- 600 -
something. I will tell him that I came all the way to Newark for nothing and he will tell me why didn't you call me. Well any way you got to give me something I haven't anything I will tell him. He is just that way but actually he would be glad that I went and see him. So I came home with something I got a call from some guy and he tells me that he is got some out of town stamps and they were what we call T. and the T. were for trucks only. He was an Irish fellow. I told him that I will let him know. I went around and I spoke to a couple of guys and all of them could use them so I bought them and the guy asked me if he should call me whenever he gets them. I said yes. He said that he don't get a large amount but he gets them all the time. I had done time with this guy and his name was Murphy. I was shocked to have a guy like him call me. I asked him how did he think of me and he said he met someone and they got to talking and my name came up. Well he called me plenty of times after I got the first package off him. He did not give me much but there was a lot of profit in whatever he gave me.
Now I get a call from a couple of guys that stole an OPA office up-state and they had a lot of stamps but the amount of money was too much for me to handle. I need a ton of money so I thought that I will go and see Sam in Newark. Then I meet Paul in Forham and as I was lazy to go to Newark I
- 601 -
was looking Paul over in the coffee shop where I met him. Paul was a millionaire so I say to Paul if I give you a deal would he double cross me. He said that he won't, the reason why I asked him if he will double cross me was there weren't any guys that would lay out one hundred thousand dollars for a stamp deal but Carlo, Paul or Sam and whenever a deal came up where this amount of money was involved they usually got together and they took the deal together. Now the trick was if someone will go to any of these guys with a deal like I had they will stall you and keep putting you off day by day until the guys that had the stamps will get disgusted and will be forced to go to Paul, Carlo or Sam. Every crook in the stamp business knew these guys but the crooks hated to go to these guys. Crooks are funny people. They hate to bring money to money. That's what this guy said to me. Hey Joe he said we got a lot of stamps and it takes a lot of money and you know that we know where to go but we want you to make some money but we will only wait three days. That's why I said to Paul don't double cross me, meaning don't stall me until the deal will go to one of the three men that I mention. Well sure enough Paul said in one day everything will be OK so I said to him when will I hear from you. He said tomorrow morning. He calls me the following morning and he tells me that for sure we will take care of the business today.
- 602 -
So I call the guys and I tell them that it will be taken care of today so the guy told me I better hurry because one of the guys is on edge and he figured that he could had gotten his cash by this time. You know Joe its a lot of dough. Well I said if you don't hear from me today or by tonight, you go right ahead and take care of your affairs just save about a hundred thousand gallons for me. I forgot that I gave Paul the list of everything they had. Paul call me the following morning and he tells me to go and see his brother Carlo that everything is OK. I asked him I don't know what you mean that everything is OK. He said go and meet Carlo he is at 12 Street between First and Second Ave. on the uptown side of the Ave. He said there is an Italian restaurant there and you will find him there 12 o'clock today. He will be waiting for you. He said don't worry you will be all right. So I go to the 12 Street appointment and before I go I make a phone call to the boys in the Hotel but I get no answer. Well I figure they must had gotten the deal already. Well I figure if I don't get a break the hell with it. I will get the hundred thousand gallons for three cents a gallon. The market was 12 cents wholesale. So I reach 12 Street and I find the restaurant and it was an open garden restaurant. They greet me with a big hand by they I mean Carlo Gambino and Frank Scalice and two or three greaseballs that
- 603 -
I did not know. I could see by Carlo's face that things did not look so good. Well they asked me to have something to eat, who could eat I was nervous but I ordered a cup of black coffee and they were having soup. So Carlo asked me what was on my mind. I said Paul sent me here and he told me that you know what it is so why do you ask me what's on my mind. He said I asked you what is on your mind because I don't know why you are here. I see I said one brother tells me that everything is OK and the other tells me that he don't know what it is all about. I was getting so mad that I tried hard to try and keep calm. So I said did Paul tell you about a deal that I had. He said no all I know last night I got a call and these guys who called me gave me a deal and I took it. Well I said can I buy some from you. I can imagine I can get a break, can I? Joe he said I'll give you market price. Carlo I gave this deal to your brother Paul and he told me that he spoke to you and you tell me that you don't know what it is all about. I got up and as I got up I threw the table up in the air and as I did all the food went on their clothing and I walked fast towards the car and Frank Scalice follow me and he jumped into the car. He said calm down as I had a lot of respect for him I tell him Steve Rannelli was right when he wanted to kill Paul Gambino during the war in 1930. Steve had told me that they stole a deal on him in the same
- 604 -
style. Boy what dogs I said to Frank. He said Joe I got to go back and see that he don't put you on the carpet for throwing that table the way you did. Frank I said don't cabin him down let him do what he wants that is the only way people will find out the way they operate. I knew in my heart that I won't go and tell Tony Bender because if Tony will win the argument I won't get anything. He will keep it all for himself so I rather lost it rather than let him have any part of it that won't be the first time I lost deals rather than go to Tony Bender. Vito Genovese was in Italy and as much as I got it in for him I must admit that if you went to him in a case like this I would had gotten something, not much, but something, but Tony he will lie and say that he lost the argument. I told Vito Genovese in Atlanta about this deal. I told him I was explaining to him how many propositions I could had brought down town but as I said I rather lose them than make Tony get fat. I would had a good case because I would had brought one of the crooks to Tony Bender and I would had made the crook explain to Tony how they, the crooks, gave me the list of everything they had and I gave it to Paul Gambino, and the proof was that when the crooks brought the deal to Carlo and the crooks held out a hundred thousand gallons for me and Carlo told them if you don't give it all to him he won't take the deal. Now you see how he lied when he said that he did not know anything. A few months later I met Sam from Newark and he told me that he took the deal together with Paul and Carlo and that they were on the road to make a million dollars on the deal as the stamps went up all the way to 30 cents a gallon. They knew how to operate and keep the market up at
- 605 -
the same time and then they were lucky the market was dry for quite a while. I had to go to Sam to get some stamps as I was dry myself. I'm sorry Paul that I put your right name in this book I did it because I want to expose you guys how you all operate. I'll do the way you used to do, first rub it in and then say I'm sorry. Now I decided to hang around the dress shop on Prospect Ave, I think the address was 595 Prospect Ave. I will kill time and receive my phone calls at the shop. I will cut thread on the garments after it was finished. In the meanwhile I bought a piece of a horse, I can't think of his name for the love of me. I bought it together with this fellow named Gaf. I paid one thousand seven hundred-fifty dollars for my share. In other words the horse cost 35 hundred dollars. We ran him in New York a couple of times, but we did not bet on him as I understand he was an unpredictable horse so I got disgusted and I sold my share back to Gaf. One day not long after the horse was entered in a one mile and a half race I see Gaf and we go together at the window and Gaf bets on a different horse in the race so I put two hundred dollars on the same horse Gaf bet on. The race if off and Gaf's horse goes to the front and he never stopped. He win all by himself and he paid 57 dollars and Gaf got rich. How I will tell you, he had a following and these guys will do anything Gaf will tell then to do. I was standing there with Gaf before the race and they will come over and they will ask Gaf what shall they do and Gaf will tell them to bet and after they leave Gaf will look at me and laugh and I will shake my head. I should shake it good because this is one time the sucker won. Some had a fifty dollar bet for Gaf and some twenty-five. What did he care so long as they will bet. I was waiting
- 606 -
to see if he will give me my two hundred dollars back that I lost. He did then I asked him didn't you give the horse a chance at all. He said anyone who can judge this horse will be a good man. Now that he won I'm going to get rid of the horse before he loses ten more races. He did get rid of the horse in less than two weeks. Gaf used to tell me never to fall in love with a horse unless he could run and run good. Well all I did for at least for about a year was sell stamps, all kind of stamps, and Frank's man did not come with anything all this time. I used to laugh at him everytime the subject came up. One night I don't know how he found me but he did and he was all excited and he told me that he got a call from the OPA guy. He said the guy had something but he did not know how much. Well, Well I said this time I'm going to keep them. I don't care how much because he may not come through any more. Frank agreed. The following night he came and see me about three hours before he had the appointment with the OPA man. I never knew who he was because Frank never told me who he was and I did not care to know him. Frank told me that he would like to pull a phony pinch. I told him that I could do it. I could call someone and make him pull you in after you get the stamps out of your car but what is he going to charge you with, what crime. He, Frank, said for having stamps in my possession. Yes I said but I must give this guy something. I just can't call a bull and tell him to lock you up without telling him some kind of a story. I must tell him that we are clipping someone. First of all I said let me make a call and let me find out if he is working so I made a call and I find out that this detective is working but he will go off duty
- 607 -
at 12 o'clock. Now what do you want me to do. He said come on let's go and see him I got plenty of time. So I asked Frank do you want to be arrested in the Bronx. He said yes. OK let's go so we go to the Bronx and I call the detective up and he comes and meet me in some joint and I tell the detective that you are going to arrest Frank tonight so he laughed. He said who are you clipping, what is it stamps. I said yes. How much do I get he said. I said there ain't much in it but you are good for five hundred dollars. Frank will only have about a hundred dollars worth of stamps on him. In fact in the car. So we figured out which will be the best way so I left it to the both of them when they got through talking Frank told me that I must go to the Harlem apartment and wait there for him. He will come over and give me the stamps and then he will meet the detective and he will go to the station house and I will go where the other partner is and he Frank will call up and he will ask for Johnnie and tell Johnnie that he is arrested and is at the station house and then I will get in the car with Johnnie and I will go to the station house and when we get there we will see Frank's Ford in front of the station house, that ought to convince him and if he ain't convinced who cares. We wanted to put him in on it but he refused, so to hell with him. So I went where Johnnie was hanging out which was 183 Street on Third Ave., it was a Bar and Johnnie was expecting me as he knew that the OPA guy had called Frank. So we started to talk and after an hour or two the phone rang in the Bar and it was a call for Johnnie and he came out of the phone booth all excited and he said to me that Frank is pinched. I said no kidding. He said he is in the police station.
- 608 -
I did not say anything, I waited for Johnnie to say come on let's take a ride and see if we see the Ford in front of the Police Station. So Johnnie and I took a ride at the police station and there was Frank's Ford. Johnnie asked me if I knew anyone in the police station. I said I did, come let's go and I will call the police station and see if he is working. After I called I told Johnnie that the guy that I know is not working so I said let's go back to the Bar maybe he will call again, he did not. I knew that I had to be in the Harlem apartment at about three o'clock in the morning. Frank did not want to stay in the police station all night. I tried to make him understand that if he don't stay all night and go to court they are going to get wise to him but he said he did want to go through all that trouble. OK do what you want I told him. Now Johnnie had friends and he found out that Frank did not stay in the police station all night and the first thing he did was get in touch with me and he tells me that he found out that Frank was not booked so he must had done business so I tell Johnnie Frank done business with the stamps by that I mean he gave the cops the stamps and they let him go. I asked Johnnie didn't you ever hear that before. He said he did but Joe he said you are in a position to find out why don't you. I told Johnnie if you want to know the truth I don't care, you are a wise guy. When Frank told you to clip them guys after they gave us the big load of stamps, after all they did not give you much to work on. Gee Johnnie said they knew the market. That's right I said all the more they should have given us a better price. What did you make, 12 thousand dollars on a 64 thousand dollar deal, what are they
- 609 -
kidding. If we would had got one pinch we would had made nothing. They did not give you a break. You gave them a good price after all the stamps don't cost then anything, they get them for free, they just clip them out of the office ten thousand dollars less to them, everyone would had been happy. Don't forget we had to peddle the stamps and we should had made at least 20 thousand for our end so that's why I'm not interested. I don’t care what Frank done. Well Johnnie said he Frank cheated you too. Good luck to him I said. I did not lose any money. How much will we make on a 13 thousand dollar deal with the fancy price they give us. Well anyway I quit Johnnie said. Go ahead and quit I told him the war will be over soon so we might as well grab everything we can lay our hands on.
