us and first they rob us and then run to another member and the other member makes him think that he saved him then there is no sense of us being members. Well Willie said what do you suggest well we go on the table and you not then will call Gene on the table and you will tell him why he is being spared from getting thrown out of Harlem. We all sat down and Willie did the talking and he told Gene that Tom Gagiliano asked Joe for a favor and Joe agreed and that is the only reason why you are not going to be thrown out of Harlem not that anyone on this table stepped in for you as you cannot run from one
- 473 -
guy to another as a guy doing a thing like this only created hard feelings. Now Joe does want to have anything to do with you and you cannot go into any partnership with anyone on this table unless you go and see Joe if he tells you Ok then you do business. So we all got up and Tom thanked me and Gene came over and said that he did not think that there was going to be any table. He thought that someone will talk to me so I tell Gene that I want to see you in Harlem I want to talk to you about something else. He said OK. Now when we meet in Harlem I asked Gene remember when you asked me to take a walk 106 Street between First and Second Ave. As we walked we notice that there was a crowd in the middle of the block and you went to investigate what happened and you told me that some guy by the name of Red got knocked off up at the roof and you asked me if I knew him and I said that I did and that he came from 106 Street, Third Ave., and that he was a nice kid. He said he remembered. Then I tell him that one of the boys came over and asked me if it was true and that I took a walk with you at 106 Street that afternoon.. In other words. you used me for an alibi. He swore that is not true, that he had a hand in the killing of Red. So I said you know that is the real reason why I told you get out of Harlem. The guy that come over to me first he asked me if | knew anything as to who killed Red and then he asked me if I know that you are in the Hop business.
- 474 -
I assured him that I did not know. Then he tells me that you had got seventeen thousand dollars worth of hop off Red two or three days before he got killed and when they asked you if you had paid that money you said you did. Now Red had a partner and his partner whoever he is tells the boys that you did not pay and he showed a book and the book showed that you did not pay. Now when I hear those kind of stories and you don't even warn me that you are fooling around with hop how did you think I would feel now I was going to say it when we were in Jersey but Tom stopped me as he told me that you did not say anything to hurt me. All you wanted was to be left alone and Tom knew all about Red and they believe you that you had nothing to do with it. Now I want to know who front for you. I know you had to have someone, Gene tells me the reason why I did not tell you anything about the hop, one is that if I told you I was worried that you will not want me around. Two he said I have a partner and he took care of everything. Oh I see then this partner is someone who is with Tom, Gene said yes. OK I said let's drop everything. Now I'm going to ask you did you have anything to do with Red murder and he said no. Well if you did not then I'm sorry but if you did I'll find out sometime. He said OK. Now one week later Gene tells me that he saw Tony Bender and that Tony Bender told
- 475 -
that anytime that you are in need of anyone just go and see him. Gene said I'm going to tell you something if you say anything I'll be in trouble. So I swore that I will not say anything and he tells me that's why Tony Bender did not come to Jersey that day he did not want to make hard feelings with me but I tell him how come he took such an interest in you how you got anything on the fire. He said that he is partner with Johnnie the Bug and maybe Johnnie is promoting something. Well I said you know what we will go to the Hollywood Restaurant and I want to show them that there is no hard feeling between us. I'll stay with my little shylocking and the shop and the few machines that I got and don't get into anything else. I did not mention the numbers as I don't depend on them any more. Now I made up my mind that I will hang out with none members these are the boys that I am going around. Gene brought a guy around by the name of Vinnie and Johnnie the Boy. So we will all meet in the Hollywood and I was getting closer and closer with Johnnie Roberts. Now someone asked me for a loan while I was in the club and Johnnie heard me say to the guy that I did not have the money he wanted two thousand so Johnnie called me on the side and handed me the money and I gave it to Curly Top as that is what they called him because he had no hair. Curly Top asked me how
- 476 -
much a week and I told him make it convenient for yourself and Curly said OK we will not set an amount I will pay what I can afford to pay he said is it OK with you. I said fine Curly was a bookmaker and he was one of the best customers I had. Now Johnnie asked me how much did I have on the street I told him that I did not have much, He asked me again how much so I told him about nine or ten thousand and as Johnnie owned horses he asked me if I wanted to go to the track as he had a horse runing the next day. I don't remember what track but it was one of the three tracks. I told Johnnie that I will meet him there and I did but I took along Gene and Vinnie and we did OK. Now we are out to celebrate the winings and we went to the Hollywood and we were spending most of our winings at the bar. I started to drink champagne cocktails. Then we left the Hollywood and we went to the Villege Inn and there we met Tony Bender and after we were there a half hour or so he called me on the side and he tells me that he likes Vinnie and I should not educate him, in other words keep him dumb and don't tell him how miserable we are. Well Tony I must tell you I did tell Vinnie how miserable you were and I did educate him. I tried my best to keep him away from your miserable mob, but you won him over as you can be nice when you wanted to be. Well any-
- 477 -
way my conscious is clean. I tried if you would had let him alone he would had been in good hands today. Now before I forget I should had written what I want to tell you but it slip by me and I better tell you now before I go any further. First I want to tell you about the first guy Vito Genovese and company sent to his death from aggravating Tony Wayo that is the only name I knew him. Now as Bobby Doyle told you stories about me and the only story he could tell you about me was that I wanted to fight you back after they shot at the boys at 110 Street, Lexington Ave., not because of the boys of course you know that they done me no good because you put them to work in crap game and that was where they belong but you could not put me in any crap game because if I wanted to work in any crap games I would not need to become a tough guy to work in crap game let me explain to the reader what I mean by a tough guy, a man that joins the Cosa Nostra and after he joins he is supposed to be a man not a lob for you Vito and company where were you when we fought Joe the Boss and his mob. I know where you were, sitting back and see who will come out on top. You don’t mind if I tell the reader the truth do you because they think that you earned your power, they don’t know that most of the boys that helped civilize this mob and got rid of the bad men, men who will kill
- 478 -
a man and then take his wife, men who would only think about money, men who live on the poor soldiers while you sit back and have plenty of time while the soldier is too busy stepping on every bodies toes no matter how wrong he is so long as you are behind him the book of rights is thrown in the river. As long as you have a piece of whatever it may be.
And they don't know that you want men that did not earn their buttons. Let me talk the way they talk so that I will feel at home. They don't know that you put aside good men because they won't go out and hustle for you because they feel they done their share. They don't know that you look for young blood the way you told me in Atlanta. You remember when you said what were you doing with Champ Segal he is old and what can you get out of him and Ralph Wanger was there when you said it. I'll tell you plenty about Ralph at the end of this book. We see what kind of a good judgment you have about men what do you know about men. All you know is money. Well Vito when you spoke that way you forgot that you yourself is an old man and I'm old but when someone calls you an old man you get mad. Why Vito? Tell me why. They don't know that after a soldier gets old as you say you put him on the side if he got money he is alright, if he ain't then he is out of luck. They don't know that you don't sleep at...
- 479 -
you made Tony Bender and how Tony Bender used to serve you like you made Dominick the Sailor Lt. What happened Vito you took him out and you put Patty Rye, Tommy Rye's brother, in place of Dom the Sailor. Did Dom the Sailor earn it? Did Patty Rye earn it? Did Tommy Rye earn it? Tell us about it. Tell us how they earned it. We want to listen. Tell us you ought to know you know everything, don't you tell us how you have men killed and they say that they were rats because you got to say that they are rats because of the council. You don't want a bad name do you? Of course not. Tell us who did Steve Francis rat on the partner you had at the 181 Club. Telus. You don't want to say the truth you don't want to say that you blame him for your wife Ann's doings.
Your wife Ann was a good woman Vito you are too much of a nagger you know what I mean. Tell the Chin how you were mad because he missed Frank Costello and then how happy you were when you made up with Frank Costello because he knows people. I can tell you now you did not need to shoot Frank to become boss - all you had to do was call Frank and tell him that you want to be boss he would had gave it to you. I'm surprised at you. I really am. You make so much noise.
Now I'll tell the readers how you sent Tony Wayo crazy. You put him on the side although you knew he was a good man. You put him
- 480 -
on the side for fear he may go out of hand and he used to sit in the Thomason Street office and you let him meet all the new boys but you never made him a member. How come Vito: You were afraid he might get some power. Vito do I know Tony Wago? Of course not, your friend Bobby Doyle told me all about him. Now you see I never told you anything about what Bobby Doyle told me about your mob that I joined. He told me all about you enough to run and then he will come and tell you everything that I will say and he will add plenty. You see how smart you are you didn't care how anyone feels you are the power but I hope to take care of your power and throw it in the river and I'm going to try my best to break up that mob of yours and let the Americanized boys alone. Now I want to warn Anna that was Vito's wife and as she stood up for me when I married and I find her a wonderful person - I want her to know that Vito is having her tailed so be careful.
Anna he loves you but he ain't got the guts to come and let you know how he feels. He is worried as to what the mob might think. He must keep his pride. He asked me in Atlanta if I ever heard anything about his wife. I told him I did not. He was happy to hear it. Anna and he was crying. Anna what did he do to you? I remember when you told me that night when we went out the four of us that if Vito tells you that it is
- 481 -
raining and you knew the sun is out you will believe him. You loved him so much what happened Anna, did he kill your love the way he killed mine. In the end of this story I will tell you what he did to me and how he killed my love for him. I'll give you a hint now then I will tell you the rest in the end of this story. I'll only tell you that he listened to two rats one had his name, he was Vito Agueci and the other was Ralph Wagner. I will tell you all about them and let me tell you another thing, you remember we talked how smart he was well, Anna, he ain't smart any more I lived with him for a couple of months. I ought to know. Now I'll go on with my story.
We were going to the race track every day and we will meet in the Hollywood Restaurant. They had a fine show and we got to know all of the girls. I never saw eight girls so evenly matched all the same size and all about 5 feet three or four and all pretty than dolls. One of the used to play Sadie Thompson and she used to do it with Billy Vine. He was a wonderful comedian. I don't see or hear about him anymore and I don't hear about Bert Froman any more either. My friend Gene had a girl and I had met one girl but she did not come from the Hollywood, she came from the 19 hole down in the Villege and Johnnie and Tony also owned this...
- 482 -
Club of course Vito was in Italy at this time so I don't know if he had any thing to do with it. This girl I met she meant nothing to me we were just friends. Now this particular night we met in the Hollywood that Vinnie, Gene and myself. Being it was early we decided to go to Phil Cronfield and we wanted to get some clothes. All I wanted was a couple of pair of slacks. Phil had a pair of slacks for me and it cost 125 dollars. They were imported. I don't remember just where they came from but I'm pretty sure it was England. As I was trying them on in the clothes room I noticed two men were fooling around the clothes racks so I put the pants on the side and I went and warn Vinnie and I knew he was out on parole. I told the boys to drop everything and I told Phil that I want the pants and I gave him 25 dollars and I told him to put them on the side and Vinnie did not take anything. Gene disappeared as he heard me say something. We go back to the Hollywood and we ain't there no more than fifteen minutes when the parole people came down at the Hollywood and they grabbed Vinnie and they were looking around in the club. I had sat down with some girl in the dark and they didn't see me, then I went out and I went to the Villege Inn.
Now one night I was sitting in the car with Tony Bender on McDougal Street and Johnnie Roberts passed us and as Tony had his lights on we could see them very clear. Tony remarked to me that guy is got some nerve.
- 483 -
Ain't that the girl you were sitting with in the Inn the other night. I said yes and he tells me that's no good and I said Tony Johnnie and I get along very well and I come from the old school in my time we never let a girl stand in our way and besides she is only a friend. Well anyway let me make it short - always looking to make trouble. Johnnie married this girl and I can't say that I wish him luck as Johnnie is dead. The next day I find that Vinnie went back to prison for violation of parole. Although we are not doing anything I am paling around Gene but only at nights. I am still going to the track but I'm going with two guys from the Bronx. I have a good man and he is a handicapper and he works for a certain newspaper, I will call him Gaf, he is a great man for two year olds and we are not playing every race. When we had nothing to play I will bet a ten dollar bill and just watch the race. Gaf had good connection with the best stables but he had his connection with the stable boys but he was a good friend of Frank Byers and Frank was a trainer. He also had a stable boy in the George D. Widner stable, Max Hirsh, and a couple of other stables. He will go to the track very early in the morning and he will get all the real workout of the horses. I must explain this to the reader you see most of the trainers hide their horse's ability they don't want the newspapers to get the real workout of their horses so Gaf had his clocker and he pays them so much
- 484 -
at the end of the week and he gets the true workouts. Say a certain horse may work for three-quarter of a mile in 113, now 113 means one minute and thirteen seconds, but he will give the newspapers guy a ten dollar bill and he will tell him to put 116 in the papers, but Gaf will have the right work and when the horse is entered in a race and he is in his right company we bet on the horse seven out of ten will win or get beat a head. I used to bet them to win and for third when Gaf went good I will bet pretty good and when he went bad I will slow up as I could tell by this time whether he was going good or bad. Any way I knew how to watch myself and Gaf used to tell me that I was one of the smartest guys he had ever met because he knew I used to bet time he used to tell me that time did not mean anything but I will tell him as far as two years-olds I will listen to him but if we did not have a tip on a horse in the race I will see what Gaf gives me and then I will look at his time of his last couple of races if I didn't like him I won't play him. One day there was a champ sprinter, I can't think of his name he was a three-year old and he was never defeated and every time this horse ran Tony Bender would come to the track and make one good bet and when the race was over Tony will leave. Any
- 485 -
way the boy in the barn, I'm not sure if it was Max Hirsh's barn or Widener barn, well any way, the kid said that today we are going to beat the champ and when this kid tells you something about a horse you had to listen to him so I asked him who is the horse that is going to beat the champ, he said Harvard Square. Oh boy I said he is eight to one then the kid said he will beat him right in the middle of the stretch and he pointed. So I ran to Tony and I told him that the champ is going to get beat today and Tony said who said it and as Tony knew that I was getting good stuff. I told him and he said I came here just to bet on the champ, he won't pay much if the champ win but Tony bets heavy and when you bet heavy one does not care how much the horse is going to pay. Well Tony said I must listen to you that is a nice price and those people know what they are doing. I said that's right and we can't even dispute him because Harvard Square is his first time out this year so the race comes up and they off and running and the champ takes the lead and Harvard Square is running second and that is the way they are running until they come in the stretch, the champ is in front about a length and Harvard Square comes on the outside right in the middle of the stretch and passes the champ and Harvard Square wins and the boy that gave us the horse is standing there in front of me with his arms folded with a smile and I say to him just the way you said, he
- 486 -
said the boss has been planning to beat this champ all season and none of his work has got out of the barn. The horse did not pay eight to one but he paid five to one and Tony had a big smile on his face and he said I'm supposed to lose but instead I'm a good winner. I was surprised that he gave me that much satisfaction.
Right after this Tony called me in Jersey and he asked me if I want a third of a booking that he has a piece of. He told me that he is partner with a guy by the name of Bennet. Now I knew this fellow and I also knew that he was a sharpshooter so I tell Tony - I tell him that this guy is very sharp and I'll go with him at the track but I don't want to book certain bets as I tell Tony that at the track guys give you bets the last minute so that you won't have time to put any money in the machine, they feel by a bookie putting money in the machine knocks the price down on a horse and big betters are very sensative about such things, to a big better a point means a lot, for instance, if a horse is seven to five and by a bookie putting say a couple of thousand in the machines that horse will drop to six to five and the bettor loses a dollar on every five dollars that he bets on this horse and a couple of thousand dollars means a lot to him, it adds up. That is the reason why the track has a lot of trouble and that's what
- 487 -
makes bookmakers at every track even at the dogs track and that goes for the trotters too, in fact they have more bookie at the trotter than on the flats.
So I get together with Bennet and we start to book. He will let me know every horse that he had money on. Now when I knew something, say Gaf told me about number 4, I will say to Bennet be careful and let me know how much you have on number four, he will say like he had five hundred on four. Then I will tell him to put the five hundred in the machines. Now someone might think why did he accept the five hundred, well you can't ask a bettor to play everything in the ract but you don't want him to play 4. First of all you will be putting the bettor wise that you know something. The best thing is to take the bet and get rid of it by putting it in the machines but you must not let the bettor know that you put his five hundred in the machines, if he the bettor finds out that you put his money in the machines you will lose him and he will go and tell everyone that you put his money in the machine and the bettor will figure why bet and take a chance to be arrested with that guy when he puts your money in the machine. Now by putting the five hundred in the machines and the number four wins. You collect for the five hundred from the machine and you will pay the bettor off but we win on every other horse that we had bets on and we
- 488 -
call that a good race for us. Now Mr. Bennett done every thing I asked him to do. In about ten days we were winning about nine or ten thousand dollars. Not too much but everybody was losing, by everybody I mean the other bookies. As the player were getting pretty good information one night the speed boys had a horse running in the last race, his name was Taptan and I went and see the main fellow, his name was Joe. I asked him how did they like their horse and he told me that he didn*t think that they could beat the Jacob's entry. One of the entry was a late scratch and only Bright Gallant was running and the odds on Bright Gallant were six to one and Taptan was two to one. Let me tell you that the speed boys did not tell everyone the truth but they always told me the truth because every time I heard something I went and told them and I gave them plenty of winner. I had told them about Harvard Square. I rush to Mr. Bennett and I tell him all about Bright Gallant. I tell him that I think that Taptan is a stiff meaning that they are not going to try and win with him so any bets on Bright Gallant I don't want. So please let me know if you get any money on Bright Gallant he said Ok. Now he gets a lot of money on Taptan and another horse in the same race, his name was Grand Pal. I will never forget this race because this is the race that made us split up partnership. Up to the last minute I stood by Mr. Bennett. Now as the horses break
- 489 -
and they off and running. He made believe that some one called him on the side and he said to me that this guy just gave him a pretty good bet on Bright Galant. I asked him how much and he said a thousand dollars. I almost took a fit. He said to me what are you worrying about Grand Pal jumped to a six length lead. I tell him what are you kidding. What do you think I don't know who Bright Gallant is. It was a long race one mile and an eight and Bright Gallant breaks slowly but look out for him in the stretch. Taptan broke last. Well Grand Pal stayed in front all the way and when they came around the stretch turn Bright Gallant was running third but in the middle of the stretch he passed Grand Pal and another horse like Grant took Richmond amd Bright Gallant wins easily. The same night I call Tony and I tell him that I want to see him and he tells me to come out to Jersey and he will meet me in Duckes Restaurant. I get there about 9 o'clock that night and I tell Tony the whole story and he tells me that he was glad that you were on your toes. He said he is got that kind of reputation you know what we do Tony said we gamble with the winner and we will quit so he called Bennett over and he was about to tell him what we decided to do but I spoke up and I said Tony I have no more interest can I pull out while I am ahead. OK you want it that way. He asked Bennett how much are we ahead. So Bennett tells him that he had paid the ice for
- 490 -
the month and that he had not put it down on the expense, so Tony said take out the expense and give me what you have left. Tony told Bennett that Joe wants to pull out because of the Bright Gallant horse so Bennett tells Tony Gee I can't help it if a guy gives me a horse in the last minute. Well Joe wants out, he ain't mad. Then Bennett asked him what about you Tony are you pulling out too so Tony tells him yes. So I got about $1,500 for my share. Now let me tell you why Bennett put that bet in on us. He knew the speed boys give me good information so here is the way I figured and Tony agreed with me, he, Bennett put that thousand dollars on Bright Gallant to win the winning all for himself. That is the way some of these guys are they can't help it they have larceny in their system.