A few days later a greaseball came over and talk to me. He said that he was interested in Johnnie and he wanted to know if its all right if he got together with Johnnie. I told him to go ahead in the first place he ain't my partner, he is Frank's partner so you better see Frank. He said he did not care for Frank. Then he wanted to know if we clipped Johnnie. I told him we did not clip Johnnie we clipped the OPA people. I don't even know who they are, Frank and Johnnie knows. He said he knew that I did not know the people but he said Johnnie is wrong if you and Frank wanted to clip the OPA Johnnie should had listen to both of you. Now Frank Cheer Scraclic, Frank's Lt, comes over and talk to me. He only wanted to know if I was aware of what was going on because he did not want Frank to cheat me. Well when I told him that I was in with Frank he was satisfied. He
- 610 -
knew Frank was a swindler. So he wanted to make sure. A couple of years later Johnnie Roberts from downtown, the fellow that I was partner with in the sharklocking business, asked me if the pinch was on the level. I told him the truth and Johnnie Roberts told me if I was not in on the deal he, Johnnie Roberts, will bring Frank on the carpet and make him pay that money. I want to say if Johnnie Roberts wanted me make us pay he could have because they would had found out that there was no pinch at all. A member of the Cosa Nostra can front for anyone he may be interested if he can prove that whom ever he is interested in was clipped but Johnnie would had made a bad guy with me if he done such a thing. I asked Johnnie who were the fellows but he will not tell me. He said they were nice people and they were with the OPA during the war. I told Frank about all this and he laughed. Frank I said what makes you laugh you know darn well they could put you on the carpet if someone will be interested in those people. Frank said why do you think I put you in on it. I knew these guys were friends of Johnnie Roberts. I got the stamps at top price, that's why they gave me the deal and that's why they did not want you to know who they were, they also knew that you were a good friend of Johnnie and you still won't tell me who they were. No Frank said I will never tell you who they were, belive me Frank said to me that I will have a fit if I knew who the people were.
- 611 -
Well I said if I'm going to have a fit I don't want to know. This way I won't be mad. You have no idea now mad you will be said Frank. I got in the car and I took off and I forgot all about the whole deal.
The War is over so it did not mean anything. I was going to the track while I was doing business with the stamps and after the stamps - I want to finish my last deal with the stamps before I start talking about horses. About a month before the War was over I got two deals and Frank did not want any part of both deals. One was that I buy in to a restaurant called Aida - it was one of the finest restaurants in Harlem - and the other deal was a hundred thousand gallons of gas stamps. Thinking that I had time to get rid of them I took the deal with a guy from forham. He was one of the kids that I went to Utica, New York. We were drinking in the Ritz Bar at 180 Street in West Farms when I was approached from one of the boys, his name was Jack. He tells me if I want the stamps he will give them to me but not to Mike, he was sore at Mike for something I don't remember. I spoke to Mike on the side and I told Mike about what it was all about. Mike said to go ahead and take the deal. I told Mike if we take this deal we cannot go to the track because the War may be over as they were talking in the newspapers about throwing the A. Bomb in Japan and if they throw that bomb the war will be over in about a month. We figured. I took the deal and I did not go to the track as I was out hustling the
- 612 -
stamps and I was doing a pretty good job before they threw the Bomb. I had got rid of all the stamps in the meanwhile Mike kept going to the track all the time. Now I got an order for 5,000 gallons of stamps. I did not have them but I told the guy that I will let him know. I waited for Mike to come back from the track and Mike said that he did not have any more. I told Mike that this was a cash deal and if he had any on the street on credit take in 5 thousand gallons and we will give them to this cash customer. Mike said that all he is got to do is wait to collect the money as far as he is concerned he is finished. At the same time I had bought into the Aida Restaurant. I had met some boys in Harlem and they put me in on a sugar stamp deal. I had this deal going at the same time that I had the gas deal going. I had no time to stay in the Aida because I was too busy but I did hang out in the Aids Restaurant after the war was over. To make it short, as I really was forgetting these two deals, I made money in the sugar stamp deal and in the gas stamp deal I lost money because my friend Mike could not collect for at least 30 thousand gallons of gas stamps because the customer that Mike had did not sell all the stamps the way he thought they did. I don't want to pay any lost Mike was taking a beating at the race track and he had no money to pay and I was stuck to lay out twenty-five hundred dollars. I made about twenty-one hundred dollars on the sugar deal so I did not lose much, only a couple of hundred dollars.
- 613 -
Now I started to go to the race track and hanging out in the Aida when I came back from the track. Mike was booking at the track so I started to bet my money to him hoping to deduct if I lost but I was always winning and I felt sorry for Mike as he was getting hit at the track real hard, but he owed me the money. Now in the Aida there is some of Mike Cappolla boys coming in and out of the Aida Restaurant. It was being run high class and one of my partner hangs out with political guys like Judge Frances Mancuso, Burt Stand in Tammany Hall and all sort of lawyers. One day Charlie, who was my partner, and we had a third guy who was a broken down lawyer and the license was under his name. All I remember is that his first name was Danny. He happened to be a third cousin of mine. Charlie was going to have a meeting and Mayor O'Dwyer and his crew was coming into the Aida. I told Charlie that I did not want to be there when they come. I spread it around to the boys not to come to the Aida for a couple of hours. It was not hard to do all one had to do was let one or two fellows in the neighborhood know and everyone will get the notice. Charlie had all the shades down and it was pretty hard for anyone to look in the restaurant. The Aida had the best food around the neighborhood and in fact it was considered one of the best eating restaurants in all of Manhattan. The chef was getting about 225 dollars a week and the second chef was receiving 125 dollars a week
- 614 -
and we had a hat check girl in the place and someone to greet you as you came in the restaurant - it was run real classy. Everytime the ex-Judge will come in with his crowd all they will order was a couple of Pizza Pies and then Charlie will give them no check. His boys started making a beef about Charlie not giving the Judge and his friends a check. Charlie was one of the boys and he belonged with Tom Galangino crew. We will talk in this style when we had to talk about the boys. I or Charlie will say your crew or my crew and so on. Come of Charlie's crew were Danny Yankee, Chick, Ninty-nine, Paulie, Ham, Big Sam and sometimes their Lt. came in the restaurant. Charlie's Lt. at the time was Vincent from 107 Street and Vincent did not like Charlie's doings with the politicians and it wasn't long before we got into an argument about the politicians not paying their checks. I told Charlie that he was wrong breaking them in not paying, it is OK for him to do it once but not all the time. It was around this time that I find out that I'm wanted for a conspiracy. I did not know what it was all about. Then I find out that the conspiracy that I was wanted for was about five years old - it was the time that I had went to Florida and I had given a message to some guy by the name of Dick from his friend Charlie. All I told Dick to call up Charlie, it had something to do with the Bahamas. I took off and I went on the lam. I went to Jersey across the 125 Street Ferry.
- 615 -
I went and rent a room in a Motel on Route four that is all I remember. I was there about two weeks and I got disgusted and I came in New York and I was living in a girl's house. I was in Harlem. I lasted about a week and I was arrested and I find out that there was a lot of guys involved. There was a Senator also in the conspiracy. I think his name was Senator McKinnley and he was a Senator in the Bahamas, and there were about six more involved from the Bahamas and on the side of the U.S. We were about seven or eight. I got out on one thousand dollars bail. When the Agent question me, I think his name was Aleviairo, he was nothing like the Agents they have today. He was no frame artist. He told me that he had no right to put me in the indictment. He could not account as to what I was doing in the indictment but he said that I should not worry because he thought that he had a weak case against me. He was a real gentlemen, when we went to court he the agent told the Judge that he thought that I should not had been in the indictment. The Judge, I don't remember his name, gave the agent plenty of hell. The Judge told the agent that this will be held against the defendant and it will be used against him he'll give you more hell the Judge said I don't want to make a story out of this and with that he threw me out. He dismissed the indictment against me and I walked out of the courtroom. Believe me it had be held against me ever since
- 616 -
especially when someone brings it up to me. He will say boy you must had good connection. They never believe that a guy can be innocent. When I was arrested on another case which I will talk about when I'll reach to that year I met that Agent as I wrote his name but I am in doubt as to the spelling of his name and I congratulated him but it seemed that he did not remember me. I whisper to him and I said I'm Joe Valachi. Oh he said and I whisper again and told him that these new agents are frame artists and he laughed. Of course I mean the Narcotic Agents, especially George Gaffney. The phony Boss and his stooge Frank Saveggie, Pat Ward, Enright all frame artists. Some day they will be hit with all the framing that they done. I'll tell you more about these agents later on. I'll go back to the Aida and tell you some more about Mike Cappolla tough guys, I don't mean that they have no nerve but they are overrated too much overrated. They were like little lambs before they became members when they were made which is the way of explaining when a guy becomes a Cosa Nostra member. They will all sit down and ask all kinds of questions then when they were made members they expected me to look up to them. I thought they were out of their minds. I don't mean that they all came all together, one will ask one question, for instance Patty Erra the tough guy that's in Florida and hands out in the Fontainebleau Hotel. Hey Joe, he will ask, will they hold
- 617 -
against me if they found out that he left his wife. I will tell him no they won't hold against you anything in that line, any more but I would had liked to have told him that how can they hold anything with a small problem like leaving your wife against you. Look in the backyard of your own boss or the boss that you intend to be with, he married a Village Inn girl he is a good example for you but Patty I felt like telling him don't do what they do. They have a license to do what they please or in other words your boss can't afford to give you any lessons because he is no prize boy himself, especially when one of the first wife dies and then he marries another girl and the second wife leaves him and then kills herself. Se Patty now that you have your boss pedigree you have nothing to worry about. Now Patty I want to ask you a question, you think I was wrong when I gave you the cold shoulder for taking out one of my girls. It did not bother you did it Patty. You know why it did not bother you because you were a tough guy now, but I still showed you that I did not give a dam for you when I passed you by. I didn't care that you were a tough guy it was a matter of principal. See Patty you did not have any principals. You know why because you could had taken that same girl out when you were a nobody but after you hung out with Mike Cappolla - Oh sorry I mean Trigger Mike - well now that you were made it was a different story, wasn't it Patty. Now Joe did not
- 618 -
mean anything to you any more. Patty you stink, and so does your boss Trigger Mike but you have one guy in your crew that I respect and will always respect because he ain't like you Patty and you know who I mean. I'll bet you do. Now I'll tell you about another one in your crew, I'm going to talk about the barber chair in the Bronx where they killed a friend of mine back in 1931, his name was Jimmy Marino. You remember that story don't you. Well I'm not going to talk about it because I'm sure you know the story. All I'm trying to do Patty is show you how you or your mob had no respect for me but still you knew I was a good man and I want to tell you now that I did not give any information to the agents as your boss will let you understand. I'll tell you all about it in the end of this story. Here is a line or two for another tough guy that belongs with Trigger Mike, Buckolo. Ask him if he remember the night that I wanted to bust up a poker game, it was the Dwarf's game. I went broke and the house refused to lend me fifty dollars, I needed the fifty to cover up a shortage in a pot. I thought I had the best hand and someone raised me and I had to see him or I could had been bluffed out of the Pot but it turned out that I got beat and when I asked the house to give me the fifty which was the Dwarf's I was refused but someone in the game realizing how I will look bad threw the fifty at me and I paid for the shortage. Then I took a chair and I wanted to break up the game but someone grabbed me and walked me out of the
- 619 -
game and then Buckolo felt bad when I told him what dogs you guys protect. Just because the Dwarf pick up numbers for Buckolo if it was I that was protecting anyone and he did the same thing to Buckolo I would had made the guy apologize to Buckolo. No not you guys. You don't want to lose any prestige. I'm writing this kind of stuff to show how I defied Mike Cappolo men.
I got another story before I stop because I just thought about it. I was in a bar at 118 Street and Second Ave. and I was drinking with a girl when Joe Stutz walked in the bar and he tell the girl that I'm drinking with to go outside and the girl looked at Joe Stutz and told him that I'm with Joe, meaning me. Then Joe Stutz looked at me and asked me if I was staying in the bar so I asked him if it was any of his business that I was staying or leaving. He looked at me and he said that Mike Cappolla is outside in the car so I looked at him and I said does he want to see me and he said yes. Well he knows that I'm in here. He said yes. Then let him come in if he wants to see me. Joe Stutz walked outside and Mike called me and he told me don't mind Joe Stutz. I told Mike that I was not minding Joe Stutz. Then Mike said to me how are you. I said fine. Then he said give my regards to Tony Bender. I said OK. This night I must say Mike used his head. He knew the move was very cheap and he had more sense. Well the girl said to me did I make you look bad I said I would had
- 620 -
been so embarrassed if you would had walked out and left me standing at the Bar. But if Mike was not there Joe Stutz would have never done such a thing, in fact I have Joe Stutz in my book as being yellow.