The following Saturday the same horses were in the same race together with the exception of Grand Pal. I want to see the speed boys and this time they told me to bet on their horse Taptan and he was 4 to 1 against Bright Gallant. Bright Gallant was the favorite at 2 to 1. Taptan took the lead the he went all around the track all by himself and I had a pretty good bet on him. That's horse racing for you.
Now as I talk about horses let me go back and see how my other businesses are doing. The numbers aren't doing too well and we are about
- 491 -
to break it up, the pinballs are out and my shop is going and I am getting my 75 dollars a week. My shylocking is going pretty good and Johnnie Roberts gave me some more money and from the looks of things he is interested and he told me that he may go partner with me. I am going to all of Johnnie's night clubs. Now he owns another club the Black Cat. Johnnie has four night spots. Of course you know the four of them clubs, the Hollywood Restaurant, the Villege Inn, the 19 Hole and of course the Black Cat. Now when I meet Johnnie I go along with him from one club to the other. He wants to see how they are doing but of all the clubs the Hollywood is the worse. It is the best club but people just did not have any money. He had the club on the air but no matter what he did it just wasn't doing any good and Johnnie was telling me all about it. The boys that I know are coming at the club almost every night and at least they are keeping the bar busy and most of the girls in the show are drinking with them at the bar, Johnnie tells me how he appreciate it and I feel good about it.
Now I want to get something out of my system. I want to tell the reader about a detective Lt., I heard that he spoke on the Jack Parr Show, I did not see it. I want to express my feelings about him as I understand
- 492 -
that he said that there is no Cosa Nostra and that I did not say anything that he did not know. I want to tell him first he ought to be arrested and second why didn't he with all his medals make an arrest. Let me tell you why he should be arrested, he is misleading the American people and how can he take authority of tell such a story, is he a former member or did he get paid for his phony information he told the innocent public. First I want to tell him that he thinks that what I told is the only things that I said but was he in the private sessions. Of course not, which shows that he was not big enough. I also want to tell him about one member who is now in Italy his name is Mr. Gentile and is about 84 years old. Then I want to tell him about a Don Alfonso, another member, and I am still got another member, his name was Tough Tony Anastacia. I'm telling you about him because he is dead or I would not expose him, the other two I mention. I'm telling you about them because they are in the government's hands. Now Mr. Detective, I understand your name is Biaggo or Biazzi, whichever it is, did you know about these three. No of course not. Do you think that you are smarter than the Attorney General or Mr. Hundley. The Attorney General, Chief Racket Boss, of course not. Do you think that they keep me under close watch because I told them what
- 493 -
they already knew. Now you see why I say you ought to be arrested. You are the one that told the American people a phony story and misleading, but I promise you that in the near future that you will be the laughing stock for appearing on that TV program. Now Mr. Detective I got some more news for you - there are two more members that are talking but I cannot tell you these men's names because they are still helping the government and they are afraid to appear the way I did but they are corroborating with me and I like to tell you about the neighborhood where you are working. You ought to be ashamed to make such statement. I was brought up in that neighborhood and there has been nothing but corruption from my experience in that neighborhood. You give me no choice but to think that you are trying to keep things going for your own profits. All through the years that neighborhood has been murder after murder committed. Now I want to ask you how many did you solve, please let me know, I am interested and I am also interested in meeting you and I will like to debate with you and I am sure that I can educate you on TV if you care to protect your phony story. I am always ready for you.
Now I go on with my story. Everything is peaceful since Charlie L. put in the council and every one is trying to make a dollar and with Vito in
- 494 -
Italy Tony could not get the right time. In fact Willie Moore Moretti asked him to stay away from Duke's Restaurant in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Duke's Restaurant was Willie's headquarters and any carpets that came up were held in Duke's Restaurant and that will be the only time that I will go there. One time I had to meet Tony Bender there in Duke's. Tony Bender lived only a stone throw from Duke. He also lived in Fort Lee. While sitting in the restaurant waiting for Tony, Willie walked in and he said to me, what is it another carpet. I said no I am waiting for Tony, with that Tony walked in the restaurant and he sat down and he ordered some coffee. I forget why I had to meet Tony for as I'm sure it was not important but any way Willie looks at me and he said out of the clear blue sky, Hey Joe tell us when you almost got me during the trouble in 1930. Well he did not shock me because he was known to be that way. I laughed and said Willie I was not there but I was in the apartment when the boys left to go out and get you. He Willie said I thought you were there. No Willie I was not if I was there I would tell you after all you were all out to get us so we were out to get guys like you. Then he said if you were not there then who was. I tell him that when they left I wish them luck as I had to go some where else but now I don't remember who was there but I do know what happened. Willie asked me what happened, tell me and he was laughing. I was
- 495 -
laughing too. Then I tell him, Willie it seems to me that I am taking very serious ever since that trouble. Willie first let me tell you one thing as long as we are on the subject, I think we done you a lot of good. He said how. First I'll tell you what happened in front of your house. You had a car that was bullet proof and they had a truck, is that right. He said yes. Now when you come up the hill, you remember, he said yes. Then I tell him you came up the hill from the other side not from the street you usually came, is that right, he said yes. Now the truck is faced the opposite way and they had a browning machine gun in the truck. Now by the time they straighten out their truck you took off. He said you must had been there. I said Willie I swear I was not, if I was I will tell you after all the ones that come there are sent there, they don't come there because of their own affair, so why should I lie to you. Guys like you sent other guys after us didn’t you. He said that's right. Now I'll tell you why we done you some good and what I mean real good -- today you rule but in the days of Joe the Boss you could not move and besides guys like you had to worry who was the next one was going to get it among yourselves. Now we eliminated those guys and after all the work I done my Boss goes crazy is that right? He did not answer. Then he said I guess you are right. Now look at me, people treat me as though I had started that trouble.
- 496 -
I tried to get with you. Frank is my friend, you remember, I know you are crazy about Frank and when I was living up at Van Nest Ave. he was always up my apartment and he tried to get me in with you but Big Dick won't have any part of me. What was I supposed to steal all the time. Now that it is over I am looked upon as though I am a trouble maker. Believe me Willie I don't want any part of any position, all I want is to make a living. With that we broke it up and Tony tells me that he was glad that I did not tell Willie the fellows names. I tell Tony why should I tell anything like that. All I know is they were turning heaven and earth to get us. I don't see why I don't go away. They discourage me so much. We did so much good to everybody and I got to suffer because my boss went crazy. Tony for the first time gave me a little of satisfaction. He tells me that I should kept it to myself when the old man gave me the list of the guys he was going to kill so I tell Tony I did not tell any one, only my partner. I told him also that I did not like the idea but what choice did I have. Well anyway when you feel like getting things off your chest, take a long ride and don't confide to anyone. I said to myself let me keep my mouth shut as I am afraid to breath. I could had told him well that's why a guy hooks up with a phony partner but I tell him that's why I hang out with girls and I seem to
- 497 -
bother everyone because I hang out with girls. Tony just looked. Tony asked me how did I like Johnnie Trainer. I said I did not like the way he was entering his horses. He asked me why so I tell him he seem to be putting these horses in the races over their head. Tony said he thought so too but he is a good man. I told him what good is it being a good man as when the horses are entered in the whole deal that is the time a trainer must know what he is doing. Now Tony tells me that the trainer Bernie Rich was his name has a horse in for tomorrow. He, Tony, thinks he may come out to the track. I must tell you that Tony was one of the biggest suckers for betting on horses. This was his downfall in life. When a man thinks about horses he must be a man to pass judgment on other guys when carpets come up he can't think very straight. He made a lot of boo boo. The guy that used to take care of Tony's boo boo was Sandie. Without him Tony did not know what he was doing. Well the next day I went to the track and I saw Gaf and I asked him how we done yesterday and he said we won a little but there wasn't much action. Gaf was an honest fellow and he will never cheat you. He was no Mr. Bennett. Well Johnnie's horse was in the last race and Tony did not show up. I asked Gaf how did he like Bernie's horse in the eighth race. I'm sorry it was not the last race, they had nine races going this day - sometimes they
- 498 -
have nine. Gaf said he did not like the weight of the horse. He said he could never carry much weight. The horse had won a few races and that is why he gets the most weight in the race. It was a long race I'm pretty sure it was a mile and a half. I spoke to Johnnie and I asked him how did he like the weight on the horse. He tells me that he is worried about the weight. I tell him you better worry. Now the race come up and Gaf saw the horse come up on the board 7 to 5 he calls me over and he tells me that he will like to book Johnnie's horse. I can't remember his name, he was a small little horse but he could run. I asked Gaf how much do you want Gaf said a couple of thousand of dollars so I call Johnnie and I asked him to give Gaf a bet on the horse so Johnnie said sure. He asked Gaf how much did he want Gaf asked for two thousand and he got it. Now Gaf calls me and he tells me that he is going to bet four hundred on another horse in the race. By this time Johnnie's horse dropped down to even money, Gaf said if we can lost two thousand to the race we can lost twenty-four hundred. I tell him do what you like. He said this horse has gone the distance and besides he ain't carrying much weight. There was no action to this race as the way things looked one could not bet Johnnie's horse yet one could not bet against him and players usually don't bet in this kind of race, they put a few dollars on
- 499 -
any pig and they watch the race but Gap is a good gambler and if he clicks we will win something. The race is off and Johnnie's horse goes to the front and the horses are all taking their time as this is a long race. Johnnie is on edge and he is biting his fingernails and he tells me that they bet a ton of money. He said they bet ten thousand dollars. I don't know I said Johnnie this guy Bernie Rich does not play with a horse. I can't see you bet that kind of money on an even money shot. By not playing with a horse I meant he should lose a couple of times with a horse and then he will get a price. The horse lost and Gaf's horse won. Now Gaf is running toward me and I wave him away. I did not want him to be running over and rejoice with joy while my friend is in a slum not for anything but I had respect for another man feelings. Now a two dollar bettor comes over to Bernie and he is waving a two dollar ticket at Bernie and he is asking Bernie if that favorite was his horse and Bernie tells him yes that's my horse why. The man said I'll tell you why. I bet two dollars and he was the favorite why did he lose. Bernie look at me and he laughed and he walked away so I tell the man he has been very nice to you had it been me I will throw you off the grandstand, so get out of here before I get mad. I excuse myself and I went and see Gaf. I said to Gaf I waved you away because those guys are in the dumps and I did
- 500 -
not want you to come at that very moment you understand. He said he did not realize because he was so Happy. I know I said. Well we have a fine day. The next day we booked every favorite they played to us we figured we had their money and believe me the first five favorites won. We almost lost everything we won the day before but the other four races gave us a break and we didn't do so bad. We were ahead pretty good and we were drawing a salary every week and we were taking out of the bankroll a couple of hundred dollars apiece and we had a good time in the track's restaurant and I should say it is wonderful to won. Now Johnnie gets hold of me and he give me twenty-thousand dollars and he tells me to give it out on the street it is better for him to tie it up, so that he won't go for it. Now Johnnie tells me that he has a piece of a crap game at 14 Street between Third and Lexington Ave. but they don't call it Lexington Ave. down there they call it Fourth Ave. and he asked me to meet him down there the same night we were at the racks. He asked me to be there about nine or ten o'clock. He said if he ain't there on time that I should wait for him. When I got there he was already there and he was not doing anything but just hanging around. He asked me if I want to invest a thousand dollars apiece and take a chance and win some money. I said Johnnie I'll put up just one thousand and that's all I won't chase after it if we lose because I don't like shooting crap. He said OK so I went
- 501 -
for the money and he said that he will lay it out so I told him again no more than a thousand. He said OK. He lost the money so fast it was not even funny. He stop for a while and then he went to the house and he borrow five thousand and he lost that too. I want to make it short, he had borrowed $15,000 and he was on his last six hundred when the kid that works for me on the shylocking business comes in the game. I had left word for him where I'll be as I always do as he was a lucky kid when we were kids. I told him as he walked in to take the dice and shoot for Johnnie and the kid threw a five and it is famous for a shooter to bet on the opposite point - the opposite point when a five is the point is nine and Johnnie took four and a half to three on the nine and as Joie kept throwing nine, Johnnie will take the four and a half and bet it all on the five but he had to bet around the table not to the book as the book had a limit. After Johnnie took the first four and a half from the book he could not bet the book any more, that's why he had to bet around the table and there were plenty of players. Now Joie threw I'll say about eight or nine, nines which meant that a lot of money was on the five. Johnnie had no more money in his hands if Joie don't make the five Johnnie is broke but Joie made the five and Johnnie had a lot of money in front of him. As Johnnie is stuck so much money
- 502 -
and Joie threw a nine this time and Johnnie bet all the money he had in front of him. Now Joie throw and makes about four or five fives before he makes the nine. The next point Joie throws if four and Johnnie bet on the ten the odds on the ten is 2 to 1 to make it short Joie threw a couple of tens before he made the four. His next point was a four again and Joie made a lot of tens before he missed the four. If Joie makes the four Johnnie will had been a big winner. After the shoot Johnnie counted all the money and I helped him count. When we finish counting Johnnie had all his money and even had my thousand and there was five hundred dollars left over so I beg Johnnie to pay the house and let's go. Johnnie wanted to continue but I won't let him. I grabbed him by his arms and pulled him away from the table. Now we leave and Johnnie gives Joie the five hundred that he was sinning. He tells Joie here take this and put it in your pocket. Joie looked at me and I tell him to take it. Joie was a happy boy. Now Johnnie asked me what made you think of putting Joie in there. Johnnie I said he done bad, This guy gets going he is good for ten numbers. I saw you had only hundred in your hand so I figured the only thing to do was take a chance when I saw Joie come in I knew he was the only guy that can save you. The next day Johnnie calls me at home and he tells me that he pulled out from the game. I did not
- 503 -
know what he meant he said T. just called me and he told me that they barred Joe from the game. T. wanted to know what it was all about and he Johnnie explained to him they must had barred Joe from the game because he Joe made me stop after I got even. When T. heard what it was all about he told me to go to 14 Street and get our money out of the game and we don't want any part of it. Now I asked Johnnie does he know who made the beef. He said yes and he told me Joe Palisade. I was getting money from Johnnie right along and I was putting it in the shylocking business and I remember the most we had on the street was either three thousand dollars and that was a lot of moeny those days. My personal cash that I had in the business was about fifteen thousand dollars, plus the profit of the business. We did not take any money out of the business as I did not need to, because I was making a living between the shop and the numbers and a little here and there. I was getting along but not spending foolishly. It cost me more money for weddings and banquets than what I spent home there used to be weddings every week and one like me could not put a dollar bill in an envelope I had to put at least twenty-five to fifty dollars and most of the time it was fifty.