While sitting in the Aida a friend of mine walked in and he looked a bit worried and he tells me that he is partner with a guy and he can't get along with him. He says that they got about seven horses and they are going to split up but one horse that they have they can't come to an agreement as to who is going to get him because he is a twenty thousand dollar horse so they decided that they put him in a claiming race for the price that they claimed him for in Florida and they both get someone to put in a claim for him but they cannot pull in their own claim if they put their own claim then one will be jealous of the other, if one of them wound up with the horse they claimed the horse at Tropical Park in Florida for five thousand dollars and they put him in a five thousand dollar claiming and they intended to cash a good bet on the horse as they figured that for five thousand dollars claiming race he would be a cinch and beside they would win a purse of 42 hundred dollars and they would split the purse between them, in other words the horse will sell for 92 hundred dollars. A claiming race means that anyone of the trainers or owners can claim your horse or you can claim their horse. But it has to be a trainer that is running a horse in the same race. I had to get a trainer by the next
- 621 -
day because the horse was entered for the next day to run so I called Gaf and asked him if he can get a trainer for me to claim a horse in the six race at New York. He said that he will call me back in about an hour. Gaf calls me and tells me that he got a trainer to claim the horse for me but I must give the trainer five hundred dollars for making the claim for me. I said OK. I'll meet you at the track tomorrow. The next day we met at track and my man put in the claim and then I got word that there was nine claims in for the horse. Oh God I said we must beat eight others. When something like this happened they must throw the dice for the horse. Now I don't know how that works because I never asked but anyway we lost the horse but I was told that a trainer by the name of Wagner had won the horse. Boy was I happy I said to Furdie tonight dress up as we must go down to Broadway. You know who Wagner is I tell Furdie. He is the trainer of the Snow White Stable and I know the owner, he is Joe Bidellie and he is a dear friend of mine but I must tell him that I had a piece of this horse. You will explain to him that the horse was under your former friend's name because you have a record. I'm sure I will get the horse if he knows that I had something to do with the horse. Well we go down to the Worthfield Bar and Restaurant that night and I see Joe Bidellie and l asked him if he claimed a horse today by the name of Son of Tarra. He said
- 622 -
he did and won him in a shake with eight other trainers. I said I know I Was one of the trainers. Joe asked me who had put the claim in for me. I told him and he said yes he was one of the trainers that had a claim in for the horse. Gee how come the horse was in so cheap so I explained everything to him and he said Joe to tell you the truth I claimed this horse for some people in Detroit. They used to own this horse and they lost him in Florida for five thousand dollars but they pulled a killing, they won sixty-thousand dollars with this horse. He only paid two to one but they bet 30 thousand dollars on his nose and he won all by himself. Now they saw that he was entered in New York for a claiming price of five thousand dollars. They called me and they asked me to put in a claim for them so I did. Now you come and tell me that this is your horse. Well I ain't going to do a favor for one friend and hurt another at the same time so Joe Bidell said I expect them in New York tomorrow night when they come I will tell them that you are a friend of mine. I want you to know that you come first and they are second so don't worry about the horse. I went back two nights later as I had to give Joe a chance to talk to them. When I got there two nights later Joe told me that I can make two thousand dollars if I leave them the horse. I said Joe I'm out of action and I ain't got no horses if I lost this horse my heart will break so you see money don't mean anything it the horse that I
- 623 -
want. Thank them for the offer that they made but tell them they won they bet on this horse but we lost the bet and the horse Joe Bidell told them exactly the way I sald. Joe said send me the five thousand dollars and go and pick the horse up from my stable and put him in whatever barn you desire. I said Joe I don't want anyone to know that I got the horse so it is OK if I leave the horse in your barn. I want to move him to New England and I can't move him for thirty days as that is the rule of the race track one cannot move a horse from one track to another until thirty days. I'll lay Wagner for keeping and feeding the horse for the thirty days. Joe Bidell said why don't you run the horse and pick up some expense money. Fudie spoke and told Joe that the horse is got something wrong with his left leg and it better that we don't take a chance until Joe's trainer in New England takes a look at him. Joe asked me who my trainer is in New England is and I told him Haymaker. Joe said Haymaker. I said yes. Gee Joe said he is one of the best trainers in New England. I know I said Joe asked me how did you meet him. I said through Joe Bruno before he died go and bring the horse to him and let me know when he is going to win. I said OK. Joe then thanked him over and over and then I left. Now Furdie wants half of the horse and I said OK but he never came up with the money. When the horse reached New England the old man told me to call or come in three weeks and
- 624 -
they will let me know what kind of a horse we have. In three weeks I went up there and they told me how did you get this horse for five thousand dollars he is worth that much on one leg the trainer told me that he will give me five thousand dolars for half of the horse. I said no you will give me 25 hundred for half as I expect you to be fair to me so why should I make a profit on you. He said OK. I'm telling you he is worth four times that much. He said he is ready to run in about ten days. I asked him about his left leg and he said he had what we call a lose tendon but he has already taken care of the leg. I asked him was it dangerous for me to run him in the thirty days that I had him in New York. He said that it was it is a good thing that I did not run him. Gee I said isn’t Wagner a good trainer. He said Wagner is a good trainer how come he wanted to run the horse. Then Furdie reminded me that it was not Wagner that wanted to run the horse. Joe Bidell suggested that we run the horse. Oh yes I said. Gee I thought it was the trainer. Well anyway I was happy to learn what kind of a horse we had and we came home and I asked Furdie what happened to the other horses he had with the other guy and he said that they are going to New England with them and then they will see what they are going to do. Good I said by you being in New England I could keep a close watch and see what you are doing. I asked him if he had a jockey. He said no. Gee I said New England's
- 625 -
a tough track if you ain't got a rider. He said that they will bet for the jockey. I told him that it will not help. He said don't worry it will help. OK I said you see I knew New England because of the Duchess. Well I went back to the restaurant and Furdie comes there again in a week after we got back from New England and he tells me that he got a deal by some jockey if we care to fix the jump races. Gee I said they are tough races to fix. Furdie said if I care I could meet the jockey. I said no Furdie I don't care to meet the jockey something may go wrong they will give me one hundred years but it its a nobody like you they won't be so hard. He agreed. I said Ok see what it is all about but we got to be careful because these kind of things can ruin you. I know Furdie said. But I know what to do I will sell some shares and we make sure that they won't breaks us. Furdie asked me what do I mean. Well I said for instance I'll go and see Tommy Milo up in Yonkers and give him the horse that is going to win and let him bet five hundred and then I will see the kids in Forham and let them bet and in the meantime they can get themselves out of a hold they are stuck a ton of money betting on the horses. So I tell Furdie find out what is the deal. He said that he will like to have someone with him because I don't want you to think that I will be cheating. Furdie if I can't trust you then we can't do any business. Furdie left and he said that he will
- 626 -
see me tomorrow night. The next night Furdie came and he told me the deal. He said the boys want a twenty-five hundred dollar bet and we name the horse that we want to win but it can be done only when they have a small field. He said that when Adams rides we cannot do anything because Adams is what they call a gentlemen rider, he is rich and he does it for the sport of it. He said that we can fix one race a week and this way we will not draw attention. Ok I said stay here and I'll call the kids up in the Bronx and see what they will say. I called Mike and I told him to come right down and he did. I told him about the deal and he said that he liked it and that he will go and see Tommy Milo and that he will take care of the twenty-five hundred dollars for the jocks. Everything was set for the day of the race so one night Furdie came in the Aida Restaurant and he had the horse entry for the following day and he told me to pick the horse that I want to win as there was no Adams in the race. I picked a horse that very seldom falls and he was listed at five to one. He said that he will call me in the morning and he will let me know if it is OK. He called me the next morning and he told me that the horse I picked will win the race. Then I picked up the phone and I called Mike and I told him to come to the house. Mike came and I asked him how did he make out with Tommy and Mike said that Tommy said that he will only get
- 627 -
interested because its you. He don't trust anyone any more but he knows if you agreed to pay twenty-five hundred dollars you must know what you are doing. OK Mike give Tommy the horse here it is and I said if any changes I will get in touch with him. I asked Mike if he was coming to the track. Mike said am I coming to the track I'm going to get even on all the books out there I'm going to bet money that I ain't got. Hey Mike why don't you take it easy the first race you can never tell a jump race anything can happen, the horse can fall. Why ruin yourself in one race. Joe he said I'm too much in the hole I can't hurt you if the horse don't win then I will not need to pay you. I know I said but there is always another day. That day we met at the track and everything was the same. I don't remember the name of the horse but I'm sure he was number three. He opened at four to one and he was played down to two to one and I see a guy that works for Mike Cappola by working I mean he was a runner picking up bets at the track. I remember about a week before that Mike had a tip on a horse and he gave it to everyone that was sitting in the box in the club house but me. The horse won I never forgot it. I asked this guy if he will take a couple thousand dollars on this race coming up. He said wait I'll be back in a few minutes and I saw him going to Mike and he came back and he said he will take a fifteen hundred dollar bet. I said OK you got it. He asked for the case so I said tomorrow. I either pay you or you pay me, he said OK.
- 628 -
Now they off and running. It was a two mile race over the hurdles and at the half mile pole our horse was running last. Gaf was along side of me and he notice that the horse did not want to jump he was kind of hesitating to jump but he was jumping but he was losing ground by the time they made the last jump he was running second but one could see that he had to be a Man of War to catch the front runner and it obvious that Penrode the rider on the front runner was looking behind and waiting for number three to come up to him. In the papers that night it was said that they heard Penrode yell to the number three horse saying come on for God sake. Well anyway number three got at the wire in time and it was a photo finish and after the photo they put up number three as the winner but Penrode was barred for life. That night when I went in the city I called Tommy and Tommy wanted to know why so close I told him read the papers tonight as Penrode was sat down for life. The jockey who ran the affair, his name was McCullougecry and he told Furdie that the number three horse did not feel like running. The boy had a hard time trying to make him run and it was true that Penrode was yelling at the boy as he Penrode could not hold back his mount. Penrode did not feel bad about being sat down for life he said all they received for riding the horses in the jump races was thirty-five dollars and there was only one mount a day. If you had a mount one had to be
- 629 -
lucky. So Penrode went into training horses and up to this day he is still training and is not doing so bad.
In about one week the boys had another race in the bag and this one ran so smooth and everyone was happy even Tommie Milo. I was in Dukes Restaurant for something I don't remember why but I was there. I had forgotten that I had made a five hundred dollar bet for Tony Bender. I had given the bet to Johnnie's brother as I knew that Johnnie Roberts’ brother worked for Tony in the Villege and in Ducke's Restaurant in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Willie Moore reminded me about the bet that I put in for Tony Bender and he wanted to know if we were going to fix anymore races. I told him that I did now know. He told me to call him if I did I forgot to call him. We did not do anything with the races for about ten days and I started to go after hours in the Aida. Gap called me one night and he told me to stay open after four o'clock in the morning. He the Gap had something to do with a place downtown called Jim and Andy and he brought the whole show in the Aida and we had a swell time the girls were in shorts and we closed all the doors and pulled all the shades down and Gap and I started to cook steaks in the oven and we were falling all over one another, there was a bunch of boys from downtown East, all the boys from Madison Street too numerous to mention. When the party was over about
- 630 -
ten o'clock in the morning the Gap suggested that they give the girls some money for their entertainment. I thought the girls deserved it they were about five girls in all and we gave them 50 dollars apiece - it all clean fun and I gave the girls the Aida cards and I told them when they were out with some Johns and they wanted to eat some good Italian food they should come to the Aida Restaurant and believe me they were coming to the Aida ever since. That is what the Gap was telling me one must advertise. You can't depend only on the neighborhood trade. He was right. We had good food and word got around in all those places downtown and when they got through with their work they like to go to after hour places and have a few drinks and eat at the same time. We had a good restaurant trade and as long as we will put the stools on the bar it was legal for us to stay open. Naturally we served drinks but we were careful and besides we pulled OK with the 104 Street police station and if any of the police came in the Aida they will come to have a drink or maybe eat some good Italian food or maybe a pizza pie we had everything.
Now Vinnie finds out that I got the Aida and he started to come around almost every night but in the late hours. He will always call before he came and he always came with a different girl. That's how I renewed his friendship
- 631 -
again. I had not seen him much ever since he went away for the violation of his parole. Now the Gap come and see me and he told me to try and get rid of Charlie because he looks like a preacher in the place. He is an old fashioned greasball. I told the Gap that Charlie is looking to get out because I am after houring and he does not like the idea. So the Gap told me to pick an argument with him and let him know and he the Gap will come in as a partner the other Dom did not care what I did because the Aida Restaurant was in a hole before I took a piece and now the Aida is pulling out of the barrel. Charlie was telling me that the reason why the restaurant was in a hole was because he was clipping Danny when I heard them talk that way I knew that I had to get rid of him. It cost me over five thousand dollars to have a third of the Aida but I had to make up a lot of lost and believe me I did. Well we finally bought Charlie out and the Gap came in as a partner and I don't remember how much it cost him but I did tell the Gap that I will let him win the money on the jumps races. I told him that I will give him the horse for free but he must not tell anyone in the meanwhile Son of Tarra was entered in a race in New England and I called the trainer and he told me that he was giving the horse a race and that I should not bother going up there as he will not win, he only wants to give him a race for the tightening up. So I did not go up there it was an allowance race which means no claiming race and he,
- 632 -
Son of Tarra is facing horses that are worth any price from 20 thousand dollars up to fifty thousand dollars. So that night I bought the Telegraph which shows how horses run and finish. I see that Son of Tarra was leading all the way and then he finish about six. I thought that he ran a good race. I called the trainer up and he told me that the horse ran a good race and that he will put him in a race next week. So I was happy. Now Furdie comes around and he tells me that there are going to work tomorrow and I better be ready so I told him to go and meet them and pick a horse. He said that he had to meet McCullough. I told Furdie to meet me at my house in the morning. I called the Gap and I told him to be home in the morning and I will give him the fix race and told him to get even for the money that he laid out for the Aida. Furdie came over and he gave me the horse and I called the kids and they will get in touch with everyone concerned that day one of the guys did not show up and I was stuck five hundred dolars worth of bets, meaning that the five hundred dollars was part of the twenty-five hundred dollars that I had to bet for the jockeys. Well I was going to get stuck and I went and see the speed boys and I asked them what horse they were betting on in the jumps and they told me Lucky that they had the wrong horse so I told them that I was stuck eight hundred dollars worth of bets and they told me that they will bet for me.
- 633 -
I said OK here is the horse you are betting on the wrong one thank God. He said even if they had the right horse they will bet for me they know the game. Well the horse won and I got a free three hundred dollar bet for a change. Now the speed boys asked me why don't I give them the deal. I said I can't I will be sutting out everyone stupid of me I should had given him the deal always worrying about someone else. I went home from the track and I wanted to see what happened to the guy that did not show up. I had to go home because I had his phone written in code. I knew if I call that there was no one home because I knew that there will be no one home. When I did call the guy the wife told me that he had not been home all night. When I did hear from him that night he told me that he was out the night before and that he was too drunk to get up in time for the races. I told him from now on I can't afford to be stuck a bet after all I will have to lay out the money and overbet and that is what I don't want to do. OK he said it won't happen again. This fellow's name was Hardy. He was a business man. I forgot all about Vinnie. When he came in the joint in the wee hours of the morning I told him that the night was on me in fact I took everyone check that morning. Now Vinnie tell me I should let him know the next race when it comes up. I told him OK. In the meanwhile Son of Tarra was entered again, this time the trainer told me that I should go
- 634 -
up to the track as it was important so I went up and the trainer told me that I could bet on the horse but I must not bet much because he, Son of Tarra, shies the gate. He said he was not sure gut he shows every sign of it. I watched him in the morning by shying the gate it means the horse will stop when he comes close to the wire because they always leave the starting gate just about one hundred feet from the wire. The gate stands about ten feet inside the infield that is when a long race is being run and Son of Tarra was a long distance runner. Why does a horsy shy a gate -- a horse sees double and when he shy the gate the way I am telling you he sees triple and that is a headache for the trainer but if a horse runs a three quarter of a mile race there is no gate when he comes close to the wire because the starting gate is left by the three quarter mile pole and there won't be any gate at the finish of a race. When any way Son of Tarra led all the way and near the finish he stopped dead as if some one shot him. Now the trainer tells me not to worry as he is got his number meaning that he knows his faults and that means a lot it takes a good trainer to find these faults right away. Well I did not lost much but we at least knew we have a good horse on our hands if he can lead all the way with the best horses in New England there is nothing to worry about this horse he is only three years old. I lost three hundred dollars on him. Now I come back to New York and
- 635 -
I'm hoping thet Furdie comes around soon. Sure enough he comes around in a few days and he tells me that they are going to work tomorrow. I get in touch with Vinnie and I tell him that the boys are ready for tomorrow. He tells me that he will meet me at the track before the race comes up. I tell Furdie to come to the house in the morning as we always do the next morning Furdie comes over and I go through the same routine and again we go to the track, this time I'm going to bet almost all the money that I am winning. We make the bet and Vinnie bets one thousand seven hundred dollars but he was half with his partner and I don't remember who was his partner at that time. I bet much more than he did and they are running and the horse takes the lead and he is going very nice he is taking the jumps smoothly. Now comes the last jump and he falls and almost got hurt very bad - he nor the jockey got hurt. Gee I was sweating like pig what is it the horses seem to know when one has a ton of money on him. I never cash a bet everytime I get a decent bet on a horse. Vinnie was swearing and was saying that is the first and last bet that he will make on a horse. He was saying that he will rather give his money to the girls. Gee I told him if I knew that you never bet on a horse I would had never told you anything about the horse. Well he said I'm just mad because I feel that I jumped the horse. I made the horse lose. Well Vinnie I said they the boys will give us
- 636 -
a free horse tomorrow because that is the way it is supposed to be if ever a horse falls so you better let me call you tomorrow so he said you can call me but I won't bet. I just want to see what he does. OK I said let's go. I did not feel like staying at the track any more so we went home. That was the first loss on the jumps and it was a good one the next day. Furdie called me and he told me to have a bet on a certain horse. He said the jockey gave it to him and they said it is for free so try and get some money back so I put fifty dollars on the horse and I called the kids and I told them to give the horse to everyone and let them make a bet. I called Vinnie and he said he won't bet but he want to see what the horse does so I give him the horse. Well the horse won and paid 12 to 1 boy Vinnie was fit to be tied. He said if he bet the horse will had lost. I told him that he weakened me or I would had put more. I took it cheap see what I mean I told Vinnie see how they kids are they know we lost our shirt yesterday and they gave us a free horse. Well Vinnie said that he is no gambler. Well I said to myself everytime I meet a guy he takes the heart out of me. Every time I want to step out on a horse someond discourages me. The reason why they discourage me is because I know that they are right and one does not need to tell me much to discourage me. I'm so easily led that I almost hate myself when I think about it. I could had given the deal and shut everyone out no
- 637 -
I'm thinking of others. I ought to get my head examined. I had to stop writing just thinking about it. The speed boys would had made the bets out of town and they would had kept the price up on the horses they gave me the eight hundred dollars bet so easy it ain't a bit funny. I used to speak to a guy name Joe, he was the one who put up all the money for the speed boys and he was the one that said give us the deal and we take care of you. Yes Joe I'm sorry that I did not give you the deal you are a real gentlemen. I had Son of Tarra entered again in a race and it was a tough race but to my surprise the trainer told me on the phone that Son of Tarra is going to win. He was going against a horse that was worth 75 thousand dollars, his name was Halberail. When I got to New England I found that phony that tried to beat me the time he was supposed to have customers to bet for us when I had Knights Duchess. This time he said that he will take me to the fishman in Boston and he said I should apeal to the fisherman. He said the guy is rich and is a nice guy. OK I told him I just want to show you how much you lost when you did not play on the level with me so I went with him and I met the fishman and he was a fine fellow and I told him what did he have on his mind. He said that he will give me a five hundred dollar bet if I am sure that Son of Tarra will win. I said there ain't a race on earth that one can say that he is sure even if the race if fixed. I forgot the fishman's name but he had boats and he was a big man in the fish
- 638 -
business. If I was so sure I told him I will bet every cent I owned but as I said we have an edge and we got one horse to beat. He asked me which one and I asked him you look at the race and I'm sure you will know which horse. He said we got to be mighty good to beat Halbarail. I said we will beat him. I know why I said. He the fishman asked me how do I know. I said my horse needs speed to run with him this way my horse will be too busy to notice the starting gate as he shies the starting gate. Gee the fishmen said it ain't the first time. I heard the same thing about other horses. Yes I said I never heard it myself until my trainer told me. He said you have the best trainer in New England States. I'm glad you know it I told him and then he turned to Charlie. Why didn't you let me meet this guy before. He talks like common sense you and your fixed races he told Charlie that's what I want to bet on the best horse in the race not a whole story about how the race is fixed and then the horse runs last. The fishman said to me your horse if four to one, Halbarail is four to five, meaning one had to put up five dollars to win four but if one put five dollars on Son of Tarra he will win twenty dollars. Now he asked me if it was wise to bet for first and second. I said that's the way to do, protect your front money. Now we understand one another he said and he told Charlie not to bring any more guys to him only Joe. Well we went at the track and I called New York and I bet three hundred to win and three hundred for second and I has some money that I
- 639 -
was going to bet in the race track after all I got to take care of the Jock if he wins and five stable hands. This is the only way to be liked by the stable help or believe me if they take a dislike in you God help you and that is what the old man always told me as soon as we win a race the first thing to do is take care of the help don't give them much but take care of them. Now the race is off and I have the finish of this race today. Son of Tarra and Halbrail pull away from the field about a block believe me I never saw a two horse race as this one nearing the wire the boy on Halbarail hit Son of Tarra in the mouth with the whip and with all that he, Son of Tarra, won by a head and they ran the fastest time of the meet. Son of Tarra paid 980, 380, 300. I'll never forget these prices and Halbarail paid 280 for second. I asked the old man how come Son of Tarra ran such a good race. He said he put straight blinkers on him and he could see nowhere but straight. Gee I gave the trainer a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Here is the money that I gave out, three hundred to the trainer, two hundred to the jockey his name was T. Bull, fifty dollars to Whity, he was the groom that personally took care of Son of Tarra and ten dollars each to the rest of the help. I did not need to bust the old man had 24 horses in the barn and he had plenty of help. I think he had nine more men besides the groom. I was so happy who cared about money Son of Tarra won a four thousand dollar purse and
- 640 -
besides by him winning this race he is now worth at least twenty-five thousand dollars and more. He had won an allowance race which means no one could claim him for no amount of money and to win a race like the one Son of Tarra won it had to be a horse and especially they ran the fastest time of the meet and the meet was just about over maybe in two weeks. I remember clear. Now I come back to New York and it wasn't long before Furdie had another race and I must say the horse won but the jockey that ran everything and I'll say that he was the boss the way Furdie will explain to me he will tell the rest of the boys now listen he will say you guys are in this deal and I don't want any funny business you either in or out and if you are in I don't want any double crossing or I'll break your neck. Well this was the last race for McCullough he falls off the horse on the last two jumps and it was in front of the stands and everyone saw it clear when the boy made an attempt to raise he was kicked right in the head and we all thought that he was dead and lots of people were crying. The last time I saw Furdie I'll say was around 1958 and he told me that the boy is still in the insane hospital. Now I did not know what he meant by the insane hospital, he will explain to me it was a private hospital and that the track was paying everything but the kid will never be the same. Now the other kids ran a race for the kid after he got hurt and
- 641 -