One day Johnnie tell me that the game on 14 Street is in front a couple of hundred thousand before I had a chance Johnnie said he won't care if they were ahead a couple of million he does not want any part of those guys. All the
- 504 -
time that I am with Johnnie my friend Bobby Doyle is eating his heart out. Now Johnnie and I get a tip on a horse from Tony Bender and the horse was running in the last race. Tony was getting pretty good stuff from a man in the garment center. He was a big man and still is, his name was Abe Shade. So Johnnie said that he will meet me at the track as I was going every day as I was still with Gaf but we had stopped drawing any money because things got rough but we were not losing any money. Well anyway I tell Gaf about the tip and Gaf said that he had already picked the horse to win. As I said Gaf was a handicapper. Well I felt better when I heard Gaf talk that way and besides I like the horse myself. The race comes up and I bet three hundred dollars on the horse but I don't bet all to win I had 150 to win and 150 for second and the race is running. Now a long shot takes the lead by six lengths. As it was a long race I did not pay attention to the long shot. Now they are half way around and the long shot is still in front by six length. Now I look at his name on the program and I notice he is 30 to 1. Our horse is running second and I can't think of his name. Now they are on they way home and Armagnac is still leading by six lengths. Armagnac wins by six lengths and our horse comes in second and I lose a few dollars on the race and Johnnie and Tony lost a bundle. They bet only to win. Now I
- 505 -
will tell you why I remember this race. I bought a half share in Armagnac. I will tell you about it a little later. Gaf did not lose much to the race as he play it smart he bet a thousand on our horse only to place and he broke the fall because someone gave Gaf 25 dollars on Armagnac. He paid 57 dollars to win so Gaf had to pay close to seven hundred dollars on Armagnac. He did not get any money on the horse we bet, that was the only bet he had. You got to maneuver horses around when you book and Gaf knew how. He had a personal bet on the horse. We bet but he also bet win and place so he did not do so bad either. I tell Johnnie he better get Bernie Rich and put in a race a horse that we can get even. He said you not kidding Joe. I did not want to tell them that I had the horse for second. I want them to believe that I lost too. Sometimes people get mad when you did the right thing but a smart guy does not laugh when someone loses money. One time a guy gave me a horse to bet, his name was Emery and he came from Chicago. I never bet on the horse and the horse lost but I made him think that I bet on the horse. In the meantime I had bet on the winner but I kept my mouth shut. Horse players are very sensitive and the least little thing will turn them against you. Now the season is about to end and Gaf comes over laughing and he said Joe I got a proposition for you. I asked what is it. He said a trainer that I know is in trouble and as the season is over he cannot bail his horses out
- 506 -
What do you mean I said. Well the feed man tied his horses up. I said I don't understand. Well he did not pay his bill and he can't get the horses out of this race track until he pays the bill. I asked him how many horses has he got. Gaf said he is got four horses and he only wants to do business with one and Gaf was still laughing. I asked him what's his name and Gaf said Armagnac. I yelled Armagnac. He said that's why I'm laughing. Gee I said he won such a race a few months ago and he is broke. Then Gaf said this trainer bets every race and you know where they wind up when they bet every race. I asked what's his name and Gaf said his name is Frank Byers. Is he any relative of Jake. He said yes but Jake don't want any part of him because of his gambling. Well I asked Gaf what shall I do. Gaf said that he has no time. I mean what do you want me to do. Gaf said Frank is honest, the only thing don't let him throw you overboard with his tips. I said you know I know how to handle this guy. That's why I not afraid Gaf said. OK where is he. Wait here Gaf said I go and get him. He brought Frank over and I tell Frank where to see me in the morning say about ten o'clock as I don't want to talk business on the race track. Frank said can I talk plain. I said yes. He said please give me three hundred dollars right now as I need it for home so I figure let me give it to him then I have to be interested. I know I will go through with it. Next day he met me in the coffee
- 507 -
shop at 107 Street and First Ave, that was where I told him to meet me. He had on a cowboy hat and everyone saw on sight that he was a horseman. I asked him to give me the low down and he tells me that he is got four horses only one belongs to him. He said the other three belong to somebody else, in other words, he is training them for some people and they pay him for training them. I asked them how are they. He said OK but they can't beat Armagnac. I said to Frank didn't you have a good bet when he won and paid 57 dollars. My God I said he paid almost 28 to 1. Frank said do you want to know the truth. I said yes. Well Frank said I thought Gaf told you. Tell me what I said. Well I did not have a dime. I asked Gaf to trust me on a 25 dollar bet and that was the only money I had. I see I said do you know that you beat a good horse that day. He said I know when Armagnac is right he is tough to beat. Well I said let's talk business, let me know what you want. Frank said I'll tell you what I'll do I got everything figured out, you give me 14 hundred more and I will put him on the Farm for the winter and you will be paid up to the time of the racing season next year. He said he was tired and he did not want to go out of town. If I felt good he said I will go to Florida, Well its OK with me I'll give you the money but I don't want you to call me up and give me tips on horses. I know you like to bet but I don't
- 508 -
want to bother with betting horses this winter. I'll see you next April. No he said before April I want to have him ready for the opening week then I'll see you in March but I'll give you a ring every now and then. He said OK. He left and he was very happy. Now I'll see Gaf this afternoon I said to myself and I'll make Gaf check and see that he pays the feedman. Gaf said that he would when I told him, Well we were getting tough breaks and being the season was only two weeks off I told Gaf lets pack in he agreed and we quit. I did OK with Gaf and Gaf told me that he was going to Florida that winter and asked me if I wanted to go. I told him that I could not go for the whole winter but I am still sorry that I didn’t go. Gaf won a ton of money. That's my luck. Gaf became big ever since he was OK by me but never the same he bought a 35 thousand dollar home on Pelham Parkway and he was looking for a big office and I did not care to have anything to do with it. I used to see him at the track after this but I did not do anything with him but we used to call one another. That winter I met one of Owney Madden's boys and as I knew most of them from Sing Sing we used to call him Little Frenchy and he was working over at the Cotton Club. Now they had the Cotton Club on Broadway and he tells me why don't I go on Broadway and buy all the lots you can, some of the boys are investing in lots on Broadway or Seventh Avenue. He said about ten years from now they are going to be worth a ton
- 509 -
of money as this was around 1936 or 1937. After he told me I forgot all about it and believe me they are worth today a ton of money. That's what I like about that job, since they all came out of jail all they did was get into business. Owney went to Hot Springs and he never came back only for a visit or to take care of some argument that one of his boys will have and he don't need to come too much as the boys are all pretty old and settled and they don't make any noise and they help one another. Not like the greed we have. Owney Madden is still in Hot Springs today. He is there since the year 1933.
One of my customers who had a bar on the West Side at 110 Street and Eighth Ave. is another horse player and I lent him one thousand and now he comes and he gives me a deal. He said he is getting old and tired and he asked me if I want to buy a share in the Paradise Restaurant. I told him I will let him know. He said that I should not make him wait too long as he may sell. I tell him that I will be over to the joint and I will talk to him. I wanted to take some time because this guy is a pretty smart guy and I was afraid that there might be a catch in it. I saw a couple of guys that used to hang out in the Paradise Restaurant they tell me that it is a gold mine so I went and see Eddie as that was his name and I asked him how much did he want for a half interest in the joint and he said six thousand and we call
- 510 -
what he owes me even. I asked the bartender how was business and he tells me that business is good and if you come in here it will be better so I told Eddie I will take it and I am not going to make any papers but I want that his wife will know what we are doing in case anything should happen to him I won't lose any money. He agreed and he wants me to stay there at nights and he stays there in the day so I told him that I will make it my handout. Now I am in partner in a Joint Johnnie come up there and he liked it and some of the boys were hanging out there with me and the joint was doing pretty good. Every month we used to split seven to eight hundred apiece and everything was going fine. I will do all my business there and guys were coming there to get loans or they will come and pay me there. Now I was still in the numbers business, that's why I could not go out of town. I had to be there everyday, our office used to be at 107 Street and First Ave. I had this kid Joie taking care of my end but I still will go there every day as this is around 1938 I had a couple of things going and I was busy running here and there. The horse season came around and Frank took the horse out from the Farm and he was tracking him very slow. He used to teach me everything and all he was doing with Armagnac was just galloping him as he did not want to run him very fast as he was afraid that he might hurt himself. Now he tells me that a friend of his wants to give him a young
horse and this horse is in England and his friend deals in horses he imported them then sell them. I tell Frank that I will not buy a cat in the bag. I said I will not buy a horse without seeing him run. He said that he is getting the horse and he pays for the horse when it wins, in other words, if he don't give me a winner I won't pay for it. Hey Frank what about feeding the horse and paying you for training and all that kind of stuff. He said Joe my brother trains for the Paragone Stable and I will take the feed from him and I will borrow his exercise boy and I want to treat you like a friend. I still want to see the horse when she is ready to run. He said OK I'll get the horse, if you don't like the workouts then I will keep it. I said you see Frank I can't waste my time on horses that are no account. I can't waste time I'm not depending on the horse to live. If we can pull a killing OK, if we can't I don’t want to go crazy with them. When I have time I will always come to the stable. How about those other horses you have are we going to cash a bet. He said Joe I don't want you to bet a dime on those horses, they are no account. As long as those people pay me I keep training. I told them that they are going to have a hard time to win. They don't want to listen to me so what do you want me to do. He said I am interested in armagnac and I am ready to run him pretty soon. Good I said will he be ready the first time out. Frank said that he don't think so. I got to take it
easy with him. OK I said take all your time, don't worry about me. Now his brother has a horse running and he tells me all about it. He said make sure you come to the track. I said Frank if I don't come you never know what time I may get home so call me. Frank said he is going to be in the first race. Gee I said I will never make it. OK he said I'll call you. Can you get a bet? I said Yes I can bet all the money I want. The next day Frank called me and the horse was 20 to 1 on the morning line. Frank called me about one o'clock that day and I was very sleepy and I told Frank that I am going to bet a hundred dollars and he told me that's fine. I said it is his first time out and he is a long shot. He said don't worry he will win. Frank I said you keep saying that he is going to win. I will put two hundred. No he said I'm afraid because this is your first bet. OK I said if the horse win I'll see you on First Ave. Well the horse won and he only paid 8 to 1. That afternoon Frank called me again and he tells me that the horse won by 6 length. I asked him how come he only paid 8 to 1. Hey Joe Frank said the guy that owns him is a rich man. He bets pretty heavy. Oh I see I said. Well if you are broke you can come to the house right now. Frank said that he did not want any money as he got loan of 50 dollars and he bet it on the horse. OK Frank I said I'll see you when you enter Armagnac or
when the other horse arrives. OK he said.
I'm still seeing Johnnie and I am going at night down to the Hollywood and to the Villege Inn and things are going just so and so. One night during the week I go to the Hollywood and I meet a girl there and she wants to know where can she get in touch with Gene so I told her that I will make a call and I see if I can get him. I tried but I could not get him so I asked her if it is important and she said that it was personal. OK I said. Well when I saw Gene that night but in the 19 Hole I found out that he was there so when I tell him about it he tells me that he is keeping away from the Hollywood for that reason. I asked him why. He said that he told her that he was single and she found out that he is married and now she is looking to shoot him. Holy Gee I said I made about three or four calls to try to get you. Boy one never knows what is in store for him especially in this life.
In about three weeks Frank Byers entered the horse in a seven furlong race. He was a distant horse and Frank wanted to give him a race. My wife wanted to come and see him run so I brought her along. He was in the second race and they put Armagnac in the field - for the benefit of those who don’t understand what the field means, I will explain. There are 12 horses in any race and if 14 horses or 15 are entered they put 13, 14, 15 in
the field and if anyone of these horses win 13, 14, 15 and you bet on say 13 and 14 or 15 2ins, well you win your bet. If you hold a ticket on number 14. Armagnac was number 13 and I don't remember who won the race but I know that 14 or 15 was second and he lost by a nose. As my wife wanted to bet her money on Armaganac I tried to tell her that he was not going to win but she could not understand she will say why is he running if he can't win. I tried to explain to her that it is no good to push a horse the first time out but when I found out that Armagnac was in the field and I got a tip on one of the horses that were in the field. I sent my wife to bet on Armagnac as I said I told her to bet on number 13. The race closed so fast and they were all bunched up at the wire that I told my wife that Armagnac was in the picture. When the numbers come up on the board it was another horse that won but 14 or 15 was second, I don't remember which one but it did not make any difference. The price for second was 12 dollars and I told my wife to go and collect for second and third as she had bet across the board and I don't remember what he paid for third but it was good. She had bet 20 dollars across the board. She came back with 180 or 190 dollars, I don't remember just how much. I watch Armagnac run all the way and I like the way he finished, He was next to last in the stretch and finished fifth. Now I go to the barn to see the horse and Frank. When I
see Frank and he tells me that the boy told him that if he will had cut him lose he would had won the whole race. Boy was I happy. Now Frank tells me that we must go to New England with this horse. He explained to me that he did not want to fight the millionaire in the New York tracks. He said he had a good man in New England and to tell you the truth he said he did not feel too good in health. I tell Frank that he is the boss and whatever he says is OK by me. He asked me for the money to ship the horse and I gave it to him. It was about 60 dollars but I gave him a hundred because he had to pay 25 dollars for the jockey who rode the horse. A horseman must pay the jockey whether he wins or loses. Now Frank tells me that he saw B.L. Squire and Mr. Squire told Frank that the horse is coming from England. As she is a filly and is 1 1/2 years old but she be listed as a two year old because if a horse is born in June she will be one year old when January comes around, In a few days the horse was here and Frank introduce me to B.L. Squire and I must say that he was one of the finest men I ever met. He shows the papers to Frank and it showed that the horse ran one race in England and she finished third. I was just crazy about the name - Knights Dutchess by Knight of the Garter - which according to the papers her father was never defeated. I know her mother's
name but it is a little hard for me but I'll try - Diemedter. Now in England the horses run the opposite way as they so here in America so Frank tells me that he will train Knights Dutchess to run the way they do here and that will take some time and besides he did not want to run her until she became three years old. First of all Frank said when she is three years old she is actually two and a half years old. I agreed with him. Now Frank tells me another horse is coming from England and Mr. Squire want to give the horse to us as he had told Mr. Squire that he was going partner with me. Frank said that Mr. Squre like me as I seem to be a very good businessman. I told Frank hold out for a while until we get one of these horses earn some money for us. He said don't worry about the trainers' bill as there isn't any trainer bill just buy what we need for the horses, for instance, new shoes or a bit or some kind of medicine or things that are important and a few dollars for him once in a while. I got along very nice with Frank he was the best - no crook as most trainers are. Some time I will go and watch Knights Dutchess train. I would laugh when I will see her try to run the other way. The boy will have a whip in his hands and he will be waving the whip to keep her straight but he will not hit her but will always keep her along the rail - to break in a horse to run along the rail is an
edge in a race. Well I'll let Knights Dutchess along for a while and I go back to Armagnac. The trainer in New England calls Frank and tells him that he wanted to see him. Frank tells me about it and I tell him to go to New England and see what it is all about if anything he should call me. I told him if I'm not home to leave word. He did call the next day and he told me to come to New England as the horse is going to be entered in a race in a day or two. I made arrangement with a friend of mine to have a bet for me on a long shot. Not many people knew that I had a horse. I tell this friend that the horse belongs to me, he laughed but also knew that whatever I was doing that I will know what I was doing so we talked and we figured what to do best. We decided that we will bet 15 hundred on the horse and an extra bet for the trainer and the jockey. This friend of mine had class and he was one of the boys from 105 Street. I left for New England and I told my friend that I will call him. All the trainer wanted to know was how much should they enter the horse for. I told them that they should put the horse in for the cheapest claiming that there is, horse flesh was cheap. Just before the war I don't let anyone know by anyone I mean Tony Bender, Bobby Doyle or anyone else, the horse is entered and he is on the morning line 50 to 1. As I said he was a distance horse but he was entered in a three quarter mile race and no one gives a horse a chance when he is a
distance horse and he is running in a short race. The both trainers explain to me that this is a race for none winner and that they all are cheap horses compared to Armagnac and besides he is very sharp and he was afraid that he is too sharp. He is a bad actor when he is so sharp said Frank. I was looking him over all afternoon. I could not take my eyes off of him. That night I call my friend and I tell him all about it. I said for him to bet and insure the bet by insuring a bet it will cost you 10% on every dollar that you bet. If the horse wins I will collect track odds meaning I would collect whatever the horse pays. At that time the odds that a bookmaker will pay, if he was not insured, was 20 to 1 and if the horse paid 40 to 1, I will lose 20 to 1 odds. I tell my friend that if anything went wrong that I will scratch the horse so there was nothing to worry about. I stayed in New England that night and I woke up early that morning and I went to the track and when I got there I found the both trainers with their arms folded, as soon as I saw them I knew something was wrong. I asked what happened and they tell me that he must had kicked his leg against the stall and he had a bump on his right front leg. They said that he could run if I wanted to take a chance but I said no take him out of the race why should I
gamble after all I said I may be new but the old saying is if you don't wait they make you wait. Good for you the trainers said that is the way to start there is always another day. I walked Armagnac around that morning after they put some kind of stuff on his knee. I went home that afternoon. I did not go to the track I was down hearted as I know Armagnac would had walked in. Well patience I said. I forgot the horses for a while and I went about my business. I did not say anything to anyone but Gene. I told Gene all about it. He looked kind of surprised. I went down to the Hollywood and I saw Johnnie and he was telling me that Tony Bender was asking him about the shylocking business and he thinks that Tony is looking for a piece. I said Johnnie I cannot give Tony a piece it ain't for the money it is for principle. I can't explain how I feel I said to Johnnie you see Johnnie I said I could borrow all the money I want for 10% but I rather be with you Johnnie, after all it is costing me 10% if I split 3 ways I will be getting 33 1/3 per cent. You see what I mean. He said yes I understand. He also said that he never made a dime with anyone else. I know Johnnie I said this is a tough business if a guy ain't faithful you know what I mean and then as I said I can't afford to give way it will look bad for me. I feel that I will be shaken down. Maybe I'm wrong but that is the way I feel. Tony called me in
Jersey and he told me that he wants me to take the money in. I told him to figure out what Johnnie is got coming and that is what I take in, he said that he needed 15 thousand fast. I said the money was given out and the people are paying interest and I cannot push them. If you want whatever case I got on hand I'll give it to you and the rest I can borrow from Johnnie and it will cost 10%. He said that it was OK with him. I went and borrowed the money and I charged Johnnie the 10% and I paid for the loan as the money came in. Now Tony was calling for money all the time and I kept on borrowing all the time as I was charging Johnnie for all the interest that it was costing. Tony one night said that by the time we will be through it will cost all the interest that Johnnie earned so I said it is not my fault if you want the money in lump sum, after all these people are paying interest. He said he knew he just got in a jam and Johnnie is helping him. He said he did not mean any harm. Johnnie told Tony the only time that he made any money loansharking was with Joe, everyone else put him in the hole. I said I'm honest and my word is my bond and Tony himself said so. Tony said he did not know whether he was coming or going he was losing so much money on the horses, I said to Johnnie can you pull him out