Furdie and I made a bet and we did not tell anyone and Furdie gave the money to one of the jockeys but I don't remember who and how much. Now the meet is about to close and the boys are going to Maryland and they wanted to do business in Maryland. I told Furdie no good I can't follow the horses around the world. The last I heard of the boys that same year they done business with some mob in Maryland and when the horse won and the kids did not get paid one of them went to the stewards and told everything and a couple of guys got arrested and I don't remember what happened I read it in the newspaper but I did not try to remember. I said to myself no wonder people talk the gip artists ruin everything. I don't pay attention as to what the papers say but later on I met Furdie and he told me what happened and it was the way the newspapers said they had the right story after all. I'm taking care of the Aida at this time and the Gap starts a poker game in the cellar of the Aida Restaurant we had a trap door behind the bar. First we had to lift the door up and then go downstairs by a ladder made in a style of a fire escape. Well I must say it was a gone one will not believe. I had all money men and who broke them all after a few months, Paul Gambino. He won about sixty thousand dollars. When it was all over my friend Mike was mixed up in the game one guy by the name of Sammie lost about thirty thousand dollars. I don't remember how Freddie made out but the Gap held his own. One night along I cut one thousand
- 642 -
dollars and everytime one made a pot he would throw five or ten dollars to the bartender and he will say give everyone a drink. Of course there was another bartender upstairs at the Bar. I had to laugh at times when someone came looking for me and if it was important the bartender will tell the party whoever it may had been come back in fifteen minutes and Joe will be here the party will say but where are you hanging out everytime I look in the restaurant you are never there. Well we kept the game a secret because not everyone could afford to play in a game of that sort. I was sure getting the Aida in shapes. I was buying a lot of whiskey. I had about five thousand dollars in stock. The game ended up because of I.O.Us. Paul figures what the use of playing if they don't pay their I.O.U.s. First Paul was no ones fool in the day the boys were at the track and in the night they were playing one time the game lasted twenty-four hours and I think that was the last night of the game, well I was out of trouble with the Aida when I first came in I don't know how much they owed for taxes but I knew it was plenty and I had most of it paid I was taking a week's pay and so was Dan and the Gap. Now one night I get mad and I get rid of the chef as 225 dolars a week was too much. When I got rid of the chef the second chef quit. I went and hired a woman and I got rid of the hat checking and I put two waitresses to work. Now instead of one thousand seven hundred dollars that I had to take in to break even I cut it down to one thousand dollars
- 643 -
and anything over that amount was ours. We were doing about fifteen to two thousand a week so we were in good shape. One night Pipe the Blind and another guy by the name of Freddie came in the restaurant and they were having something to eat when all of a sudden one of them throws the table at the other one. Now among us that is a very bad rap. I could put them on the carpet for doing such a thing but being a good friend of both of them I got in between and I stopped all the commotion by saying the law was coming in. I just did it to calm them down. Tough guy Joe Stutz walks in and tell me that Mike Cappola sent him to me to tell me not to make any charges against Pipe or Freddie. I tell Joe who told you or Mike that I'm going to make any charges they both friends of mine. Then I tell Joe Stutz if it was I that started something like this will Mike worry about me. Well anyway I tell Joe to forget about it and I hear that Pipe the Blind went somewhere after Joe Stutz left and I hear Pipe went for a gun. Well I get hold of Freddie and I put him in the car and I drive him out of the neighborhood and he wanted to know why I don it I could not tell Freddie why because if I did Freddie will go and get a gun and then I will really have a headache. Now Mike sends for me and I go to 116 Street, First Avenue and when I got there Mike was talking to Pipe the Blind. I waited a couple of minutes and then I went away. Now Joe Stutz comes back to the Aida and he said Mike wanted to know why I left so fast. Well I said I felt like a stiff
- 644 -
and a creep on the sidealk so I left is there anything wrong with that. He Joe said no then what is it that you want. He said Mike only want to know if I am going to forget about what happened. I said I will forget it regardless. OK he said so long. So long I said and I closed the Aida as it was late and I did not feel like afterhouring so I went home. Now during the same week who started to come in the Aida since I cut out the high class restaurant and I made it so that anyone can come in rich or poor, Fiori and Joe Pagano. I'll say they were in their teens. I walked over to them and I told them to stay out of the Aida as I knew they were in the junk business and I did not want any of those guys coming in the Aida. Remember this Joe I don't think you forgot it I'll tell you and Fiore Seano more later on. One night at about three o'clock in the morning I happened to look outside and not more than one hundred feet I see a big trailer so big that I think that it had about eight wheels so I call Danny Yankee and I asked him if he knew anything about the trailer. He said that he did but he did not know why they left it in front of the place. He said he could not understand. Well I said do you think that it is nice to park here in front of the Aida. He called Chick 00 and he told him about it and Chick 99 said he can't understand why they parked it in front of the restaurant. Well while we were talking two guys walked in and they were dressed like truck drivers and
- 645 -
they went into a huddle and they walked out and Danny comes over to me and he explains everything to me and he tells me that the reason why they parked it in front of the restaurant was because they could not fit the trailer in the drop where they went and they went to another spot and if I wanted a piece of the load they will give it to me. I told them that I did not and beside I did not like the Iodine Brothers. I could talk like I did to Danny as Danny is the same fellow that I told you about the time I went and see him in Long Island and his wife called the cops when she found a gun under his pillow. Well anyway there was a pinch but I don't remember just how as I say that I did not trust the Iodine Brothers. I knew they did some talking and I never say Danny again since that night and until today I don't know why but it took me a long time to find out that Danny was buried and I still don't know why. When I met his wife Ann in the dentist office around 1958 and she wanted to know from me if I ever seen Danny in the last ten years. No Ann I did not and I did not know what I'm telling you at the time I had to find out what happened to Danny in Atlanta. So Ann if you read this now you will know. Now the big phony Chilie Scoop the fellow who was partner with me and one who swindle me to take a piece of the Aida writes Danny and I to the club, 116 Street, between Third and Lexington Ave. and I don't know why we went up there or yes I remember it
- 646 -
because of Danny's father as he was a doctor and he belonged to the club. Phony Charlie starts a fight with Danny and naturally I can't go against Charlie because he is a member so he put me in a spot and Danny thought that I was against him but I was not. My hands were tied. I did break it up I felt like going to work on Charlie but I could not afford it because I just got though with a carpet. Well we broke it up and Danny was not the same any more. He was always afraid of me after that. One day I left Danny in the place and there was six hundred dollars in a bag and it was under the bag that we kept under the bar, the bag was there because it was always damp in that spot and I never put money there but for about an hour until Danny was ready to leave but I got a phone call and I left but I told Danny that when he goes don't forget to take the money home with him as he had to deposit the money in the bank the next morning. Well when I came back to the restaurant I found out that they stole the money on Danny as he claimed that he left it on the bar for a second and it disappeared. Everyone in the place at the time tells me that he is lying because no one saw him leave anything on the bar. They all say that they saw him bending down and picking up something and he walked out. So I go to Danny's house, 116 Street and I tried to talk to him and I tried to make him understand that Charlie pulled that phony move because when you were partner with him and the place
- 647 -
was not doing too good and now he sees it bouncing he is jealous and he is trying to discourage you now. If you took that money and you needed it you can have it but Danny got all excited and I could not convince him. His father came and spoke to me. He thought that it was disgraceful as to what happened in the club that night but the old man could see the light but Danny could not. Even my fiirst cousin Emily tried to talk to him but she could not convince him. While all this is going on one of my brothers-in-law come in the Aida and he tells me that a guy was over to the house and he told us that your brother John is in the Bellevue Hospital Morgue. He said that he is there about two weeks and that he thought that the guy that come over was a detective and he spoke in Italian and he said tell Joe to go to the hospital but I will not leave my name. Tell him I am a friend of his so I call up a friend of mine who is an undertaker and we go to the hospital and we start from one end of the morgue to the other end and when it came almost to the end of the slab sure enough we find him and we call the officer in the morgue and we ask him how come the kid is marked unknown when his fingers are full of ink which indicates that they took his fingerprints. He said that he could not account for it. So I started to call him some names and Dom the undertaker grabs me and walked me out of the hospital and on the way home he tells me that he thought that his color bone was broken. I said to Dom how do you like it the
- 648 -
kid is got a record and they took his prints and they got the nerve to mark unknown. Boy it is something. Well we lay out the kid at the St. Lawrence Funeral Parlor and I spread the rumor around that the kid got killed by a hit and run and I tell the same thing to the family. I figured if I tell the family that the Bulls killed him they will go to the DA and I can't afford it. If one asked me why the detective went to my brother-in-law I will tell you because they were in a jam if they the law will find out who the kid was, they must had figured that I won't say anything that's why they went to the in-law because they went to some one whom they were sure that he, my brother-in-law, will not know them or him because my brother-in-law, told me that he thought there were two of them, one stood on the side. After the kid was laid out one day they, the police, called up and asked the undertaker what was the cause of death but the undertaker told him if he wanted to find out to come to the undertaker. He said OK but he never showed up. One night after the kid was buried they came in the Aida, it was about two o'clock in the morning when they sat down and they had something to eat. When they got the check it was about eight dollars and they only gave the waiter three dollars and when the waiter came over to me I was in the back with Pip the Blind and the waiter explained to me that when he told them that the check is eight dollars not three dollars they told
- 649 -
the waiter to tell your boss to come and collect - we will be outside. When the waiter told me what he told me, Pipe looked at me and I looked at him. We got up and we went out through the back entrance. Pipe told me they are worried because you made no beef, now they are looking to kill you because they figure that you are going after them. Yes I said I'm staying away from the Aida late at night. I will be around only in the afternoon when people are around. Pipe said make sure you do it these guys are worried. Yes I said that's why they called the undertaker and the undertaker gave them a fresh answer and now they want to take out on me. They thought that I will go and give them an argument for the little cause of a couple of dollars. They ain't smart at all I told Pipe. Well I lost all interest in the restaurant and it was not doing so well because I was not in the place at night. I find out later that they, the bulls, lock the kid up for something and the kid promised them some money and they let him go but the kid did not pay the money and when they caught up with him they gave him a beating but did not mean to kill him. One of the big dogs hit him a rap and the kid fell and broke his collar bone. Then they took him out of the 126 Street police station and put him on the street and made it appear as though he got hit by a car. Now one of the detectives from the 126 Street Police Station wanted to tell me who the two Bulls were but I put up my
- 650 -
hand to his moth and told him that I did not want to know. He caught himself and he said that I was right, after all this is a funny world something may happen to one or the other and I got to be open as a suspect. The detective gave me a lot of credit he used to come to another restaurant that I bought in the Bronx, I will talk about it later on.
One night I got a phone call and I don't remember who called me told me to look in the window to see if the License of the Aida is there. That's where we kept the License. Well it was not there. I went back on the phone and I tell the caller that he is right it ain't in the window. The caller tells me that Danny turned the License in. I tried to get in touch with Danny but I could not find him. Well now I must act as I was buying a lot of stock. I figure the bum Danny will get everything so late that night I got a truck and I loaded all the whiskey on the truck and I brought it all up in the Bronx in a few days I was told by someone, I don't remember who, that I had to go to the D.A. office in Manhattan County. I went down there with the wise guy Charlie Scoop and ex-Judge Francis X. Mancuso, Scotty the D.A. in Manhattan or the Assistant D.A., I don remember what kind of D.A. he was, sat me down and asked me if I took the whiskey out of the Aida. I said that I did not. The D.A. said that Dan said that I did. Well ask him if he was there when I took it. The D.A. was
- 651 -
going from one room to another because Danny did not have the nerve to face me. Then I told the D.A. to tell Danny that if you prove that he is lying he Danny can get five years for perjury. When he heard that he can get five years for perjury he started changing his story. When Charlie explained to the D.A. that I lost my money by buying into the Aida the D.A. told me to go home and forget all about it. So I called Danny on the side and I told him you fool I would had got you even in the joint. You made Charlie con you in to what you did and on top of it all you were looking to let me go to jail. Now you lost your pay every week and you ain't got anything, whatever I received for the whiskey I don't remember but one thing I know that I split it with the Gap. Charlie made me an enemy for life because he purposely brought me in the Aida to let me lose money. I made plenty of money with the Aida but it all went for back bills. It cost Danny and Charlie forty-two thousand dollars to build the Aida. It was formerly a drug store and it was owned by Charlie Scoop's father-in-law, and he also owned the building.