with your horses. Johnnie said that's why he is in the hole we are both losing. Johnnie I said do you want to take a tip from me take your horses to New England over here in New York you are up against the millionaire. You right Johnnie said I heard the same thing. Up in New England them trainers are broke and they put their horses where they belong where here in New York they drop a ten thousand dollar horse in a five thousand dollar race. They don't care they have so many horses you not kidding Johnnie said. Now when I left I thought to myself why should I put them wise about New England, let them lose their shirt, after I got through with Johnnie I had about 30 thousand dollars in the shylocking business and I was taking it easy and I met about six girls, they were all living together and I started to take out one at a time. I got an idea I would hang out with girls and I will stay away from everyone. No one understood me I just could not stand racket guys. I did not like their ways and I could not stay home at nights as I will crack up thinking. I brought my wife everywhere I went before we got the kid and then it was hard on me staying home. I will be thinking too much so I made myself busy and I will go here and there. At first I use to go to White Plains at a joint called the Farm House. Well I got tired of that place and I started to go to the Villege Inn or the 19 Hole. I was staying
away from the Hollywood. I just did not care to go where the boys were down at the 19 Hole there will be only Rocky and I got along good with him. I'm going to tell you the girls first names, there was Rose, Laura, Jeanie, Helen, Louise, and I got most of them a job as hat checking, and most of them started to earn their own living. All of them got married as time went on. I must admit that as far as the boys are concerned I never was happy. I was not going to the Paradise too much as the restaurant was getting different customers. Eddie called me one day and he told me that he had the place sold and I told him to sell the whole neighborhood changed. We sold the place for 14 thousand dollars. At that time bars were not worth much. Now I was paying attention to the numbers and the shop and loansharking and the horses I made them take care of themselves until they said that they were ready. I was dreaming of a killing so I figure as long as I have a prospect I did not care when it will happen. Now Frank tells me that Knights Dutchess is ready for her best workout so I had a friend who had a time clock and I made an appointment with Frank for a certain morning to see the Dutchess work out and I brought my friend along. She had to work three quarter of a mile. We got to the track seven o'clock that morning. When the Dutchess worked out my friend said no good. When
Frank heard this he could not figure it out. How fast did she go my friend asked Frank and Frank said 116 and my friend told Frank 116 1/2 is that right. Frank looked at his watch again and he said you are right so my friend, his name was Al, said can I ask you a favor and Frank said sure. Al asked him how many days rest do you want to give her. Frank said five days. OK Al said we make an appointment now so we did. Al told Frank I want to see her go a mile then Frank said I was going to say the same thing, I remember it was on a Friday. When we met at the track again and the Dutchess works a mile and when she finished my friend said she is a winner. Al asked Frank how fast did she go Frank said 143 that's right said Al she finished the last pole faster than the first pole. Al said to me don't try to win with this horse at three quarter of a mile she is strictly a long distant horse. I said don't forget that Frank. He said OK. Now Frank calls me on the side and he tells me that he tried her on all three tracks. He said Joe I'm an old man and I ain't got a cent I want to make one killing and I want to live my last days without working. He told me please Joe listen to me she likes the empire race track, she worked three quarter of a mile in 113 I swear to you. I'm not going to ship her to New England I'm going to keep her right here in New York. I said Frank I won't tell a
living soul that is what I want a killing. Frank I said don't tell or try to borrow any money I'll put the money on her for both of us. Let's ship her to Empire this week and I want to see her work. We will work her on a Sunday, no one will be around. He said Joe that's what I did I worked her on a Sunday not once but a couple of time. Frank I asked how come she likes Empire. Frank explain that to me, you see he said she is got small feet and the track is hard at Empire and when she hits the ground she bounces off the ground and when she runs on a safe track her feet keep digging in the dirt and as she keeps going the soft dirt tired her. God I said how much one has to know to own horses. So Frank said that he is training for 40 years and I asked him and you ain't got any money. Joe he said no one will have any money the way he used to bet. Gee I'm shocked at you I can't believe it. Well he said I got two brothers and they don't want anything to do with me for that reason. Frank I asked have you got a good boy. Don't worry he said I'll get my brother's rider. I forgot who it was but anyway I saw the Dutchess work and Frank showed me the watch from the moment she started until the end and he certainly did not lie, boy was I happy. Now what do you think happened they sell the Empire Race Track to the trotter people and they make the Empire Race Track a night trotter track. God I said how mean can
you be to me. The only track that can match the Empire Race Track is Charles Town, West Virginia. I'll tell you why later. Now we ship her to New England. In the meantime the other horse comes in from England and Mr. Squire sent the horse to us in New England. Now we got three horses and I tell Frank that we cannot make this guy train for us he will ruin us so Frank said that he will stay on the track and sleep in one of the stalls but I must hire one help for him. We will give him 50 dollars a week and I will make him do all the hard work. I said fine but when the other horse comes into New England he seems to be overweight, 250 pounds overweight. Frank said it will take a year to get all that weight off so I said I won't mind as he is a two year old but we must see if he can run before we will go through that trouble. Frank said you are right so he calls up Mr. Squire and he tells him about it and Mr. Squire, being a fine man, said if I can not give you a winner how are you going to pay me. He said he will leave everything to us. So Frank starts to train all three of them and the first hard luck starts - Armagnac gets hurt again and he had to send him to the Farm for the rest of the meet. The new horse was by Sir Walter Raleigh so we take the Sir off and we name him Walter Raleigh. It did not take Frank long to find out that Walter did not have racing on his
mind. Everytime he was on the track training he will try and jump on every filly he saw. He was always trying to jump on Knights Dutchess so Frank tells me that we got to send Walter to a doctor and have him operated on and make him a gelding. Boy I am learning everything in no time. Now we are left with Knights Dutchess and we must depend on her. I don't know how Frank talked it in to me but he put her in a three quarter of a mile race. I was in New York when I saw her entered in the first race at Rockingham Park, New Hampshire. I did not pay any attention as I figured that he want to give her a race on the new track but he called me that night and when I got home he had left a number for me to call him so I called him late that night and he wanted me to go to New England but I will not listen to him I tell him do you remember what my friend Al said. He was trying to tell me something then finally I tell him that I will bet in the city that I could not come to New England. I finally convinced him and I told him that I will bet in New York but I did not bet when I heard that the horse was out of the money. I laughed that same night Frank called me and he was telling me that the boy pulled the horse so I told him I will find out because I knew the boy and I tell Frank to wait a week and put her in a distant race and when I see her entered as the
entries come in the newspaper the day before and I told him to have Teddy Atkinson on her and when I come up to the track I will speak to Teddy. I was introduced to Teddy Atkinson by my friend Emery from Chicago. I see the horse entered and I leave for Rockingham Park in New Hampshire. I see the boy that rode the Dutchess the week before and he is an Italian boy, his name was Joe Dattielo and I asked him how did the Dutchess go last week he asked me if my name was Joe and I said it was and he tells me that she ought to win today. I asked him could she had done better last week and he asked me if I knew that he worked for Joe Bruno. I said I did then he told me to ask Joe Bruno why she did not win last week. I told the boy that I was not going to ask Joe anything. OK he said. I want to tell you something you have the right boy on the horse. I said that I knew Teddy and when he sees me in the paddock he will be surprised to see me a few years ago. I met him and I promise that he will ride the first horse I buy. Teddy was not a full Jockey yet he was what we call an apprentice boy. Now I see Joe Bruno and he give me a good hand and he asked me what is the Dutchess going to do today. I tell him that she is going to win and he tells me that he is got a horse in the race that I don't stand a chance. I told him I'm sorry Joe this horse was supposed to have won last week but I'm going to tell you that I did not like the ride your boy
gave her. Joe said that he did his best with her. Well I said we will see today so he told me why don't you bet on me and let your horse run last and you will win next week. I said Joe I got a boy that will not pull a horse and besides this is my first horse and I am just excited to win a race. I'm going to tell you the truth I said today money means nothing to me it means today will tell whether I stay in the horse business or I will get out. I tell him that I got three horses and I have had nothing but hard luck. I asked Joe what kind of a track is this Rockingham Park is it a hard track or a safe track. He said that it was a hard track. That's all I had to hear. I asked Joe who is the horse that you got in this race. He said High Castle. Then I asked him how come he never won a race. He said I did not race him as a two year old. Well Joe I said no damage my horse is 40 to 1, your horse is 90 to 1, how can we go wrong. You will bet the both of them and you got nothing to worry about. You know I can't do anything with Teddy Atkinson. He said he knew that is the only boy I can't do anything. He asked me how did I meet him and I told him that Emery from Chicago introduced me to him. Now Joe Bruno is the Boss of the Philadelphia Family and Emery was a Lt. in the Chicago Family, that is why there was so much respect for one another, Well anyway we left off that
Joe will bet on the both horses and I myself was going to bet on the both of them, after all they both were long shots. Now the race comes up and I see Teddy Atkinson and he remember me, he smiles and he asked me if this is the first horse that I bought. I said yes and he asked me how come you did not come to me last week. I see that she ran last week and she ran a very good race. I looked at the trainer and he told Teddy that it was his fault as he was not supposed to run the horse in a short distant race and that he, Frank, insisted on giving her a race and Joe got mad and he did not come up and see the race run. After the race he told me to put her in a distant race and I shall put you Ted on the horse so here you are. I tried last week now it is his chance. Teddy asked me what can you tell me about this horse she had only one race but she did not go a distant yet. I said Teddy the only thing I can tell you is that she worked a mile in 143 I can't tell you any more. Teddy said if she worked a mile in 143 then I will win with her. I told Teddy if I lie to you I will be lying to myself. He said that's right and now the horses were going to the track and they are going to the post. They go in the gate and they off. This race I never will forget as this was my first win. Here is the way they were running Beckhampton in front by four length, another horse running second by four length and High Castle running third by about three or four length and Knights Dutchess running
fourth. As they make the first turn they are running the same way. Now they are around the stretch turn and High Castle is taking the lead and Knights Duchess is right along side of High Castle and is about to pass High Castle when the jockey from High Castle hits Knights Duchess in the mouth with the whip. Everyone saw it and everyone yelled at the same time. High Castle wins but Teddy Atkinson goes up to the stewards and claims a foul against the winner. They had already put up the winning number which was 5 and 7 second, Knights Duchess was number 7. In no time they changed the number and the Duchess wins the first time that she is entered in a long race. She paid $38.00 to win and I think she paid $12.00 to show. I had $200 to win and $200 to show. I give Frank $500 and I tell him to keep the purse, it was about one thousand and four hundred dollars. We did not need to pay Mr. Squire any money because the first race any horse wins went for expenses because he knew we had three horses on our hands. So Frank got altogether one thousand nine hundred dollars, and I gave Teddy Athinson one hundred and fifty dollars and the twenty-five dollars fee for riding the horse.
Now Frank makes a suggestion and he tells Joe Bruno if he is going to race this winter he could take along the Duchess as I know you are
Joe's friend and I know you like her after you seen her run. Joe said he will be happy to take the Duchess as he expects to go to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I had two of the girls with me and I gave them a hundred apiece. They are married today and I don't care to mention they names. I stayed in Rockingham for about three days. I was so happy that I did not care to come back to New York. I came home and I heard all sort of stories, everyone was saying that the race must had been fixed because of the disqualification. They don't want to give credit where credit is due. Gene was blowing his top, Bobby Doyle bet on High Castle because in the horse room High Castle opened a long shot and then closed to 14 or 16 to one. Well any way only a horse owner can understand what it means to win the first race and besides if the Duchess don't win I would had quit the horse game.
Here is what we did with Armagnac, we sent him on a farm and Frank will go there and take him into the water and as the salt water is good for their legs he was five years old and there was nothing to worry about he will be stronger at six. They did not want to take a chance with him. He was too good a horse to lose. He had hurt his leg more than what they thought. Walter Raleigh was sent to be operated on for being a
bad boy on the race track everytime he saw a filly - only owners and Trainers will understand what I am saying.
Knights Duchess will run once or twice more before the season is over and I went back to taking care of my business. I still got the numbers and loansharking and the factory going and as I said it is all being taken care of the workman that I have now I am going to tell you about a sharkshooter who tried to outsmart me. I put this fellow together with Tony Bender, his name is Charlie and Charlie has a partner and his name is Benny. Now Benny is in the furniture business and he was about to lose everything unless he raised about 12 thousand dollars. I went and see Tony and as he had a factory full of furniture at stake. Tony gave him the money and he became partner with him. Charlie's proposition was that he had clients who will bet for him if he can given them a winner. Charlie himself once had horses but never won a race. Now that he saw that I had a winner he thought that we can win some money together. When he gave me the deal I thought that it was a good idea. Charlie and I went and see Frank over at the track in Rockingham and we tell Frank all about it. I told Charlie that I will split my share with the trainer. We looked over the entry book and we saw a race for none winner of two races in 1938.
We thought that this will be a good race for her. We had about four days before the Duchess will run so we came back to New York and Charlie is telling Benny all about it. Benny is all excited. I told Charlie that I will meet him the day before the race at 107 Street and First Ave. in the early morning. On the day of the race we were in Rockingham Park and we had brought two girls from my mob that I told you about. Charlie got out of his room and the girl he was with came into my room and she tells me that Charlie went out to the lobby to make phone calls. I tell her hurry go in the next booth and try to listen and try to remember who he is calling. This guy had a phony name and one can expect anything from him. After a little while the girl came back and told me that he was making bets on the phone. I asked her if she heard some of the names of the fellows he called. She said she heard Judge Mancuso a fishman because she heard him say how is the fish deal and a few more and he also called his wife and told her to bet. Well I was armed with all the calls he made. Now I want to see what was on his mind. He came up to our room and he asked when are we going to the track, I said I'm waiting for you. He said that he was thinking it over and he did not think that he was going to call any one. He was saying that these horse racing never
done him any good. I said it is up to you after all this was your idea and besides we told the trainer what am I going to tell the trainer. Charlie suggested that we go to the track this morning and we will tell him, OK. I said we will get up, come on girls dress up. Charlie said let's leave the girls here we will be back for them. I said com on girls dress up. The girls were my friend not his. By the time we got to the track it was about ten o'clock and before I went to the stalls to see the trainer I asked him over. You sure you don't want to call anyone he said that he was, and he kept asking me are you sure that the horse is going to win. I said I was sure. When we got to the stalls I told Charlie let me talk to Frank, so I called Frank on the side and I tell him that this guy is dumping me. I asked Frank do you need to win this race he, Frank, asked me is they guy cheating you. I said yes. Frank assured me that we don't win this race. Frank I said I'm worried about Teddy Atkinson. Frank tells me to leave it to him he will know what to tell Teddy Atkinson. Now we go and visit the Duchess and the trainer in the next stall asked me if I own the Duchess. I said that I did. Gee if it wasn't for her I will have a cinch race. I said listen fellow that's why we are here we don't think she feels any to good if you are worried about her and if you knew that she don't feel any to good will it make you happy.
He said it will certainly would. Well I said I'm going to bet on you. I can't remember the name of the horse but I'm sure he was number 5 because I remember clear as I marked number 5 on the entry sheet. Well the time of the race comes up and I already made a call home and I told my wife to call Tony and tell him not to bet on the horse. Charlie comes over and he asked me how much are you going to bet. I said about a hundred so he said we bet together. I look on the board and I see No. 5 is 10 to 1 so I gave the girls fifty dollars and I tell them to go and bet 30 to win and 20 for second on number 5. The trainer told me to make sure that I go in the paddock as he wants me to hear what he is going to tell Teddy. So I was there when they were about to mount and I heard Frank tell Teddy to take it easy she does not feel too well. I tried to scratch but they won't let me. So Teddy said don't worry I won't hurt her. Boy was I happy. Now I come out and I go to the club house where Charlie and the girls are. He asked me how does it look. I said OK then I said to him Gee you look awful worried for a hundred dollar bet. He said I told you that I can't take it any more. Well they off. I will only tell you where the Duchess was when they came in the stretch. She was dead last and number five won in a photo finish and he did pay ten to one. Now Charlie is so nervous that he wants to go home as we got one car and its
- 536 -
mine. I tell him that I want to stay because I want to get even. I was more than even for the 30 dollars along I get three hundred dollars. I don't remember what he paid for second but all I know I'm waiting for Charlie to collapse and I had a grin on my face. Boy was Charlie sweating. Finally he started to talk to himself, "I'm ruined" and the girls were laughing as they know what it was all about. The girls went and collect for me and I gave them 25 dollars apiece. Every now and then they will say to me what a wise guy he wanted to get rich all by himself. I was betting 10 dollars a race and he will say how are you going to get even betting ten dollars a race. I just did not answer him. Now comes the time to go home and he said that he wanted to drive. I said OK, drive. I sat in the back with the two girls as he wanted to be alone in the front seat. He kept saying that he ruined everyone. I will make believe that I was not hearing what he was saying. Finally he pulled the car on the side of the road and he pulled the brakes and he asked me if I called Tony Bender on the phone. I said I did what did you tell him he asked I told him not to bet after all you opened my mind when you said that it is no good to bet isn't that right Joe he yelled I'm ruined, I bet all the furniture money. Well Charlie I said you know you made me talk to the trainer and you will make me lose out with him. You know it is hard to find an honest
- 537 -
trainer as soon as I told him that all bets were off he the trainer said that their horse ain't going to win today that is why he is broke today. They always pull this kind of stuff on him and besides he did not want to have any doubt in his mind about me. Now I suppose you will understand what I mean you had horses you know if you want to be treated fair you must be fair you could had made some money with me but you think people are fools. What am I going to do with Tony Bender he asked me. I don't know and I don't care if you would had told me that we would had a hundred dollars bet I would had been satisfied but you did not want to give a penny. How can you be so mean I asked him. Now we got back to New York and he took me to his wife and he wanted me to tell her that the horse got hurt. I will not I said why should I, I did not make any promise to her. Now I go and see Tony Bender and I tell him the whole story and I tell him that Charlie bet all the furniture money. Tony said tell him that I want to see him. I said wait I'll call him up I went into the phone and I called Charlie and his wife got on the phone and she asked me what happened to the horse I told her to ask Charlie. Well she said he is not home. What did he do she asked me did he do anything wrong she asked that Benny is ruined. Well what can I tell you that guy of yours will ruin anyone that is all I can tell you. Then she said so long and I said so long and that was that. After this race Frank turned the Duchess over to Joe Bruno
- 538 -
As there was only about four more days of racing Frank gave my phone number to Joe Bruno and that was the end of the racing season. All the horses are taken care of, Knight Duchess on her way to Hot Springs, Walter Raleigh in the doctor's hands and Armagnac just resting his legs and just walking most of the time in the water and I forgot the horses for the whole winter.