Now as long as I am free and it is winter time I go and buy a half share of the Ritz Bar at West Farms at 180 Street. It was a nice little bar and I had for my partner, Max the fellow who I thought put the stamps in my car as I spoke about it in the early part of this story. Well about the Ritz the only
- 652 -
thing I can say about it - that Max was another Charlie Scoop. I think that I was there about three months when a detective came over and told me that I better get rid of the Ritz because in about three weeks the Ritz is going to lose its license so I kept it quiet and I told Max that I want my money back and fast so he gave me my money and I went about my business. Then I hear that Max sold the Ritz right after I got out. Now the new owner lost their license and it took about six months before they got a license. Before they got their license they came and see me and asked me if I or Max knew that the Ritz was going to lose its license. I told them that I did not know anything I had to tell them a lie because the detective told me that if I say or repeat what he told me he will hold it against me for the rest of my life. The detective came around and told me that did I hear that the Ritz lost its license. I said I did and I tried to give him some money but he refused saying when a guy is fair he gets treated fair. By that he meant that he made money other times.
Now I happened to meet Frank the guy that I was partner in the stamp business, he tells me that he is building a restaurant in the Castle Hill section. He asked me to stop over and look at the place. He said that it will take about three months - it was a tax payer building and they were building all kind of stores on the Avenue. I'll say about eight
- 653 -
stores. One day I took a ride around there and the place was half built and I like the place as I could see that it was going to be a cozy little place. He asked me again if I want a piece. I still told him I'll let him know. If the reader is wondering how do we do business, well that is the way we do things. The fellow who has the license under his name may not even know who is who in cases like I'm talking about. The only thing in this case the license was going to be under Frank's son's name, so it was like a family affair and we don't even sign any papers - we do business on our honor. I take a third and we figured what it will cost me. I know it was somewhere around sixty-seven hundred dollars. It cost about twenty-four thousand, five hundred dollars but everything was not paid. There was a mortgage on the cooling system and also on the booths and the cash register. Everything else was paid. On the grand opening of the Lido Restaurant it was a bang - two hundred and fifty customers were turned out. It was that way all of the month. I remember the take was at the end of the week say twenty-one hundred or twenty-two hundred dollars. Well I must say it was doing too good to be true. I asked Frank if we were going to take a salary and he will stall me all the time. As we opened in the middle of the winter, the spring time came around so fast one will never realize. Horses started to run here and there and I was waiting for Son of Tarra to run and in the
- 654 -
meanwhile the baseball season started and no salary and I was getting a little suspicious. I started to come around when Frank was not around to see if I can find out anything. I was worried that he might find out of my suspicions and I was worried about hurting his feelings so I was very careful. I was talking to Frank's son, as by this time he was the day bartender, but I could get nothing out of him. Frank walks in one afternoon and I ask him I can't understand this place is doing so good and we can't get any money out of it. All of a sudden a letter comes in or a liquor truck stops in the Lido and he asked for fifty-five dollars for a case of P.T. Now this company deals only in one brand of whiskey - at least that is all they had at that time, I don't know what it is today. I happened to remember that this bill was paid last month because I happened to be there when Frank signed all the liquor bills and sent them out. My next move is to find out if we are on C.O.D. if that is so then something is wrong. Well Frank and I were walking up and down the Avenue and Frank must had noticed that I was worried. Frank said something but I only caught part of it so I asked what do you say. He was saying that he met and is got a good rabbi meaning what I asked. He went on to explain that in case he is on the carpet for anything he had a good lawyer. Listen Frank as long as you want to talk that way let me tell you something if
- 655 -
I find out what I am looking to find out I'll give you a lawyer, you will need more than a lawyer believe me you will. You know Frank I might as well tell you if you are doing some funny business in that restaurant you better straighten it out, boy I'm telling you I'm sick of having tables. I will take the law into my own hands. He looked at me and I was sure that he was worried. During the same week I meet a bookmaker from Forham and he is telling me the Yankee are finally giving him a break. I said I don't know what you are talking about. At that time I did not bother with baseball and I did not know anything about baseball. He tells me your friend took a good bath this last couple of days. I asked who Frank? Yes he said both he and his son are playing with him and they are both taking a good bath this whole week. That night I was out and I was in a joint and the owner had been at the Lido not long before. I went there so I spent pretty good, the next night I was in the Lido and I said to Frank give me sixty dollars. He asked for what. Last night I made a call and let alone I don't get any money out of this joint I got to spend money besides he looked at me and he gave me the money. The following night I was in the Lido and I had a lot of my friends there but not knock around guys but friends from the old neighborhood. It was about 12 o'clock at night when Frank walked in and he said that he was in the same joint
- 656 -
that I was the night before and that he spent some money. I told the bartender to give Frank what he wanted, Frank looked at me and he said that he wanted two thousand dollars. I looked at Frank and I said that I was in no mood to be kidding. He said that he was not kidding so I walked away and I went at the end of the bar and I was alone in the corner and he came over and he said well do I get the money. I did not answer, the whole thing sounded so fantastic I did not want to waste any energy on such a stupid request. He shook me and he said, hey I mean it or I said you are looking for trouble. You must had just left your rabbi. He said that's right so I grab him by the tie and I pulled him in the back room away from the bar and I tell him put up your hands I'm going to swing on you. He tried to block his face but I pulled his hands away from his face and I rap him on his left and right eyes. He just stood there and I realize fast that this guy came in here tonight to take a beating because he must had talked to his rabbi and his rabbi must had told him that he ain't got a chance. I got so angry that I was dragging him down the cellar from the kitchen because there is where he landed as I was hitting him the pie man stopped me. He was from Forham and he knew the score. Now he is bathing his both eyes and as I had my back turned he runs out of the joint. I ran after him but he was in his car by the time I reached him he was turning and he yelled at me and said wait for me I'm coming back. I called up two friends
- 657 -
and I told him what happened in Italian the best way I could, in other words I was telling them to come with something because if Frank comes back and he Will kill me. He won't pay for it because hitting any members with hands or anything else is a very serious charge. Now from right I'm wrong. After I made the call the phone rings and for the love of me its Frank. He said that he was sorry for what he caused and is willing to forget about it. Well, now I must report it to Tony Bender as he is my Lt. I said to myself that this guy is up to something, if I don't report it I am in trouble if he does. Now the readers of this book must realize what I'm going to say this is a very treacherous trick that Frank is trying to pull but I fool him I call Tony Bender and I tell him that I beat up Frank Luciano. He tells me to meet him in the Savannah Club. Tony Bender and Vito Genovese own the Savannah Club. It is a late hour spot, so I go and see Tony and I explain everything to him. He said he will not report it but if someone calls him he will say, Gee I was going to get in touch with you. It is a good thing I said to myself that my friend Vinnie hangs out with Tony Bender because this is one time if Tony is not sincere I will be in a lot of trouble but Vito Genovese is back from Italy and I had not seen him yet as this is 1946 that I am talking about. Vinnie gets in touch with me and he tells me that Tony told him what happened and that I should not worry and that he will be in the Lido tonight. I go to the Lido that afternoon after Vinnie calls me and there is
- 658 -
Frank in the joint and he has dark glasses. He asked me if I said anything. I said why should I say anything I was ashamed to look at Frank's son. I was wondering if he knew anything. I figured Frank can't be that stupid as to tell his son that he got a beating and then on the other hand the son was in on everything and maybe Frank told him the trick that he is trying to pull and I must say if he, the son, knew anything he made a good job by acting or pretending that he did not know anything. That night about six or seven o'clock I got a phone call from Tony and he told me did that guy run. He ran like a deer but if you see him pretend that you don't know anything Tony I said he left here about an hour ago. Why that son of a gun he left Jersey only a couple of hours ago he must had come to your joint. I asked Tony how does it look. Tony said don't worry about anything I saw Albert and he is mad as hell he can't understand where this guy came from and who put him in. I said I know who put him in. Tony asked me who. I said Jimmy Marino the guy that was killed in the barber chair in the Bronx in 1931. Oh Tony said. We were talking in Italian all the time and we were abbreviating every word, by Albert he meant Albert Anastasia, he was Frank's boss and Albert was going to handle the whole affair but Frank did not know about it. Well I was called one night from a guy in Forham, his name was Paul and he was an important guy but I knew him a long time and he asked me to stop in his office in the afternoon. I did and when I got up there he told me how come
- 659 -
you make that guy make a fool out of you. He meant Frank. I asked how by him telling you that he was not going to report it. I asked Paul did he hear anything like that I did not report anything. He said I only know what Frank told me and I asked and what did he tell you. He said that he is got you just where he wants you. How do you feel about it I asked. Well how do I feel I called you to put you wise it ain't late you can still report it. Well Paul I ain't supposed to tell anyone but as long as you feel the way you do I'll tell you, I reported it the same night it happened. Frank is cute but not smart. How smart can he be when he comes up with such bright ideas. You see what he is trying to do number one, he was afraid because he stole plenty out of the Lido. Two, he is trying to hire his yellowness because he did not have the nerve to come and shoot me that night. So he is making us believe he schemed this story up to hire the other. Paul shook hands with me and said that I got him right and then asked me if I was prepared for him that night after he left the Lido. I gave Paul a long look and I nod my head, meaning yes. Now Paul tells me that he, Frank, and his son stole plenty from the Lido. Paul said that Frank told him so, About how much I asked he said Frank told him about eighteen thousand dollars and then Paul told me that Frank told him that the Lido grossed 70 thousand dollars in the year that you are there. Well Paul tell me did you think that a member will steal another member. Paul said this thing of ours is gone to the dogs, everyone is trying to
- 660 -
steal someone. I just shook my head and said if it was I that did a thing like Frank done I'll be dead without a trail. You not kidding Paul said. Then he told me that John the pieman told him that if it wasn't for him you would had killed him that night. He said you were in a rage. Well I realize fast that I goofed but I could not help it. No you right Paul said especially when he asked for two grand, it was plain that he was out for no good. Well so long Paul I said let me go before I go nuts, believe me it is not easy to write it. I still get sick when I think about it. I did not tell you how I borrowed ten thousand dollars and I put it in the Lido but it help me to get the Lido. I will explain it after I got my hearing in Duckes Restaurant in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Now I want to explain as to what Son of Tarra did in 1946. I did not have a chance to talk about it as I was busy talking about the Lido. As soon as the meet opened my trainer entered Son of Tarra and I went to New England and I see Millen instead of Haymaker. Gee I was disappointed. I asked what happened and Millen tells me that he split up with the old man and he is going to take care of Son of Tarra for a couple of months. If he can't do anything then he will turn him over to the old man. Well what can I say so I asked what do we do today and he said no betting today as he is not ready yet. OK I watched the race and I did not like the way he ran, I went and see the old man and I told him that I gave the horse
- 661 -
to him. Now I got another trainer. The old man said Joe leave him alone for a couple of months, I'm sure that he can't do anything with him. You see Joe the horse is worth thirty thousand dollars when he can't do anything then I will buy him off. I'm sure he can't do anything with him. I know what I'm talking about so I said OK, Sport. Then he told me don't bet on Son of Tarra while he is training him. I said OK. I went and talk to Mr. Millen and I felt sorry for him and I told Mr. Millen do you want to win with this horse. He said that he will give his left arm if he can win. So I told him that Son of Tarra won a good race at Belmont Park and Eddie Accardo rode him and he won in the good time of 111 flat at three quarter of a mile. Mr. Millen looked surprised and he said that he will try and win a race at three quarter of a mile. In about ten days Mr. Millen had Son of Tarra in a 3/4 of a mile race as his past performance did not show in the charts because he had won this race about 14 months before. He had a good boy on the horse but not the best, I don't remember who it was, but he could had better and when I told him so he said he trusted this boy but he was in doubt with the rest of them. Then in that case I told him that he done the right thing. Son of Tarra was fifty to one on the sheet. The sheet mean the Daily Horses Sheet called Armstrong entry and selection. I did not go to the track not to show that the horse was out to win it was getting so that when
- 662 -
people or trainers will say, Oh, Oh, Joe is going to win today. Meaning that I come when he is going to win and I don't come when he is going to lose and beside I knew that the old man will ask me if it was my idea that we entered Son of Tarra in a short race. Mr. Millen told me not to bet on the horse. I told him OK I will not bet on the horse but I did. I bet one hundred win, one hundred place and one hundred third all insured, Now I will explain why I made Mr. Millen put him in a short ract at the 3/4 mile post where the horse start in a short race, the starting gate remains at the 3/4 mile pole. There will be no need to worry about Son of Tarra shying the gate because there won't be any gate to shy. Well I did not hear the race because I did not have the nerve, but I was near the radio about an hour before the race sometimes I will be so nervous that I will get in the car and ride around and put the car radio on and I was in the car when the results come in on the radio and I will never forget it until the day I die. It said in the fifth race at Suffolk Down at East Boston it is a photo finish between Can Double and Son of Tarra. Boy one can imagine how I felt and how long it seem to me before the guy on the radio come back and said the results at Suffolk Down in the fifth race is Can Double the winner and Son of Tarra second. God I was so happy that he finish second and paid 44 dollars for second. I don't remember the show price but it was good. To think that it was
- 663 -
my idea that the trainer put him in the 3/4 mile race on my say so. I had to first collect and then go straight to Boston. I did not care what time that I will get yhere. When I got to Boston I went straight to the barn and Mr. Millen was not there I went to the old man's trailer camp and when I walked in the trailer the old man greeted me with a hug. Joe he said he ran a mighty race but Can Double is one of the best sprinters around this race track and for a minute we all thought that it was going to be a dead heat, meaning a tie, they both will win. Can Double was the odds on choice in the race. I knew what price he would had paid if he had won so I did not ask, he would had paid 182 dollars for two dollars. I would had collected 92 hundred dollars. That's what nose meant to me, plus the purse. Now I go back to Mr. Millen and he was happy and when I told him that I bet on Son of Tarra he said that he expected it but he was afraid that I will bet too much. We collected 875 dollars for second, that was the amount that the second horse got. Now we start talking about big doing but after I left Mr. Millen I went back to the old man and he broke my heart he told me the truth that Mr. Millen is drinking and he is not giving Son of Tarra the best of care but he told me not to worry. Sport, I said what do you mean I should not worry, that is the only thing that I have. I forgot to mention the time of the race, it was 111 2/5 stake horse time, because all of New England race tracks are show with the exception of Rockingham and that is in New Hampshire.