Bobby Doyle is still out for no good. God forbid if I should make good he will die from a heart attack. Now I mention that I knew a furniture man. Bobby Doyle comes over like a little boy. He wants to buy a bedroom set. He knew I had a friend in the furniture business but I doubt if he knew anything about what happened with Charlie. I don't think that Tony had told him anything because at around the time I'm talking about Tony told me more than a dozen times to stay away from Bobby Doyle but I did not believe him. I wish I could stay away from all of them. I was always confused but I did not make it bother me. I introduce Benny the furniture man to Bobby Doyle and I tell Benny to give Bobby the best price he can and I forgot all about it. He Bobby wanted me to go with his wife to pick the furniture. I edge it off. The next thing happened Tony calls me and he asked me if I will take his wife Edna to pick out a bedroom set. If Benny did not have what she wanted then Benny will take her to any of the good furniture factory in the city. We went
- 539 -
to a couple of factories before she found what she was looking for. All I know that Edna was happy for the price she paid. I don’t remember the details but I know she was very much satisfied and I forgot about buying furniture. Of course it was no pleasure for me to be running around and buying furniture but Edna being a fine woman and well educated I did not mind. The next thing I hear from Tony Bender that I should not involve myself in anything Bobby Doyle wants to buy. Then I told Tony once and for all you see what I mean this mad dog will never stop trying to belittle me. Well Tony said everyone is hip to him so he can't get far do your business with him and don’t have anything to do with him. Now as I mention in this story that I had a guy by the name of Curley Top borrowing money from me. I had just gave him a fresh loan, it was just about a week when he calls me and asked for a loan. Gee Curley I said I just gave you a loan. Joe Curley says you sent your man and ask me for the money he said that you were short and I sent the thousand to you and the kid said he will give it back to me in a week. Curley I said I must meet you and I will bring the money with me so I go down to the Hollywood and I meet Curley. I sat down with him and I tell him that according to my books he already make a payment, Gee Curley is at a loss but I ain't I realize that the kid Joie made the payment for Curley. I asked
- 540 -
Curley when did he see Bobby last, right away I figured that Bobby steam up Joeie or maybe Bobby went half with Joie the kid. The kid was 24 years old and he has been with me for about six years and I took good care of him and besides he was a third cousin of mine. Well I told Curley please don't tell Bobby anything because I knew that Curley went out together with Bobby and in fact Bobby Doyle introduced me to Curley some years before this happened but we don’t tell our troubles to outsiders at least I did not, and I called Joie the kid, it was about one o'clock in the morning. Calling him one o'clock in the morning was nothing new as we always called one another at all hours and besides his mother was one of the best runners I had in the number business, the people in the neighborhood all trusted her as she got plenty of hits and she always paid on time even if I did not pay her on time, she will pay out of her own money because she knew that I was good for it. Well she seemed worried over the phone and she told me that he was not home. I did not say anything but she asked me where was I calling from. I told her that I was somewhere uptown. I didn't want to tell her the Hollywood Restaurant because I was almost sure that he was home. I got in the car and I took a ride to Lena's house and I went upstairs when I saw the lights were on. Lena was very glad to see me and she made coffee and I asked her a couple of questions. She got wise and she asked me if I get along with Bobby Doyle.
- 541 -
As soon as I heard her talking about Bobby I knew that she knew something. I asked her if her son Joie had been close to Bobby lately. She said Bobby does not come around but Bobby is always calling for Joie and that she does not like the idea. She said that she is for me and if her son does anything to hurt you Joe he won't be able to come into this house after all you took him off the street, not Bobby Doyle and I started to pick up numbers for you, not Bobby Doyle. I ain't afraid of him and my daughter can't stand him. Joie went out of town and I'm worried she said. As she was talking the phone rang and she told me to keep quiet and as she was talking she asked him where he was and he will not tell her so finally she told him that Joe is here and he wants to talk to you. She put me on the phone and Joie tells me that he took the money from Curley to have some money as he intended to go away. I asked him why. Joie tells me the day 437 came out, Bobby thinks that you and I hit the number with the office money and we did not turn in the money, that you and I split the money. I asked Joie if he hit the number that day he said that he did not. Then I said what are you worrying about, come back I said we will have the bank that we edge off to, in our cormer that's just it he said he wants me to say that we hit a different bank so I said come home and he said that he is afraid because of the money that he took from Curley top. Now Joie I said did he have anything
- 542 -
to do with that money and Joie will not answer me so I passed it up to get him to come back. He said he will not come back as he, Bobby, wants to bring him to Tony Bender, that's why I ran away I ran away he said I ain't going to do anything of the kind. Yes Joie but the way you are doing it you make it appear that you are trying to hide something. I know he said but I am afraid what are you going to be afraid of I said come home and you will walk around with me, Bobby ain't the toughest guy in the world he is good for framing people that is about all. Now I go and see Tony as I could not do anything with Joie. I tell Tony if this kind of stuff is going to go on having this guy going around scaring people it ain't going to be any good. Tony said I was right. I told Tony that I am afraid to ask Moe if he has the bankroll, I'm afraid that Bobby took the money and is trying to make excuses so that he can get away with whatever he done. Tony tells me why do you think I made you go with my wife to buy the furniture for. Gee don't tell me that he accused me for making some money on the furniture that his wife bought from Benny. That is it Tony said he did not know that I knew Benny and he did not know that I was partner with Benny and Charlie. Joe he said you know what you do keep the number for yourself I know he burned the money and don't blame Moe Block. I said I know this guy corrupted the lord. OK I said I'll start by myself. Tony said I don’t want
- 543 -
you to ever call him unless I call him. Whenever you want to talk to him call me first I'm tired of all this. I said Tony do you want the name of the bank that we edge our work to. He is one of the boys he will tell you if Joie hit the number 437. We were edging this number off but when the guy stopped playing it we stopped or otherwise we will be gambling not booking you know the number business. Tony told me he knew the bank but he had me convinced that your kid hit the number elsewhere. I can't get the kid to come in he is so afraid that he took one thousand dollars of my money and he took off. Tony pleaded with me and he asked me to drop everything he don't care if he starved to death he is too much. Sandie met me outside and he told me that they all are catching up with Bobby and that he hates his guts but I listen but I can't buy this stuff. I go away and I made up my mind not to bother with none of them. Vinnie came home, the one who got arrested in the Hollywood for his parole, but he is hanging out with John the bug so I don't bother with him not that I act cold but I figured anyone that hangs out down town I don’t want any part of. Besides Binnie is a kid, at least at this time. I started to think about the dog Bobby Doyle and what a dog he thought that he could have me for himself. I was so good to him when I thought that he was a friend that when I was sick once and I was broke and I borrowed five hundred dollars from a business man that I knew, his name was Barney he had about a
- 544 -
dozen Mack dump trucks. Bobby told me that he could not pay his rent I gave him three hundred of this money and then I find out from the Gap that he lost a ton of money in a card game. Gap told me when he came to visit me up the house when I lived in 335 East 108 Street before I got married and when I told him, Bobby, about it he told me that he borrowed from the house. I told him that the Gap told me that he, Bobby, was pulling out money from every pocket, his face got red. I said I would not had told you but the Gap told me to tell you and also told me to tell you that he don't want any part of you. He said you borrowed from him before you start pulling money from every pocket. I said Bobby I will give my shirt but I don't want you to think that I want to be treated this way. You know Bobby I'm sorry that I ever got mix up in this mob business my word is my bond and if I find out any thing is in your mind it ain‘t going to be any good at any cost. I know I know he will say when I think of you now Bobby as I am writing I could never in the world find any word for you or you Vito Genovese. I have no fear for both of you guys. I hope the Government will get you Bobby. I told them enough. In time they will, Bobby, I know they will. Dog, Dog, Dog is what you and the bums downtown. Now you are partners in the machines Bobby and you are with Mike Genovese, Tommy Rige the Jew and yourself. You think I don't know. Take five minute of your time
- 545 -
and think if I'm wrong that you are a dog. I wish I could tell it to you personally. I will give my left hand. How is the pimping business let us know we will like to know. You remember when Vito Genovese slapped your face for pimping although he was a pimp himself in his younger days. Yes Bobby word gets around in fact you told me yourself that Vito was a pimp. There are no pimps in Harlem Bobby they all come from downtown where you came from Bobby you got the right away downtown for giving me up. I'm sure now that you got yourself arrested when they killed Mr. Marangiano. I ain't the only one that thinks so Bobby they know you Bobby I saw you on TV the day they came to your house and you look like a real pimp. I hate to talk about your family but you made them just like you. Millie is a fine woman in fact the whole family even my mother-in-law is a fine woman, not what you picture them to me, you dog. I have respect for them no matter how much they disown me. No one knows what it is all about not even you dig because the other dog, Vito, can't afford to tell you as to what really happened but in the end of this book I will tell you Bobby it was a case just like you planned when you came and told me to hit the Wachie Brothers so that you break the friendship between Tommy and I. Then you sent me Fat Tony to tell me where I could find the Wackies, you remember don't you, of course you do, You thought that
- 546 -
I was afraid of you, all of you, but I have been fighting the whole bunch of you all of my life so it is nothing new to me, dog. The old man had you right and even the boys in Harlem had you right. Joe Rao was crazy about you Bobby Doyle he told me that everytime you talked you used to bore him he could not stand you when you will talk. Yes they put me wise how you accused me for drinking too much and then you come and tell me that they, the boys, said it. Joe S. told me Bobby that’s why you could not control me any more. You told Moe Block that I was out of control. He told me too, no one had any use for you. They all say that you should pray all your life for Tony Bender he kept you alive. Bobby that is the guy so pray for him, Can you imagine me getting the rap for doing business with Tony Bender, isn't it a joke. I'll tell you more later here is hoping that you choke on every bad break that you gave your former partner. Do you remember how you used to tell me how they all robbed you especially the one who cut your face he should had put the knife somewhere else. I like to tell you but I can't he was a family man. Bobby you remember in Bay Shore in L.I. they all rob Bobby isn't it a shame. I like to tell you something else about a phone number you said you forgot to give me. What a dog is all I can say you are. Bye now I'll speak to you later.
A few days later I went down to the Hollywood Restaurant about ten
- 547 -
o'clock at night and I notice some of the help were all excited and one of them came up to me as soon as he saw me and he hand me a bunch of bills they were stiff and new but packed nice in one fold. He tells me to get out of the place and give this to Tony Bender he is waiting on Thomson Street. I put it, the little bundle in my side pocked, and I drive to the Thomson Street and there Tony Bender is waiting for me. I hand him the little bundle and I head for the Villege Inn and I meet Johnnie there as there was no hard feeling because of the sharklocking. I tell him what I did and he says there is the law right now at the Hollywood but he thinks that everything is going to be OK. I asked him what happened and he tells me that some joke went in the Hollywood and he ordered a drink and he put a thousand dollar bill on the bar so the bartender asked him is this all you got and the guy opened his wallet and he shows a wallet full of thousand dollar bills. I could not understand what Johnnie was trying to say. He gets a phone call and he comes back happy, now he is more clam and he tells me the whole story he goes on to tell me that when the guy showed the wallet they gave him something and the guy fell asleep and when he woke up he found his money missing so he called the cops and now I just got a call from Tony Bender and he told me that they straighten it out for 10G. I said how much did the guy have. John said didn't you count it. I said no I did not count it what is it my business that I should count it. Johnnie looked and said you
- 548 -
right. Well John said he had 28 thousand dollars. I said what are they crazy. I never heard of such a thing. Well he said a lot of money people are coming over here from abroad and they don't know what it is all about well he said the cops got ten Grand and we still have 18 thousand. He told me that when the cops got through with him he did not know whether he was going or coming. The cops told him that he can go to jail if he can't prove who took the money. I could not stay there any longer especially when Johnie said he hoped that Tony will give him something out of it. Boy oh Boy I just went although I did not know where I was going. What people I said to myself they don’t even offer you a penny. I ain't doing much now that I got the numbers all alone. I figure that I will take care of them. I finally got Joe back and we agreed that he will work on the numbers all by himself and that he will pay the money back twenty five dollars a weeka as soon as I got the business I started to get tough breaks but I pull out of it and I am going along just making a small living out of it and keeping myself busy to the shop and taking care of the sharklocking for myself I don’t trust anyone now as I am really feeling in the dumps and as I said my best bet to keep away from everyone is to hang out with girls. The winter is going pretty fast and soon I will be in my glory running back and forth from New England. I had received a letter from Joe Bruno telling me that the
- 549 -
Duchess has been fired and that she is coming along fine. He went on to explain that the train had made a short stop and that the Duchess had bumped her knee into one of the stall wooden wall or door, I don't remember, but Joe said I'll tell you she needed to be fired because do you remember when she ran she will always start slow and then pick up speed that was because she had a fever in the right leg so as soon as I got here in Hot Spring I had her fired. I realize that Joe was telling the truth because I would see Frank get on his knees and he would be feeling her right leg. I will explain in brief what "fired" mean to a horse. When they fire a horse they put holes in the knee of a horse down to the ankle and then they let all the puss come out of the legs through the hole that they made until the fever is drawn out, sometimes it takes a year to fire a horse but the Duchess weight was only 950 pounds and that is light weight considering the weight of Armaganac, he weighed close to 11 hundred pounds. Well from the letter I figured that she will be racing in a month or two after the meet opens. I really was glad to hear that she was fired at least I got over that fear as most of the horses get fired one time or another especially when they run their best for you most of the horses are cheaters. One must know plenty to be in the horse business. I picked up everything I'm supposed to know. The only thing I don't know is to get a horse ready for a race but I know everything else. I gave my trainers two chances when they
- 550 -
lost and they were supposed to win after the two chances I will run away from them because I made up my mind that they were not going to break me with excuses. They have a million excuses when they lose. There was a fine lady at the track in New York and the race had just finished and the well dressed lady called the jockey as he was coming in and the lady had a crying voice and she asked the boy what happened and the boy told her that the horse did not want to run. I looked at the program and I notice that she was or he was trained by a Joseph Pep. I went and I saw Joe Pep and I asked about the horse that ran last. He went on to tell me that this horse is a fine horse and that he wanted to discourage this woman until she sells the horse to him. I told him that I saw the lady call the jockey over. I think I'm going to tell the lady that you are pulling the horse. My God he said if you do that I'll kill myself. If it was I that you did that to me you will not need to kill yourself, you bum I told him why don't you give the lady a chance. Hey Joe he said I ain't got a dime and this is what I was waiting for. Won't you do better with her if you made her win one race. Then she will never get rid of that horse. There I said there she is I think I will make a friend and I'm going to tell her in front of you. Please Joe I know you are kidding go ahead and go lie your heart out to her this is
- 551 -
the kind of stuff you must watch out for in the racing business if you don't know your business God will help you. You remember when the Duchess worked the way I brought a man along to make sure that Frank will not mislead me when they, the trainer, sees that you are on your toes he will be mighty careful before he will try and pull what Joe Pep was pulling on this poor lady. Little did she know that she had a 50 thousand dollar horse believe me I did not want to get a bad name on the track or I would warned her but if I did all the jocks and trainer will had never forgave me. The horse business is a good business but guys like Joe Pep ruin the business. Now that I told you about this guy one will appreciate a good guy like Frank Byer that's why I treated that old man good, Frank was calling me all winter and he was giving me tips and I will accept them and I will put them on the side. There was no sense yelling at the old man. I figured let him enjoy himself calling me. He used to reverse the charge so let him have fun. Everytime he will call he will say that horse ran a good race. I will say that I bet a few dollars not to make him feel bad. I don't know where he will get those pigs but not one of them won. There wasn't much that I could say about this particular winter as everything was the same still have the numbers not much play but at this time and being I was alone I did not
- 552 -
want any more play, the more play you have the more money you need. I feared that I had to take the money out of the sharklocking business if I lost too heavy, so I was satisfied with the six or seven hundred dollars a day business, the shop was holding its own and what I could grab here and there. Sometimes I booked a little game in the block and one will always get a proposition but I will accept only what I thought was good.