- 664 -
The old man assured me that he will get the horse back. I told the old man I have a lot of respect for Mr. Millen but I gave you the horse. I would had not come back in the horse business if it were not for you. Do you want that I should tell him. He said no but I did anyway. I told Mr. Millen that' things are not so good in New York and at this time we had a jobbing business on Fifty Second Street on Tenth Ave. we were selling jukeboxes, pin ball machines and what we call roll downs, they are the machines that have the big balls and look like pin balls games. Some of the Roll Downs are in the style of bowling pins, just like bowling alley. Mr. Millen assured me that he will not hurt me for any amount of money in the world just give me a few more races with this horse and if I don't make good I'll return him over to the old man. I know this is a tough horse to train and the boys tell me he is a tough horse to ride ome of them will not ride him for any amount of money. I asked shy and he said that Son of Tarra can wheel and stop on a dime and if he don't like his rider that is just what he will do. I wonder if the reader realize how much one has to know to own horses.
Frank left the business in such bad shape that I was prepared to tell the people at the table that I was forced to borrow 10 thousand dollars in order to put the restaurant in shape. All I had to do was paid fifty dollars a week and that was easy because I will not feel it and besides I wanted to make a success out of
- 665 -
the business and I figured it out how much it will cost me and it was still a bargain. I was ready to borrow the money from a business man that I don't care to mention his name. I was going to spring this surprise, especially when Frank was on the table. After three or four postponements the hearing was held and before the hearing I had asked Willie Morelli to keep this whole mess away from Vito Genovese because I felt because of Vito being my coupe I did not want him or anyone else to think that I took advantage because he Vito had just got back from Italy and he had just beaten a murder case. Maybe I felt that he would had been more hard on me, who knows buy I felt better knowing that he Vito was in the building we were all hanging around the restaurant and Frank made it his business to get close to me and numbled to me. He said I knew you reported it and I told him if you don't get out of here I'll start with you in here you double crossing bum. What did you think I trusted you. I must explain to the reader if Frank did not report it then Tony Bender would had kept his mouth shut.
We are all called in the restaurant room and there was Tony Bender, Frank, Charley Brush, who represented Frank, Albert Anastasia, who was the boss because Charlie Brush could not handle this affair and beside Charlie Brush was only acting Lt. for Joe Riccibone, as Joe Riccibone was in the hospital. Albert Anastasia started to do the talking and he started with me. He first said to me
- 666 -
you know that you could start a war by what you did and there is no excuse for a guy like you. You know all the rules and you know what will happen if you did not take the law into your own hands but from right you are wrong. Frank tried to talk at this moment but he was told to keep his mouth shut. I was told not to talk no matter what Albert says. Then Albert said well let not make a long story out of it. He asked who wants the restaurant and Frank said that he wanted it but Albert told him you had it and you burned it up now I want to know from you Frank what kind of shape is the restaurant in. Frank said in bad shape. Al said right back, bad shape, eh. Frank put his head down and Al told him you are lucky to as I said Al said lets end it and asked Frank how much have you got in the restaurant and Frank said twice 67 hundred because my son had a third and he has the same amount of money in the restaurant as I got, so with that Al looked at me and said give him a couple of thousand dollars and Frank tried to say something and Al said take what I said or you don't get anything. Frank asked me if he will get it in cash. I told him after I straighten out with all the bills if there is any cash left, if not, you will have to wait. He made a funny face. As it was about to break up I said to Al how about the license. He said it is good you brought it out. Al said to Frank you make sure the license stays under your son's name and if you do anything wrong you will hear from me. I hold you responsible for the Lido Restaurant.
- 667 -
I heard as I said that Vito was upstairs, it was more than right that I go upstairs and see Vito. I shook hands with him and now I wanted to see for myself if he knew anything so I told him that I just got through with a carpet and he said that he knew then asked me how did things go. I told him fine then I asked him that I may be short some money as Frank makes me understand that the joint is in real bad shape. He called Solly Moore which is Willie Moore's brother, and Vito told him lend Joe whatever he needs. So Sol called me in another room and he asked me how much I need. I said just give me enough for the licence and I will manage. I wanted to see if I would have received the money and then on the other hand Frank thought that I would never make it and I figured that I will be able to buy him out cheaper. I know Frank sure enough Frank comes around and I tell him that I ain't got the money and he tells me that I got money in the sharklocking business. I give him a look and I tell him everytime you open your mouth I feel like starting all over again and if you don't cut it out I'll go to Jersey and I'll tell Albert that you are coming over and bothering me. You are looking for me to take out my money from the sharklocking business and that is my living. It seems to me that it bother you since the time we made the money on the last stamp deal it appears to me that you are looking to break me. I want to know where are you going to go if I lost
- 668 -
any money in this restaurant. You better pray not for me but for yourself you don't think that you are going to get away with it if I go broke with this restaurant. I'll tell you what I'll do I'll give you two thousand cash and we will call it even you made a ton of money in this joint. I see he said now you have the money. No I said I'm going to a sharklock and I must pay the interest so what do you want. I want to do it just so that I don't see your face. I'm afraid that I may be doing bad and you might come around and I might lose my head. Frank said give me the money. That's the way to do I said you already got your money and anything you get now it is found. So Frank took his money and he ran like a thief that he was. Now he comes up with another story. He asked me if I want to give his son five hundred dollars a year for the license. He said after all his son stands to be marked bad with the A.B.C. Board. I answered him he stands to be marked bad. Are you kidding, he is already marked and you did it if anything I'm going to clear his name because I'm going to run a grand opening. I'll tell my friends it is a grand opening to celebrate the departure of Frank Luciano, how is it, do you like it? Frank said that's another thing, how come you did not have a grand opening when we first opened up. I told him that I thought about it and I spoke to some of my friends about it and they advised me that it will be better to wait because we might open with a bang and if it will show up then we will have a grand opening. We did so well why
- 669 -
did we need a grand opening. I know why I said so that you could steal more money. He got all nervous and he asked me again what are you going to do about my son. OK I said we will go to Jersey and we will tell Al that you want five hundred a year for the license. Oh he said so long forget about it and he was going away. I thought fast and I called him back and I told him, I'll tell you what I will do I'll see how I will make out and if I make out good I will give it to him. He said can I depend on what you say. I said yes. We shook hands and he went away. Now I will explain what I meant by "think fast" -- I said to myself the kid may do something wrong on purpose, with a bar that is the easiest thing to do. I will leave the Lido for a while and I will talk about the jobbing business, it was called the Midtown Vending, Inc., My partners were Tony Bender, Vinnie, Max, I don't remember Vinnie and Max second name but we called him Max Green. We opened the store on Fifty Second Street, Tenth Avenue, I was together with Max Green and Vinnie was with Tony Bender. They had fifty percent and Max and I had fifty percent. The first thing we done was put out some machines on location. Max and I are old hens at this business. Instead of having the machines idle in the store we will have them making money and if someone wanted a certain machine and we did not have the machine and if we had the machine on the route all we had to do was send the mechanic to pick it up and replace it. A store keeper will always welcome a new machine. We were
- 670 -
collecting enough money on the route to support the office. Now there was talk that Mayor O'Dwyer was going to throw the machines out and everyone was afraid to buy. We spoke to the president of the union and he and some of the union officials went to see the Mayor and the Mayor promised them that he will not touch the machines. That wasn't good enough so Tony Bender had someone talk to the Mayor and he made the same promise. Now we are sure that the machines are going to stay. We started to give machines out on credit and we were doing a tremendous business but no money was coming in only the route was supporting the office. After a few months the operators started to pay their bills so for a while things were picking up and we started to build up our route. We are collecting about a thousand dollars a week and after we pay our help and all other expenses we put the balance in the bank. The prices on the machines were: Roll Downs from 250 dollars to 450 dollars, the Pinballs from 50 dollars to 250 dollars and the jukeboxes new sold for 675 dollars, cost us 575 dollars.
Max goes to Chicago to see if he can tie up some good machines, by that I mean to guy a certain machine that was a good number. If we will tie it up it would mean that no one else will have that machine, then if any other jobber wanted that type of machine he would have to buy it from us. If he tried to get it from Chicago they will refer them to us, but Max came back and all he tied up was a certain jukebox. As soon as the first delivery arrived and I took one look and
- 671 -
I knew it was a failure. It was a jukebox that came with the motor and music box in two separate units, the motor will be in the back room or in the cellar the coin slotted part would be in front of the store. I knew on sight that the storekeepers will not go for this type of juke box. We distributed about twenty and we stopped. Then we notified the company to stop shipping us any more jukeboxes of that type. The company wrote us and threatened to sue us. Now we were picking on Max as he had sent the company in Chicago a five thousand dollar check. It was Max's own money. We were telling Max why did he tie something up without consulting us and all Max will say that he will go for the money. We did not need to worry about being sued because one day not long after, say about three months, we woke up and we hear that the police in the early morning hours raided all the pinballs along with the Roll Downs. The police even waited for the jobbers to open up and raided them. We were the first ones that got hit hard. They seized about seventy machines on the route and about sixty in the store. We lost all our work and money. We lost about six thousand dollars. It was not much considering. We sold the lease of the store to Jerry Blaine for five thousand dollars. Jerry Blaine a former bandleader went into the record business and I believe that Jerry is still there. Now I'll go back to my Son of Tarra. Mr. Millen entered him in another race at a mile and 116
- 672 -
and Son of Tarra ran a very bad race. Again I talked to Mr. Millen and asked him to give the horse to the old man. I asked Mr. Millen why don't he run Son of Tarra in a short race. Mr. Millen said that he is afraid because Son of Tarra has a weak left ankle and he is afraid to run him with horses. He begged for one more try. I said OK please Mr. Millen the season will be over and we won't win a race. He runs him once more and again he runs a bad race. Now Mr. Millen tells me Joe do you know why I kept insisting on running Son of Tarra I said no I don't. Well he said do you remember last year at the end of the meet when we beat Halbrarail. I said yes. Well he said it was in the bag for Halbrarail to win because we beat Halbrarail the boys are sore at me and they promise themselves that they ain't going to win a race with Son of Tarra that means that I must give up Son of Tarra for your sake. Come he said let's go and see the old man and I'll turn the horse over to him today. We went to the old man's barn and Mr. Millen told the old man about the jockey being sore at him. The old man told Mr. Millen that he, the old man, knew something that is why I wanted the horse for Joe's sake. Mr. Millen asked me if I cared to go and get Son of Tarra and bring him to the old man's barn. Boy would I go you are not kidding. No Mr. Millen said so I went and got the horse and bring it to the barn where he belongs. As soon as I seen Son of Tarra it seemed to me that he knew that he
- 673 -
was going back to his old home. After the old man looked him over he told me that he was going to refresh him it will take just about six weeks. I didn't care if it would had taken six months I just was happy. I don't mean that I did not care for Mr. Millen, he himself was happy for me. I had a lot of respect for Mr. Millen but no one could take care of Son of Tarra like the old man could, in fact I gave Mr. Millen some time later on another horse I will talk about it later.