The time comes that the racing season is back and the old man calls me and he tells me that he is going to New England and see what Walter Raleigh is coming around or what to do with him. I told Frank that I will leave everything to his judgment. He called me when he got there and he told me that he saw the horse and that he had put on more weight and that it will take a year before we can get that weight off. He suggested that we will leave him on the farm and I will call Mr. Squire and I will tell him the situation and see what he has to say. He did and Mr. Squire told Frank whatever he does he will not hold him to the horse because he force the horse on to us. He did not see Joe Bruno, that he said I will leave to you he is your friend and that anything that I did will be alright with him. Now he said I'm going to Glen Cove and I'm
- 553 -
going to put up Armagnac and I'm going to the Jamaica Race Track and I'll call you. It seems that we are both interested in Armagnac you can't blame me after I saw him run that race. When he got to Jamaica Race Track he called me and I did not wait anytime before I ranto the track and I saw Armagnac, boy did he look good. We used to call him Big Red and he had two more horses in the stalls which someone else owned as I mention in the early part of this horse business. Now Frank is telling me how he is going to train Armagnac he said that he is going to take a couple of months. He need not know how fast he can run because he knows so he said every morning he will have the boy gallop him around the track for three miles, just gallop that all. I liked the idea. Now a month goes by and I go and see him again, boy was I proud. One day about a week after I was at the track I get a phone call and when I picked up the phone Frank said Hello Joe. I said yes. He said hold the wire. I held on and his brother Jake said to me Joe we are running a horse today and I want you to win some money. I asked who was talking and he said Jake. I thank him and Frank said to me hey Joe you think you are fooling me I know you did not bet on those horses that I called you all winter but this horse is going to win. I said Frank I
- 554 -
come to the track but I will bet in the City. I asked him how much should I bet he told me to bet what I like if I want to bet two dollars it was OK with him. I just want to tell you Frank said I'm not going to bet other people horses any more only my brother and our horses. OK I said I'll make up my mind. I'll see you tonight at your hotel in Long Island. The horse was ten to one. I almost died when I saw the price on the sheet. I don't remember what I bet but I know that I had five hundred dollars for Frank. That night I went to Long Island and I brought my wife along as she liked Frank, you had to like him if anyone knew him. I reached Frank's hotel and I saw a crowd in front of the Hotel. One of his brothers I think it was Nate he called me on the side and he hit me hard but did not know it. He told me that Frank is gone. I did not understand. I said what do you mean. Nate said he had a big bet on that horse that won today he had also people bet for him they all wanted to see Frank make some money. He promised to quit betting race for race and when he saw this horse that won today in front all by himself at the wire he just collapsed and he got a heart attack. When you go into his room don't let him know he is got about a half hour to live. He kept asking for you all the time when he got news that you came he wanted to get up out of bed so be careful Nate said if you
- 555 -
have any money to give him hand it to his wife when you walk in. I'll talk to you about Armagnac when you come out of the room. Well I said I am stunned. I'm just don't know how to take things any more. I'll see you when I come out he told me I'll be in there after you. When I went in the room Frank wanted to get up and he was shouting he won Joe he won. I had tears in my eyes but I could not say anything the room was full. I did not know that he had a big family. Jake came over and all he said he won Joe but we are going to lose Frank. He said it in a low voice. I sat by his side and Frank said that the horse Armagnac is going to win. I said you don’t care about the Duchess. He said Joe Armagnac is a black sheep and I like black sheep by that I mean he said he is got his own bad habit and one must watch him and that is what I must do is watch him when I get out of this bed I think that I'm going to sleep with him so I said to his wife is it all right with you she said I love Armagnac too. Frank can sleep there that is for sure I told Frank that I brought him a present and that I gave it to the misses. Frank said you did not need to do it. Frank I said I know how you stand I want to see you all dressed up. Did you do OK he said Joe when I saw him come in the stretch all by himself I just could not
- 556 -
take it. I've been so used to losing that when he won I was thinking of you I finally gave you a winner. Then I was waved away and I excuse myself with Frank I told him that I'll be back. He said don’t go away. I said I'm staying with you today. He looked at me and he said you like black sheeps too don't you. Well he said I've been a black sheep all my life and my wife always forgave me. I can't remember her name but she was a fine woman. I went in the other room and Nate told me any moment now. I asked is the doctor here. He said hes there he is and he pointed at a man and I just looked and Nate told me Joe I can't take care of Armagnac. I have a big stable and my boss said no good I want to warn you Armagnac is at his best, he is sharp and fit. Bring him to Jersey where I've got my horses. He, Nate, was at Garden State Park at that time. Two reasons why I want you to bring him there one is that I could watch him and the other. The track is deep and it will be just made to order for Armagnac. Now he told me don't try to find out how fast he can run you know he can run. Armagnac has a bad habit he gives you all he got and he leaped when he runs and he kicks his front legs. Now Frank had a special bit made for him one when you pull on the rein will hurt his mouth so he would have to slow up when this is over I'll be in New York and I'll stop at the track and I'll show you everything. As we
- 557 -
were talking someone came and gave us the news that the end if there. He just passed away so peaceful someone said. Well I figured it is a matter of family. I told the wife that I'll see her when it is all over and I said good-bye and I left. I was in a fog and I did not talk much. I just said everytime I get a friend I lose him. I don't know I said I just don't know. At least I said it could had happened after the horse won. Poor guy all he wanted to do is show me the way the horse was going to win. A few days later we met at the New York track and Nate told me if I wanted he will have the horse shipped to Garden State Park Race Track and in the meanwhile he will look for someone that he thinks will be OK to handle Armagnac. He said he will put the horse on the list in the front office and when a Van has enough horses to be shipped they will pick up the horse and he will be on his way if I ship him alone it will cost more money. Its OK I said. In the meanwhile there will be someone here at the New York tack to gallop him in the morning OK. I'll wait for your call and I will take a ride here every day and I will get more acquainted with him. I won't be able to come early only if it was important. In a week Armagnac was at the Jersey track. I went out to the track and I met Nate and he introduced me to a Mike Crusco and I did not like him but Nate called
- 558 -
me on the side and he told me to go to New England and see the guy that Frank introduced to you. That's a good idea I said, Gee I forgot all about him we should had shipped him to New England instead of this track. Nate said I'll put this kid here to watch over him. I'll try and win a race for you as this is the track for this horse. Come with me and I'll show you so we went to the track and I looked over the ground. He was right. When one walked you could feel yourself sinking in the ground. Now I speak to Mr. Crucuso and I tell him I'm talking to you in front of Mr. Nate if you hurt this horse and it is the fault of your take off I swear to you I'll break your neck. I know that every trainer has a touting list you do not need anyone I will make us enough money. We have been hanging on with this horse for two years and I lost his master. I want to take care of his wife with this race he will be about 50 to 1 so can you follow the orders. He said don't worry you see Mike the main thing is don't try to find out how fast he can run or he will live his race on the track. This horse is one in a hundred. He thinks that he is going to run his heart out. He does not want to know anything so we have a special bit and Nate will use his rider as I don't trust any rider unless he is recommended by someone
- 559 -
and that someone is Nate and he spoke for you now don't let him to look bad again I'll tell you run if you hurt this horse. We don't need you to tell us how he could run. We paid the price to find out. Now don't you start and besides there is plenty of sentimental behind this horse. OK Nate did I speak. OK Nate said he told him the same thing you need any money I asked Mike. He asked me when will you be back. I said in a few days maybe three or four at the most. Give me fifty dollars he said so I gave him the money and I said Nate will give you the food for him. You need not worry about it. Nate told him the same. I left for New England and I went and see Phil. He had heard about Frank's death, of course, he felt bad and I tell him about Armagnac and he tells me that Frank had told him to be ready as he had Armagnac in the best shape of his career. Phil tells me that Frank owed him some money and if he takes the horse he will want it. I asked him how much and he said 190 dollars. Oh I said that's easy. OK he said ship me the horse, I stayed in New England over night and I came home. When I came home there was a call the day before that I should go to Garden State as soon as I get in from New England. I asked who called and all she knew that it was a friend. I got to Garden
- 560 -
State that same evening, I'll say it was about seven o'clock and I went to Nate's barn and as Nate was not there the Groom told me that the punk Mike Crucuso took Armagnac out on the track and when he worked he went 5 eighth of a mile in one minute flat everyone on the track was sore as hell. This guy was telling me after that work if he did not get hurt will had killed his price. I shouted is he hurt bad. Come let go to the stall and when I got there there was Armagnac laying on the floor. I look for Mike but he had gone with all his clothes and I heard he went to a track so far away that it will take a week to get there. There were about a dozen trainers around the stall. Gee one minute flat that's stake horse time especially at this track they win here in 103. My God with a push this horse would had went in 58 seconds. One of Mike's friends came over and he was telling me it really wasn't Mike's fault he forgot to put the double bit on and he could not hold the horse. When did he go down I asked. He told me after he passed the five eighth of a mile. Boy the poor kid just packed and beat it. Now I go and wait for Nate. I was in a daze. I did not know how to think. Well I used to tough breaks and after I get myself together I was thinking of the Duchess, poor thing I said to myself she did her best
- 561 -
for us and we don’t give her a rumble. Well one cannot blame us when we work the Duchess together with Armagnac the poor thing could not keep up. Actually Armagnac was a handicap horse as a three year old Armagnac ran with the top horses in New York and won plenty of races. It was only that he broke down that Frank had a chance to get him. Rich stables have no time for cripples, they either get rid of them or if they are top stoke horses they put them in stud and they make money in breeding them. Armagnac was a gelding he could not have a youngster. Joe Bruno was late coming to New England but by this time I went and see if he got to New England to my surprise he went to Garden State but I wanted to see the man about Walter Raleigh. I wanted to pay him and I told him that I did not want the horse because it will take too long to get that weight off and if I knew he could run I will do it. I went and see Phil and I told him what happened and Phil asked me about Knights Duchess and I told him that Joe Bruno had her. I went to Garden State and I saw Joe and the Duchess she looked so good that I forgot Armagnac. I told Joe if he thought that he could win with the Duchess in Garden State he had another guess coming. I told him the track is too heavy for her. He said he will give her one race and then go to New England. He told me the bill on the Duchess is pretty high so I
- 562 -
asked him if he wanted any money. He said no that he will take it out of the purse. I got in touch with Mr. Squire and I told him that I don't want Walter Raleigh and that I owe some money on the Duchess and that I will pay him. I'll give him some money now if he wants it. He said don’t worry about me let me know if you want any more horses. I told him only a good one. I want good horses because if they ain't good they break your heart. He said I was not kidding. OK I told him if the Duchess wins don't tie the purse up because Joe Bruno is going to get even he said. I understand the Duchess entered in Garden State and she ran a good race she went to the front, stayed there a half mile and then stopped. Joe said you know your horse. I told him she likes a hard track. He asked me if I bet any money. I said not even a cent. OK Joe here is what I'm going to do I'm going to run her four or five times and I'm going to make her look bad and when she is about 30 to 1 I'll cut her lose. I said fine this way you give me time to take care of my business. OK Joe when I see her entered I won't even come out to New England I'll wait for your call. OK he said but I told him I'll call you once in a while just to see how things are going OK. I'm leaving and I'm going totake care of my business.
- 563 -
I have been neglecting my business in the last couple of months. I came home and I forgot the horses. I always have will power. I must not let the horses get me no matter how much I love them and I love the horses. He ran the Duchess in New England and as long as I got no call I just did not bother. The numbers were not so hot, the shop was closed for a while and I was going to the race track as there wasn’t much to do in the afternoon. Joie will take care of the numbers and I had a little horse play but nothing to talk about at this time. As long as there isn't much to say I just as well tell as to what happened with the Duchess. I was getting tough breaks and the only thing I had going was the sharklocking and I was drawing a little too much so I was looking to push a race as Joe Bruno tell me that if I want he will call me on some of his horse. I said no I really did not trust him with his own horses, people are funny but I am fooling around with Gaf and I'm getting pretty good horses from him and I am doing pretty good. I always did good, if I had a bad week I will come back strong the next week. Nothing new around and horses and numbers were the most exciting thing around. I was going from one joint to another at night but I was very careful.
- 564 -
Now Knights Duchess is entered and Joe call me from New England early in the morning and I hear a shout on the phone. This is the day is all I heard. I asked is this you Joe he said yes. He asked me if I was going out there I said if you had called me yesterday I would had come but I don't want to break my neck I will bet here and I will insure her so I'll get the track odds. He said here is a horse in the first race parlay it with the Duchess. I said Joe as I'm talking to you I notice you have a dark horse in the race, He asked who is that. I said Wanna Highrow. He said don't worry you don't know your horse. Listen Joe I'm expert please don't fail me. Let her go today without trying to win. Wanna Highgrow just came up there from New York, according to her past performance, Wanna Highgrow ran in good company. Don’t worry Joe said. OK I said go ahead. I bet all over the city 20 dollars here, 40 dollars there. Then Mike Capollo's brother came and he said my brother will take all you got on your horse so I gave him 200 dollars to win, 100 dollars for second and 100 dollars for show, all insured. Until now I don't know how much I had to win on her at that time we could get a description of the race. As it was the last race it was about a quarter to six when I got the
- 565 -
off time and they were running. Here is the call of the race at the quarter, Wanna Highgrow six lengths and two more horses were running second and third. The call for the stretch Wanna Highgrow still six lengths and another horse running second and Knights Duchess running third and closing very fast. You can imagine how I felt when the guy on the wire said its a photo finish between Knights Duchess and Wanna Highgrow. Usually the one who gets the first call is the winner. You will notice that the Duchess got the first call. Then the guy said Wanna Highgrow the winner and Knights Duchess is second. She paid 44 dollars for place and 18 dollars for show. That night in the Telegraph she shows that she went off at 79 to l. I heard that Mile's brother almost got a heart attack while the photos were being developed. I was sick that mare meant everything. The next day I collected as I still win a couple of thousand dollars and I took a ride to New England. I don't remember what track it was but it was toward New England, could had been Surford down in Boston. When I get to the track I see Joe's girl first as Joe is busy and she tell me the whole story. She says there he is the bluffer he wanted to circle the whole field and the jock was standing there with his head down. He did not ride this day. She said he had plenty of room when they made
- 566 -
the turn for the stretch, Instead of him taking the inside he takes the outside and it cost us the race. She took a look at him while she was talking and she chase him. Get out of here she told him that was the last race you will ever ride for Joe Bruno. The boy was the same boy that rode her the first time. Now Joe walks over and he asked his girl did you explain everything to Joe. She told him that she did. When the Jock had a chance to talk to me he told me that he did know the horse still belonged to me. Oh God I said don't tell me that you went on the outside on purpose. He said I knew this was my last ride, Joe Bruno told someone. I'm sorry he said. God forbid I told him if he should find out what is it. What is the trouble he said don't you see the way they treat me that is the way she always talks to me. You know if you were listed as the Duchess rider I would had come up but there was no boy in the newspaper entry. I start to tell the kid about Mike Crurarco and he tell me that he heard that he went to Florida at this time of the year so I tell him as soon as I get a chance I'll fly down there for I'll want for the end of the summer. Well I tell the kid if I get another horse you can ride for me. He said I would be glad to so I shake hands with him and I go back and I have a talk with
- 567 -
Joe Bruno and I leave, I made a few small bets some I won and some I lost and that evening I went home. Before I forget the jockey told me before I left that he found out that Joe Bruno bet on both of the horses. Well I knew that Joe Bruno bet three horses in one race at times. I was thinking of saving myself for betting on Wanna Highgrow but I didn't because the Duchess was such a long shot that even if she only came third I won't lose any money. The only way she could hurt me was for her to come out of the money. As long as I am on horse subjects I like to tell the reader a couple of stories that are well-known among top horsemen and top bookmakers, First, I'll tell you about a Freddy Bartman which later became a friend of mine and I loan him money, He was working in a big wire room up in Yonkers which had about 24 phones and the apartment they worked in was rented by a friend of mine that was in the mob and he belonged with us downtown with Tony Bender and he was a partner of Bobby Doyle.
[Handwritten note in margin: "Took out Copocerio story + put it later"]
Here is the story of Freddie Bartman. He had a lot of money and went for most of it on the horses. He was a big man. He was about six feet 2 or 3, I'm not sure, and had real class. When he was down to his last couple of hundred thousand dollars he got an idea I will
- 568 -
tell it to you the way he personally told me. He bought himself nine horses all under different names. When they were all ready and fit he entered them all in one race so I asked him how did you get them all in one race. Well he said I picked from the book. As you know the book used to come out once a week, now I think its once a month. Horses must run in races where they belong. For instance, if a horse had not won a race in that particular race in that certain year they will put on the book a race for none winners of a race in 1964. To give a trainer a chance to win a race when he does win he cannot run in a non winner race any more. They put these races on at least once a month, sometimes twice a month. All of Freddie's horses belonged in the race. He put them in. He said when he found the race he wanted he picked up the phone and he called them all and told them to enter their horses in the first race or wherever it was, could had been the last race, it did not make any difference, Now they all entered and there were three strong horses in the same race. One guy, he, Freddie, had to give him the purse of the race to make him scratch, the other two he got them out by payiny so all that was left in the race were Freddie Bartman's nine horses. A cinch doesn't it look that way?
- 569 -
Well, he told the boys which one had to win and as the horses were off and running the horse that was supposed to win got off to a comfortable start and he was enjoying a fine lead and in the stretch he was about eigh lengths in front and when he got about 30 feet from the wire he trip and went down. The other jockeys did not have any choice but to come in and who cared who won, Freddy Bartman lost his bet. One will ask a guy like Freddie a few questions like I did. I asked him why didn't he bet on two horses, one with a big bet and the other with a bet incase of anything - same his money. Now knowing stories like I just told you how can I bet enough on a horse to ruin me. I dare not no matter how good a horse is there is no sure thing.
In writing about Freddie Bartman I remembered Charlie Copocerio as Charlie Copocerio was a friend of Freddie Bartman. Bobby Doyle introduced Copocerio to me and he was one of the boys that Bobby Doyle brought out to Mr. Maranagano the day that he brought Buck, Pete and Johnnie D, and had them put in the mob, in other words, made them a member. Bobby didn't know that the old man asked me if they were the boys that went out stealing with me, After I met Charlie Copocerio a dozen times he started to tell
- 570 -
me that he was not happy. He thought that I was a nice guy and that he will like to do business with me. I thought that Charlie had a lot of class but I told him that I could not get together with him as Bobby Doyle will have a fit. Anyway he will tell me that Bobby put Charlie and Vito on his shoulder and that they were working in the office on commission, in other words they were not actually booking, only some bets, the bets that Freddy Bartmen will tell the office to book. Charlie felt that this was too big for him, he just wanted to work sort of privately, not make a big splash. I used to tell Charlie why don’t you tell Bobby. He will say he did but anyway he thought that Bobby Doyle put him in the mob just so that he can bulldoze him. Gee Charlie I like you and all I can tell you is that I'm all confused myself so I told him why don't you go and see Charlie Lucky. I thought that Charlie Lucky was a fair guy. He said he was thinking about see Charlie, the poor guy was always in a fog. Everything I do he will say Bobby wants half. I don't understand what a fool I was by not telling Charlie Lucky everything that was going on. I was intended to tell Charlie Lucky but I was waiting for time. I was afraid that I was in the middle before I knew it Charlie Lucky went
- 571 -
to jail. Well anyway I tell you what happened to Charlie Copocerio, at least what Bobby Doyle told me. He told me that Charlie Copocerio got into an argument with two plain clothesmen and that they beat Charlie to death. Of course Charlie Lucky by this time was in jail. I listen to Bobby Doyle's story and I will laugh. He will ask me what was I laughing at I will say can I laugh. He thought that he was impressing me by telling me funny stories. Well, I did not know Charlie Copocerio too well. I went to the wake with Bobby and there wasn't five guys there. This was another of Bobby Doyle's partners. Everyone is wrong except Bobby Doyle, Tony Bender and Vito Genovese.
Now I'll tell you about the two Englishmen - these two won their bet. I got this from the old time trainer and old timer bookmaker when there was no machines in New York City. A couple of Englishmen also lost a ton of money owning horses and betting on them. One day they also came up with an idea they had two horses left in their barn, one was worth one thousand dollars and the other was worth ten thousand so they put them in the van before they put them in the van they entered both in a race, one in the early races
- 572 -
and the other in the late races, They were stalling their horses in another track other than the track the horses were supposed to run. So when they were on their way to the track where they were supposed to run they started to paint their horses, as in those days they did not have lots of rules they have today. They paint the ten thousand dollar horse to look like the one thousand dollar horse and when they reach the receiving stable the ten thousand dollar horse went in the barn where the one thousand dollar horse was supposed to be. Now when the one thousand dollar race comes up the ten thousand dollar horse went to the post in place of the one thousand dollar horse. Now the two Englishmen, one took one end of the track and the other took the other end of the track, as I said there were no machines at that time so they got opening price on their horse. Now when the race is run the Englishmen's horse went to the front and won with ease. The two Englishmen collected their bet and they left the both horses on the track and they went back to England. Don't ask what happened to the horse that was in the late race - well he was so far back that's how they got wise right away. Still the boy could had pulled that horse and again it will had not been a sure thing.
Now here is one that Fred Keats from the former Daily Mirror told. There was a horse they ran somewhere around the forties, I don't remember just when. His name was George C. I got a tip from one of the boys from Forham. He called me and he told me that he was broke and that he had a horse that was running as a ringer. He said the horse is worth 50 thousand dollars and they are running
- 573 -
him for twenty-five hundred dollars and he will be at least fifty to one. I know that this guy is no phony and he is broke so I asked him how much did he want me to bet for him. He told me a couple of hundred dollars. I asked him how much. He said he is a long shot so bet me 250 dollars. I said OK. I called Moe and I told him to bet a thousand dollars on the horse. I told him to spread it around. Then I told him to come to the track in New York as George C was running in Detroit and the post time for him to run was 4:30 o'clock. So Moe will have plenty of time as when I called Moe it was about 12 o'clock in the afternoon, I called Moe because if I bet I will make the horse hot. When Moe came to the track he told me that all he could bet was 750 dollars as people were afraid as he was a long shot. Well I was satisfied and I did not try to bet to the bookie on the New York track because they take bets on all tracks. About five o'clock I found out the horse but I could not find out how much he paid so I left the track as I could not stay there anymore I was too nervous. When I found out what he paid I got sick, he only paid two to one so I had to give my friend 500 dollars and I won one thousand dollars. Gee I thought I was rich. About a week later I see George C enter again, this time he was in for 35 hundred dollars. Well I knew what kind of a horse he is supposed to be so I bet a couple of hundred dollars on George C. He won again and he paid five to one and again he won by a head. A week later he was running again this time he was in for 45 hundred dollars claiming. Again I bet a couple of hundred dollars and again he won by a head. The horse paid five to one again, but that night
- 574 -
Fred Keats from the Daily Mirror blasted the horse but he did not mention his name. He just said that a horse won today and I know that he ran under another name. He said I promise you racing fans that I will expose him as soon as I will get the evidence. It took Fred Keats about three months but he came up with the evidence. The jockey got arrested, the trainer also got arrested and the day that Fred Keats exposed all this ringer business a horse ran in New York and he ran in a stake race and got beat a head and the horse name was Time Signal, this was the horse that ran in the name of George C. Now I did not follow the case but I guess Fred Keats can tell you what happened, anyone who is interested. This what I just told you ought to teach some of the horse players a lesson. Now I will go on where I left off.
I told Joe Bruno to run the Duchess and try to win everytime he enter her in a race. I told him that I did not care to bet any more. She is now four years old and I want him to get even as I want the horse back near the end of the season. He had not done anything yet. Now he asked me if it will be OK for him to give Knights Duchess to a friend of his, another friend of his is going to Charlestown, West Virginia. He said it a hard track and she will win a couple of races and he will get even and he will give her back to me on the way to Charlestown. The new trainer put her in a race overnight in Wheeling Downs. This trainer name was C. Fettner. She won the race in Wheeling Downs and he left there and he went to Charles Town, I must say that everytime she ran he will call me the first time he enter her in Charles Town she won and paid 18 dollars.
- 575 -
He called me the night before and told me she likes the track and he thought she was going to win. The following week she won again. To make it short she won seven races in a row and one second. They used to call her the Queen of CharlesTown. In the meanwhile I got a trainer that someone introduce me when I had the Paradise Restaurant. I told him where to pick her up at the end of the season. He did and we put her on a farm to rest her for the winter. That winter I went to Florida and I tried to claim something good but I could not get a good tip as to who to claim so I came back. After I was there two weeks now the war was started in Europe and we were not in it yet before I left Florida. I notice that I was being tailed but I did not pay any attention as I was not doing anything wrong even one of the jockey notice that they were tailing me. A friend of mine had told me to give someone a message. Maybe I said to myself this could had been the cause of the tail. As I said I didn't do anything wrong so I did not care. I was not doing much when I came back only the sharklocking business. I never neglected this business because it was my living while I hustle here and there. I won't have any part of unions, even if I had to steal. I put up a horse room with Buck, 109 Street, and that did not last long. The heat with the Police was too much so I quit. It was getting so that I was going to quit all kind of gamble. I mean the booking part of gamble but as far as betting horses I never quit because I always made money betting and I did not need to pay anyone betting but when you book horses or numbers you can't come around too much. Now as I said things were slow but Matty my partner in the shop
- 576 -
got work and the factory is opened and we have all Spanish girls working on the machines. We only had 18 sewing machines and we had about six special, by special I mean buttonhole machines, and so on we did not want a big shop. We were satisfied. Sometimes I go to the shop and I stay there all day just so that I don't see anyone. The summer was due in a month or so and I sent this trainer to West Virginia to pick up the Duchess and they won't let me in Suffolk Downs Race Track because they think the Duchess belongs to Joe Bruno because he had her under his name when he was racing her for me. I knew the owner of the track and I went and see her as she knew Joe Bruno and she knew that Knights Duchess belong to me. I tell her they won't let her in to the track and she told me that it will take a little time. So I could not leave her on the train so I told Tom Foster to take her to Pasco Race Track in Rhode Island, Providence.
In the meantime I told Tom to get her ready for a race. Now I was hanging out on the race track. I was going from one track to another and there was talk about us going to war so I was trying to put over a killing as I figured if we go to war there won't be anyone around to pick up the numbers because already they were quitting because they were getting a good job. Numbers are only good in depression. Really hardly no one wants to fool around unless one is desperate. The Duchess is easy to get ready as I said she was light weighter and in a couple of weeks she was ready for a race and I put her in a short race to get her sharp but the kids fooled me by the kids I mean the jocks. I told Tom to let her as I want to give her some speed but the kids knowing her from Charles Town
- 577 -
pulled their own killing. I came home and I told Tom we won't bet a dime. She was in a race over her head. He agreed. I remember I was on Broadway when I bought the late paper to find out if she beat at least two horses when I saw that she won and paid about 20 some odd dollars. I got sick. I figured right away that the jock did it. Well I did not mind. I said to myself I'm going to take the purse and I'm going to bet it all on her the next time she runs. So I put her in the following week and I played smart I wanted to get to know the jocks so I only bet a hundred dollars and they did not give her a chance and she finish third but the following week I put the same boy, this boy I remember his name, he was E. Wright. I went in the jockey room and I ask to speak to the jockey. I tell him last week you rode this horse and she was the best horse in the race and you had her pocket and you brought her in third and I did not make a beef is that right. He said yes now today you have the best horse in the race again. All I want to know is can I bet my money if I can't it is all right. I don't want to lose my money. The boy looked at me and he said will you give me a bet. I sure would I told him, how much do you want. He said 50 dollars. I said I give you a hundred. Ok he said that he is going right to the front with her. He asked me where will I be after the race as there was one more race after the Duchess race. I pointed to a spot and I told him that I would meet him there and I went in the club house and I tried to get to the phone but they won't let me use it. They told me they don't allow anyone phoning because they don’t allow any bets on the phone. So I got mad and I bet on the track. I was trying to keep the
- 578 -
price up by betting in New York. I bet eight hundred dollars on the Duchess, all on the nose. See I was happy, I figured I made contact with the rider if everything goes OK. I was standing by the rail and I wanted to see how she will go to the post and I hear a soldier arguing with his girl, his girl was telling him to bet on Dobberup the favorite and the soldier was saying that he wanted to bet on Knights Duchess. Well I heard it over and over again so I call the kid and I ask him how much have you got in your pocket. He said 50 dollars. I told him go and bet the fifty on Knights Duchess and don't worry. He asked me who I was. I told him the owner of Knights Duchess. Gee he said, I never bet fifty dollars. Well bet it now and don't do it again. He ran to the window and he came back with five ten dollar tickets and his girl was looking at me puzzled. When they start at a mile and a 16 they start right in front of the stands. As they mst go around twice as it was a small track. The horses go in the gate and they off. Knights Duchess goes right to the front as they pass us and when they come around the first time she was ten lengths in front. The poor kid was scared and when they came in the stretch she still was leading by ten lengths and she won the same way. Now a guy came over after the race and he said thank you. I had forgot all about him. He was an owner and he had a horse in the last race and we had made a deal if I let him know what my horse was going to do he will let me know what he was going to do in the last race. So he told me to wait where I was and he will be back. He came back and he told me that his horse is going to win. The same way my horse won, I bet four hundred on the horse and I call the kid and I tell
- 579 -
him to take his fifty out and put the winning on the horse in the last race. I can't remember his name but he won the same way. My horse paid two to one so I gave the jockey two hundred and I told him that I was going to use him all the time. The horse in the last race also paid two to one so I had a good day. Then I get the bad news Knights Duchess was claimed on me. I lost her. Gee I tried to see the guy but no one wanted to tell me who he was. Then I hear that this guy came from all the way from Charles Town to claim her for breeding purposes. I had her since she was one and one half years old. I lost her at six years old. It was just like losing a kid so I made up my mind that I'm going to get another horse. I had an interest with some other horse but it does not pay for me to talk about them so when I got to the City I called Mr. Squire and I paid him the six hundred I still owed him on the Duchess. He told me that I did not need to pay the six hundred dollars because he did not have any papers to show that I owed him the money. I told him that paper is just paper that my word is better than wasting paper. He said that Frank had told him that you don't care to do any business with paper well that's the way we are. Then he went on to tell me that the Duchess won quite a few races for me. I said she was a good horse if you get the track for her she had small feet and she needed a hard track. Well I said Mr. Squire if you come along with something good you can call me. I had met Mr. Squire at 6 Street and Broadway in Charles Restaurant. We shake hands and we departed, Now I'm free and I ain't got any horse so I got and I take care of my little numbers. There wasn't much to take care of as by this
- 580 -
time we about to go to war, in fact that winter we were bombed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. I told you I was not doing hardly anything for about five or six years just what I had and trying to take care of what I had. The shop started to move right after Christmas of 1941 and the numbers were going very bad. I could not keep up with my payoff. They were hitting for 21 days. I'11 never forget it before I got a winning day for myself. Now I hear that the boys are selling ration gas stamps and I thought they were crazy as it looked petty to me but as I was still getting hit hard with the numbers and I got out of bed one day as I had to answer the phone about seven runners called me and they told me that they opened a job in Orangeburg, N.Y., and all they had to do was check in and go home and then at the end of the week kickback 15 dollars and go home with 135 dollars. They went on to tell me that lots of guys that I knew were up there. Everybody is quitting the numbers. They are just sick of the cops shaking them down. Now my help had orders to go and see Paul, 116 Street, whenever he needed money to pay off on the numbers and also paid Paul at the end of the week whatever cash he had left from the business. He did not realize how much he borrowed from Paul until I checked everything was OK no monkey business but just that the numbers were going extra bad. Now I was living in the Mosolaedou Parkway section and my garage was at Western Ave, and Bainbridge Ave, and the garage man was asking me everytime he saw me for gas ration stamps but I will pass it up and will say if I hear of any I will let you know. He will tell me Gee Joe you know a lot of people. I know you can get them I will tell him that I did
- 581 -
not want to bother with stamps and besides I don't like to fool around in my own back yard. Now I had another guy bothering me. He was telling me how much he was making but I will just laugh. I went so bad with the numbers that one night I asked the garage guy to write down what kind of stamps and how many gallons of gas and how much did he want to pay after he write it down for me. I went to the guy in Forham and I gave him the piece of paper but I did not give him the paper that the garage man had given me I just handed him the amount and type of stamp I think it was AC stamp, I'm not sure but I'm sure that he wanted ten thousand gallons of gas. He started to figure and he told me how much it will cost me. Well it showed that I earn 189 dollars but I told Johnnie that was his last name and he had a partner and his partner was a member and his name was Frank. I told Johnnie that I was making only 50 dollars. He told me that he gave me the best price and he could not take another 1/8 off. I told him I did not understand what he meant by an 1/8. He said that's the profit, we only are working on a half cent on your deal or I said this is a small percentage deal he said you just get a big order and see how much the small percentage will bring you. He said that ten thousand gallon is a small deal in the meanwhile I was thrilled with 189 dollar profit. After all what was I doing for it just to know people. One guy will give me the money and the other will give me the stamps. I said OK give me the stamps and I'll be back with the money. He sent someone somewhere and in a little while I got the stamps. I brought them to the garage man and he paid me. I took 189 dollars out of the money and I gave
- 582 -
Johnnie the rest of the money. I don't remember the amount of cash was involved. I only remember the profit. Boy I threw the numbers to the dogs and I started to hustle the stamp business. My next deal I earned one thousand seven hundred dollars. Boy I started to pay Paul off and I went and see everyone I knew. Frank asked me to go partner with him. He said I know what you can do once you know what it is all about. Frank wasn't well liked and he tip me off to all the stamp dealers. It wasn't long before he ran out of stamps and he told me who are the only ones who have them. I went and see them and they laughed as soon as they saw me. They said they expected to see me as they heard that I went partners with Frank. They said that they not blame me after all you don't know the business and after you get started you can go on your own. I yes them but I am the kind of guy that appreciates anything anyone does for me, so they told me send your man and we will give him what we can. We have a lot of friends to take care of some times the market is dry and the price goes up on the stamps. Now I find out that there is a market. Gee I said to Frank here I was wasting my time on the numbers. Frank said I told you right along. Yes you are right. Now I got to go down town to Newark, New Jersey, Fort Lee, New Jersey and Hackensack, New Jersey. Johnnie come and he said that they gave him enough to make a couple of thousand and with no cash they said Joe will pay us they did it to make me feel good, or look good I should say. See Frank told Johnnie I told you Joe is a hustler. I said you don't know what a beating I've been taking with the numbers, Yes Frank
- 583 -
said I heard the kid that works in the office told me. I said to Frank you must had been praying for those numbers to go bad. The best thing that could had happened to you he said, you are already even and you are only in the business two weeks. You are not kidding. He said a lot of guys were telling me how did you get together with that guy. Well, I will say I got my own mind and I did not see any friends of mine call me, that is for sure. Well Frank told me that he expects a deal that he thought that we will get rich but we need a detective that we can trust. I said I got a couple of detectives that I could trust. He said when the time comes I'll let you know. Two weeks pass when the guy from Newark calls me and he tells me that he just got a call and he is going on a big deal and as soon as he will get it he will call me and give me some stamps and I will be able to make some good money, by that he meant a lot of money. Well he called me back and he told me that the difference in the deal was five thousand dollars. He said they went all they could go but the thieves wanted their price. They offered 90 thousand dollars and the thieves wanted 95 thousand dollars so the difference was five thousand dollars. Do you know what happened as the thieves came from Long Island they were taking the stuff back to their hideout when they were on the bridge crossing the 59 Street Bridge, they got stopped for crossing the white line and they got arrested and I remember just one guy as I knew him from Sing Sing, his name was Louie Mongo, and he received 15 years in Sing Sing as they had robbed a safe in an OPA office. At that time they were keeping the stamps in the safe at all the OPA offices but
- 584 -
they had so many burglaries that they started to put the stamps in the bank at night and put them back in the offices in the day just as though it was cash.
Now the OPA men were the connection and they were making a lot of money some deals that they made amounted to a couple of thousand dollars. Now there was stamps that were supposed to be burned. They were the stamps that the gas stations turned in. Now wherever it was that they burned then I know it was in Jersey some where, guys were going there to get a job so that they could steal the stamp and make money. Those stamps were what we call washout. Even though there was the car number on every stamp it did not make any difference. Some of those guys got rich going and working where they burn the stamps. I don't know what they called the place but all I know they were very little burned, the stamps kept going back and forth. When I learned all about the business I found out that one bad buy can't break you, first of all if the price was high and they ran high, for instance, a guy will tell you that all he had was one hundred thousand gallons of gas ration stamps and the market is about 22 cents and the same guy who sells you the stamps calls another guy or maybe a couple of guys it will hurt you once you make a deal, a deal is a deal one cannot do anything about it. They will tell you it is your hard luck we got stuck with them. So I got together with the main guys in the
- 585 -
business and I will call them before I made any buys. My phone bill during the stamp days sometimes came to a hundred dollars There was only three guys in New York that will lay out any amount of cash but the three of them got together and they made the market. How will they make the market it was easy. They did not sell to everybody, if someone went to them and wanted to make a buy they will tell him we ain't got anything but I think that Joe is got something. Then the guy will call me and put me wise and he will tell me what to charge when he come, if he came, I will tell him that I only have a small amount if you want them all I'll give them to you. If he took them and I was really short then I will call the guy that called me. I know a lot of guys that got ruined especially a certain stamp called B2. The boys in Jersey called everyone but the wise guys they called all in between guys and the people in Jersey told each and every one of them were getting a break when one of these guys called me once and he told me that he was the only one who had them I told him that I will call him in about fifteen minutes. When I made my call I called the guy back and I told him, Max be careful they are all over the city. He told me that it could not be. Max I said you know that I haven't any stamps so why should I kid you get out and start selling because there are millions of B2 all over the city. Later I found out the people in Jersey had six million gallons. The way
- 586 -
I understand they came direct from the OPA office. In one day the market went down from 7 cents to two cents. Go and get even if a guy bought say 100 thousand he loses 5 thousand dollars. One goes in business to make money not invest and then close almost everything. What if a guy bought a couple of hundred thousand, see what I mean. Now this was not the only stamp around there was shoe, sugar, meat, oil, canned goods and maybe a few more kind of stamps and there was also counterfeit stamps of all kind. I never put on hand any other stamp but gas stamps. Everything else was dangerous and I never fool around with any counterfeit stamps. I'm going to tell you about my garage man. He kept asking me for meat stamps. I told him that I'll see what I can do. I find out that there was nothing around only counterfeit. He said don't bother. I said don't worry I won't bother I wasn't going to be crazy. I'm doing fine who needs counterfeit. Well he finally got some meat stamps, at least that is what he told me. I asked him if they were good stamps. He said that they were but although it did not sound right to me but I forgot about it. Not long after he told me I read in the papers that he got arrested for the counterfeit meat stamps. That night when I pulled in the garage I saw his brother and as he had to drive me home I asked him what happened. Herman and he told me Gee Joe you are a good fellow so I took the hint and I said to him
- 587 -
did Herman tell you that I told him that the meat stamps are all counterfeit. Yes he said he told me and I told him, why don't you listen to Joe he knows what he is doing but Herman told his brother that the guy who gave him the stamps did not know that they were counterfeit. Well that's why one has to know what he is doing they ain't going to sell me counterfeit meat stamps and tell that they good when they not. That is the catch in this business. One must not fool and mislead another for the sake of a few dollars. You know what I mean.
He just shook his head. The next night I pulled in the garage Herman was there he said Hello to me and he also told me you are a good fellow Joe. Well Herman I said I don't want to rub it in but I told you that there were no good meat stamps around and when you told me that they were good well what can I say you see Herman if it was I who got arrested for counterfeit there won't be any bail on me. You see what I mean you got a thousand dollar bail. What made you so desperate that you had to get those meat stamps. He said the bum parks in this garage and he use to bother me every night. Well we stopped in front of my building and we talked for a while then he said so long Joe I may never see you again. He said that he disgraced the family and that he is going away and sell his share in the garage. That afternoon when I called for the car one of the help delivered the car to me and he told me did you hear about Herman
- 588 -
I said hear what. He said right after he drove you home last night he went into the basement and shot himself in the right temple. Boy was I stunned. I just remained like a fool. When I got to the garage I heard that his brother was in the office. I got out of the car and I went and see him. I shook his hand and I told him how sorry I was and he asked me tell me Joe he drove you home last night how did he feel. I don't remember the brother's name but I told him I never saw a man act more calm than Herman last night. He did not show a sign of anything Gee I said he would had gotten off with a suspended sentence I can't understand again I told him how sorry I was and then I left. Boy was I glad that I did not get the meat stamps for him. I will had felt so bad in front of his brother. I was wondering who gave him those phony stamps. I'm pretty sure I was set up as to what I'm going to tell you but I got wise and this fellow plan went to the dogs. He had a bar called the Ritz Bar which I later bought from him. I had got an order for six thousand dollars worth of oil stamps and this fellow knew who had them. He was a pretty good live wire. He was the fellow I told you about when he cheated on the slot machines and he got a beating from Dutch Schultz and was sent to the hospital for about six months. He has never been the same ever since. The oil stamps didn't cost me six thousand they cost me four thousand dollars and Max made something
- 589 -
for himself, but that is business and I did not care if he made the whole four thousand. I was making two thousand dollars so I was more than satisfied. He had no car so I gave in my car to pick them up and I also gave him the cash. He comes in the Ritz as I was at the bar and he hands me the keys to my car and he tells me that he had put the stamps in the glove compartment. I grabbed the keys from his hand and I told him what are you out of your mind putting them in my car as he Max had a furnished room right on 180 Street where the Ritz was. Well I went to the car and as I started the motor I saw a man wave at me say about 150 feet in front of me even though it was in the day time I made believe I did not see him. I shot out like a bullet and I headed for the Van Courtland Park and from there I went to a girl that I knew and I told her to hold this package for me if I or someone calls you then throw them in the yard. Now I go back to the Ritz Bar and I started to holler at Max. I tell him did you see what happened before he got a chance to answer me the police walked in and they came right to me. They said come with us and they went for my car which was a Buick and they started to search the car. They said that they were looking for numbers. They were looking all over in the glove compartment, in the spare tire in the trunk, under the motor in the motor, all over but they looked disappointed and I could see that they could not understand. Now they ask me did you see me wave at you when you pull away. I asked him that I
- 590 -
did not know what he meant and he said forget it. I knew dam well what he was tiking about. Now they take us to police headquarters and they keep us there all day. Now before we go to headquarters I give a guy in the joint the phone number of the girl where the stamps were and I tell him to tell her to throw the stamps in the yard. I figure that they may have saw me and I did not want this poor girl involved no how. They hold us until nine o'clock that night and while we were in police headquarters I tell Max I don't know Max I said it looks mighty funny. I can't figure it out. You know that I never put anything in the car yet what you done. I don't know I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt but watch yourself from now on. We were arrested about two o'clock in the afternoon. When we got out at nine that night the first thing I do is call this girl up and she tells me that the fellow on the phone told her that she should burn the package and she did. Gee I felt bad but I did not want her to know. OK I said thanks for everything so I told Max I want some money from him as he caused everything. He said that he would. I said how much he said that he would make good half of the lost. I told him that it was fair, OK. He said I'll see you tomorrow. Well he did give me half of the money. Now he wants to sell me the Ritz. I told him that I will let him know. Frank tells me that he is expecting a big amount of stamps. He told me that it will be between fifty and sixty thousand dollars worth. I asked him how are we going
- 591 -
to pay he said as we sell them we will pay. In the meanwhile I was picking up stamps in Newark, New Jersey, Hackensack, New Jersey, and we were moving right along within ten days the big load comes in and Frank asked me what shall he do. He got a call and the guy had the stamps. I want to know what does he mean by what shall we do. He said he did not know whether he should make one trip or two trips. If I have anything to say I will suspect two trips. If anything should go wrong how are we going to pay. He said that he will make two trips. That's better I said. I told him that I will meet him in Forham that night. I met him and Johnnie and they tell me that we had 64 thousand dollars worth of stamps. Now Frank told me not to ask him who the connection was, He said that he will tell me later on. The next day he came over to my house and he told me that he wanted to keep all the stamps and make believe that we got arrested or something in that style. Gee I told him why don't we, who are the guys. I won't agree unless I know. He said the next load that we will get will be about one hundred thousand dollars worth. If I were you I told him I will keep this load we know that we have it and you don't know what may happen. Well I might as well tell you. I wanted to keep this load but Johnnie does not want to do anything of the kind but who is got the connection I asked him, you or Johnnie. He said both of them. Well did you figure how
- 592 -
much we make when they are all sold he said yes, 12 thousand dollars and how long would it take us to get rid of them, he said two weeks. We caught the market dry. Within a couple of weeks they are expecting another load and Frank tells me that being that Johnnie does not want to do anything we will leave him out. I asked what do you mean by leaving him out. He said you and I will take everything and then say that we lost everything as the drop where we had the stamps was arrested. Gee that is a good idea. I will get some guy and I will let them act like cops and we let them make a phony pinch but as I told you I will not make a move unless I found out who is your connection. I don't want to be called on any carpet after we do all the work and besides it is very embarrassing and I must tell you Frank there is two strikes against you. Now don't get mad I said am I right. He said that I was. You know I said I will get all the rap. Joe he said these guys are OPA men I did not want to tell you because I knew your reaction if you knew but they can always go to somebody and you know how people are. He meant people like ourselves as Frank was one of the boys. Johnnie was not. Well the stamps were on their way and it was only twenty-four thousand dollars worth and Frank said no good. I told him that we are going to get nothing. These guys are making money and pretty soon they won't need any more money and they will quit. Now my friend Bobby Doyle is got the
- 593 -
output on the phony meat stamps and he is got those two kids from Forham with him. I stop there every now and then and he tells me all about the meat stamps that he has. He tells me that he has to move them as he made a contract to pick up everyone they make or they will give them to someone else and he tells me that the Kids have a game or a piece of a game up in Utica, New York. As I told you I introduce the kids to Bobby. He asked me if I wanted to take a ride up there and he is sure that he can get the kids a piece of the game back. He put me on a spot. The kids knew that we were not getting along but they did not know how serious it was. Ok when do you want to leave I asked. He said right away. He said the kids are coming, OK. When I asked he said tomorrow night so the next night we left and we went to Utica. Now when we got to the town before Utica and we stopped at the game and there was a fellow in the game by the name of Dom and Bobby and Dom said that we must go to Utica and see Sal Falcone as Dom was one of the boys and he belongs to Mr. Falcone. On the way to Utica Dom and Pie rode with me and I was going about 60 miles an hour when the door of the car opened, it opened because Dom leaned on the door knob. In the old days a car door opened by pressing down instead of up the way they are today. Dom also a heavy set man almost fell out of the car. If Pie don't grab him but he did not fall --
- 594 -
Thank God. When we got to Utica and Dom was telling Dom Sol what happened he said see how things happen if Dom will had fallen out of the car nothing in the world would had convinced me that you guyd did not throw him out of the car. So I answered I suppose you would had put me on the carpet and accused me for throwing him out of the car for a cheap piece of a crap game. They were making arrangements to have supper for the following night at a certain restaurant which for sure I don't remember but I know it was an exclusive restaurant and I knew there was going to be a half dozen more men but Bobby Doyle was in his prime talking about Mr. Marangino that I got sick of listening to him. When he was with Mr. Marangino's friends he will talk good about him, when he was with the other side he will knock him. If he could only listen to himself maybe he would had known just how I felt. Sometimes I used to think that he would do it on purpos, but I told them that I will be there for the supper the following night. I asked Mike if he wanted to take a ride in the next town and we will go and have some fun. I told Mike what's the difference where we sleep if we find something in the other town no one will know the difference if we stay here we are going to listen to a lot of Bull. He agreed and I told Bobby and Mr. Dom Sol that we are going in the next town to see someone that Mike wants to see. Mr. Dom Sol said why don't you stay here, the boys will
- 595 -
show you around later tonight. Gee I said I'm a nervous guy and I like to run around. I said to myself Bobby knows I can't stand greasballs and I don't care about feeling important so I left with Mike. I was so happy leaving Utica and heading for the next town. We got there that night as I said it wasn't very far. Mike knew some girls. He was going in and out of this town before we came, so he knew his way around. We stopped at the game for a minute and then we went and have some fun. We went to sleep about four or five in the morning and we stayed in the hotel all of that day. When the time came that we had to go to Utica to have supper I called up and I made some kind of an excuse and we stayed in the hotel all that night and we went to Utica the following night. When we got into Utica we found out that they were in an Italian restaurant and we went to the restaurant and we sat down and we had something to eat. Mr. Don Sol said that he knew that I wasn't going to show up the night of the supper because of the remark that he had said so I just laughed it off. Bobby talked to me on the side and he told me that it was not nice for doing a thing like what I did and I answered that it ain't nice to accuse anyone the way he did. I'm sick of meeting people in that style so no one can do anything with me, that's the way I am. We spent one more night there, everything was straightened out and we came back to New York. I warned Mike about Bobby Doyle and I went about my
- 596 -
One night I went to midtown and I stopped in Joe Bidell's Worthfield Bar. It was right off Broadway. I just can't remember the street as Joe Bidell was an important guy but just wanted to be a plain soldier. Bobby Doyle had introduce me to Joe sometime before but he, Bobby, did not know that I was together with Joe Bidell in Sing Sing Prison. I never told Bobby how good I knew Joe Bidell. He asked me to spend the night with him. He told me that he was going to meet some horse owners and we will go and have some fun. I told Joe that I will be glad to spend the night with him. Joe Bidell was the owner of the Snow White Stable and he had some fine horses, especially one horse Sassy Lady, she was a fast filly. Well Joe asked me how are we doing with the meat stamps. I told Joe that I ain't got anything to do with the meat stamps. Joe took a fit. What do you mean that you ain't got anything to do with the meat stamps. I assure him that I didn't and then I asked him why don't you know that I don't have anything to do with Bobby any more. No he said I did not know. Gee I would had never given him the output if I knew that you didn't have anything to do with it. Gee Joe who in the world would had figured that you gave him the output on the meat stamps. How come they are counterfeit. He said it is impossible to get the good ones. They ain't enough in the
- 597 -
OPA. One could sell millions of meat stamps. Then he asked me how come those two kids are with him ain't they your kids. I said Joe I hate to tie anyone what good are they if they go with every Tom, Dick and Harry. He said I was right. Well he said any little fault that I find I will take it away from him. In the meantime if I get any gas stamps I will get in touch with you. Now we are on our way to the China Doll. It was a cabaret, Fifty-First Street between Broadway and Seventh Ave. They had all china girls in the show and they all were beautiful but no one could get close to them. We were sitting down in the place and the people came that Joe was supposed to meet and they had about four or five girls with them as they were only two men and Joe and I made it four. We each had a girl on our side. Joe introduce me to the men and the men introduced the girls and we were having a lot of fun and they were talking about horses and I asked Joe if they had a good horse that I was interested. He said OK I'll let you know. We got to drinking and we were all feeling and the girl that I was with came from Chicago so I felt like playing the part of a square that night as I must say I was not interested in any of girls they were all too tall and I feel self-conscious about such things. I won't even get up and dance. The girl was asking me if I ever took care of a girl. I told her that I did not know what she meant. She said let's drop the subject,
- 598 -
and we will talk about it up her place. She said that she was staying at the New Yorker. I said OK. Well the party broke up at three in the morning and we went to Lindy for breakfast and then we broke it up and we said good-bye to one another and we went on our way. I remember clearly that it was on a Sunday because I used the excuse of being a Sunday and I had to get home. She said stop upstairs for a cup of coffee and then I could leave. I went upstairs. I had a cup of coffee and I told her that I'll be back in the afternoon but I went home and I forgot all about her. She was much too tall. I forgot to mention that I asked Joe about Sassy Lady. She had not run for a long time. He told me it won't be long before she will be running in Florida and I should make sure that I should have a small bet on her as she will be a long shot. She had not run for about six months. In about two weeks Sassy Lady is entered. I could not miss her as I had everyone that I knew in Forham or in Harlem looking for her whenever anyone will see her entered that day I did not stop in Forham I went straight to 108 Street as I pulled up at the curve before I ever got out of the car someone came running over to me and he tells me that Sassy Lady is running and is fifty to one on the horse sheet. I got out of the car and I called a bookie in Forham and I gave him thirty across the board and insured. It was a 90 dollar bet and 10% for the insurance. I
- 599 -
remember I was in the poolroom when the results came in on the radio. The fourth race the winner was Sassy Lady and she paid 139 dollars to win, 99 dollars place and 39 dollars for show. Boy was I happy, everyone in Forham or in Harlem had a small bet on her and plenty of housewives had at least 2 dollars across the board on her. I collected about 35 hundred dollars the next day. I didn't call Joe right away but a few days later I gave him a ring. When I called him he had forgotten that he had told me to bet on her as I said that night we had a good time. Well any way he was happy to hear that I had 30 dollars across on her. I thanked him and he told me to call him whenever I see any of his horses entered. When things go good they go good all around. That night I went and see Johnnie in the Villege Inn and he was not there but Rockey the manager was there. As I was on the floor dancing he came over and he put something in my pocket. I went in the next room and I opened the package and I saw they were stamps. I went outside and I asked Rockey how much and he said four cents. It was a good price. I called Frank and he came over to the house and I gave him the stamps to make it short we made 17 hundred dollars as I said in the early part of the stamp business one had to get around to make money. I take a ride to Newark and I see my friend Sam out there as he is always got something on hand. I buy