I must tell now what I did when I took over the Lido Restaurant after I got through paying almost everything, even a three hundred dollar water bill. I was forced to run a grand opening but ineased of making it a grand opening I made it the first year anniversary. I made it a three day affair. I gave out free steaks to the boys that came and pay me their respect. I did pretty good and I bought a pretty good stock of all kind of whiskey. I kept the same help but I got rid of one or two as I went along. A waiter was always bothering me for a job and he came from Forham. He bother me so much that I finally gave him a job after about three months. I did not want him as he looked like a sharpshooter but he con me into giving him a job, his name was Willie that is all I can remember. And I hire the best pieman in the whole Bronx. I had to give him more money but he was worth it. I had a day bartender and he took care of the kitchen and the pieman taught him how to make pies. He would take care of the
- 674 -
customers until the regular pieman came in to work at four o'clock in the afternoon. The boys from Harlem started to come to the Lido Restaurant and some of the detectives also came up and one night a detective was drinking with me and he was telling me how the boys in Harlem talk on the phone. He was talking about my nephew and Joe Pagano. As we were talking my nephew Fiore Siano walks in the restaurant and I tell the detective go ahead talk, let him hear just what you were telling me so the detective repeats the phone calls that some other detective picked up while tapping the phone where Fiore and Joie hung out, it was at a bar at One Hundred and Fourteen Street on Second Avenue. Here is the way the detective described it: Hello who's this, the other end of the wire, who calling. Jim, this is Fiore what do you want, outside, I need 14 suits, inside, what time, outside, eight o'clock, inside, OK. A couple of hours later the same voice: Hello is Fiore there. Hold the wire. Hello who this. Jim. Inside, what do you want, outside, I need 14 shirts. The detective turned to talk to Fiore, what are you kidding what do you guys think the Police Department is stupid we don't get paid for nothing. If you were not Joe's nephew I'll come in the bar and knock your head off just for being that stupid. You guys hurt our ego we feel that you all are making a fool out of us with this Fiore put his head down and ordered some drinks. Then I spoke I
- 675 -
asked him is it true. He will say I don't know I was drunk. Well I'll tell you if someone called me on the phone and spoke that way I will give him a beating instead of selling him anything, unless you are selling suits and shirts I don't know. Then we will drop the subject and talk about something else.
Now I notice a lot of guys were coming to the Lido Bar. One night I was talking to some kid and as we were talking about old timers that died, he the kid happened to mention someone's name. I asked him how did you know that guy. He sayd why do you think I come to the Lido Bar and I bring all my friends. I said no tell me. He the kid said he was my father. Oh God I said what a small world. His name was Gabby, it was a nickname and that's all I knew him by. Gabby was coming up to the Lido Bar, I'll say three or four times a week. He will first call and say on the phone we are on the way up put on ten steaks. We will have them ready before they come up as John the cook will put them in a big pan and then put them in the oven by the time the kids sat down they will be real hot on the sizzling plate. This went on for about a month and everytime Gabby came up to the Lido Bar he will say I'm going to make you rich. The check that Gabby will have everytime that he and the rest of the crowd will be say like one hundred-forty dollars up to a couple of hundred dollars. I was afraid to ask them what were they doing for them to be able to spend all that money. One day one of the boys from Forman was in the
Lido and the kids were in the Lido and they were sitting in the middle of the restaurant and there were about fifteen of them, including some girls. Their check was about one hundred and sixty dollars. My friend from Forham looked at me and he laughed and he asked me what do they do for a living. I told my friend I don't know and I don't want to know. He said I don't blame you, how old are they. I said I only know how old Gabby is but I don't know the age of the rest of them. I know Gabby is 24 years old but the others I'm afraid to find out, they spend so much money who cares. You know the way I need the money as that bum Frank left this place in a bad shape. My friend said don't worry you will pull out of the barrel. My friend goes to the bathroom and he comes back and he tells me, hey Joe I just heard Gabby tell the rest of the kids you all got to give me 12 dollars a piece, that means they chip in and that is good because one guy don't get hurt by paying the check all by himself. Gee that is good news I said I won't let on that I know anything or Gabby may feel bad. That night my friend said. Well the party broke up about three o'clock in the morning. About three days later Gabby came up with three girls and two boys and they came about eight o'clock in the evening. I never had such a good time in my life. Only he and I were drinking. He had a hundred dollar bill on the bar and he said he and I were going to drink the whole hundred dollars and then we were going to go to Harlem in the after hour
- 677 -
joint. I never knew that Gabby would sing so good as he was singing. Some of the girls were dancing on the bar and my waitress was so high that she took her dress off and she was doing the Charleston and the Black Bottom on the bar. We had the door closed and when it came three o'clock in the morning Gabby wanted to leave and go to the after hour joint. I was having so much fun that I hated to leave. I told him we leave at four o'clock, how is it OK? I said. Gabby said anything you say and he started to sing again and my waitress was a pretty good singer herself as she worked as a singer when she was younger. Her name was Sally. Sally you see I did not forget you. When four o'clock came I was so high that I slid right at the end of the bar and I went to sleep. I had drank two bottles of scotch so they drove me home in Yonkers and they went after houring. The same afternoon, I'll say that I went to the Lido about five o'clock and as I walked in the restaurant I saw that Sally the waitress was crying. I asked what's the trouble and she said that one of the girls called up about a half hour ago and said to tell you that Gabby got killed this morning after they took you home and the cops question the girls and the girls want you to say that we closed ten to four this morning because when they told the cops that they were at the Lido Bar in the Bronx on Castle Hill Ave. the cops wanted the girls to say that the Lido closed ten after four but the girls insisted that the
- 678 -
Lido closed ten to four. OK I told Sally sadly, Gee everytime I get a friend he dies. I was so disgusted and I started to blame myself because I remember that I was supposed to go along with them and I'm sure if I would had gone along with them nothing would had happened. In no time at all the detectives were in the Lido and what do you know it was my friend. The first thing he asked me was Gabby here this morning with two guys and three girls? I said yes. The Lido closed at ten to four? I said yes. Do you know what happened? I said no. Well he said I hate to tell you as the girls told that he was crazy about you. What is it I asked. He said yes Gabby got killed at 112 Street and he said that he is got the case and he told me who done it and the guy will be out on bail because Gabby is in the wrong and if you want me to hang the guy he said he would. So I said how can I tell you to hang the guy. I won't tell you to do anything like that if it was my own brother. Before you tell me the story I want to know what is this all about me or the Lido closing at ten after four or ten before four. Oh he said the girls called you. Joe he said when I heard that they were here in the Lido one of the girls made a slip and said ten after four so I wanted to make sure that it went in the record that the Lido closed ten to four so you knew when I came in here that the kid was dead then. He said that he should had known better. How stupid of me. He said I should figure that someone will call you but I told the girls not to call you. Gee I said I'm
- 679 -
surprised at you. I'm beginning to think that you are becoming a square this was the same detective that told me about Fiore, I'm trying to remember his name but I just can't. Now I call up Harlem as I want to know where is the wake going to be as everyone in the Lido wanted to go to the wake, I mean the help. The detective called his wife and he was going to eat in the Lido and I took my time as to find out what happened. I wanted to calm down a little more before I'll find out. The detective notice that himself. I heard Gabby was in the wrong. Come on he said sit down and I'll explain everything to you. My wife will be here and you know her so have something with us. No I said I'll sit but I'll only have a cup of coffee, OK sit and I'll start. Gabby was coming up at 111 Street, as you know it is a one way street going west. Yes I said what time was this. He said about a quarter to five. I know they took you home and I know that you were supposed to go down. One of the girls was crying and she was saying if Joe would had come down this would not had happened and I as a detective I know it would not had happened. Now I'll go on - he was going west, a truck was backing out of the parking lot. He stopped and asked me if I knew the lot as it was a new parking lot. I said yes I know the lot and I know who owned the lot. Now you know he said. Oh I see was he involved? He said I did not want to tell you he is the one that is locked up. OK I said go on and he goes on with the story. The truck got into Gabby's way and he had to stop short because
- 680 -
Salana did not see him and they had a few words. One of the guys got off the truck and hit Gabby on the head with a hammer. They brought Gabby to the hospital on Madison Ave. While the nurse was dressing Gabby's wound he jumped up and ran out of the hospital and he came back into the parking lot. Now when Gabby got into the lot there was no one there so Gabby gets a big crow bar and he starts breaking all the windows on the parked cars. I say he broke about 20 windows on the parked cars. In the meantime Salano and the other guy came back as they had went to have a cup of coffee. When Gabby saw them he was running towards them with the crow bar in his hands and as these guys have a permit for a gun they had no choice but to pull the gun out when Gabby saw the gun he turned around and ran. Salano fired one shot to scare Gabby. Joe he could not do the same thing in a thousand tries, he hits Gabby right in the heart. The doctor at the hospital told me this afternoon that the bullet went right in the middle of the heart. That the way it is when one is going to die it takes one shot. Look at me I said we won't be able to count how many I got fired at. His wife came in and they had a good meal and they spent most of the night in the Lido when I'm in the mood I will describe the Lido as it was a cozy little place. I get the blues only thinking about the Lido Restaurant. I went to the wake and I made my own investigation and I find just
- 681 -
as the detective told me. While I was at the wake Patty Erra wasn't the phony big shot that he is today in Florida. He called me on the side and he tells me that he is interested in Gabby, if I find anything to prove that he did not do the things they say he did, he will support me in any action I may take. I told Patty that I asked the kids that were with Gabby and they all supported what the detective told me. Gabby was too drunk that night. I should had taken him home then go home myself but I couldn't keep my eyes opened. I'm just trying to fight with myself. Gee its too bad that you did not come down with him. Let me explain what Patty and I are trying to find out. We would had the right to bring Salano on the carpet in our own court as I said and I'll say it a million times over and over that the mob of ours is a second government. I just had another chance to tell you and I did now.
Now I will go back to Son of Tarra. The old man has him ready and he wants to give him a race. This is almost the end of the season. We have about three or four times to run Son of Tarra. I tell the old man see fooling around all summer it is going by and Son of Tarra has not won a race yet. Yes Joe he said it was not your fault that we got into an argument and you have to be the sufferer. That's right I said well let me win one race this year and I will be happy and we will make up for it next year. Oh don't worry about next year I'll have him in my hands. Gee I just remember something I tell the old man you did not have anything to do with him when he ran one race at Hot Springs.
- 682 -
He said I did not want to tell you or ask you anything, Mr. Millen told me that you bet heavy on Son of Tarra in that race. Yes I did but I saved myself because I bet win and show and Son of Tarra ran third and paid 580 for third so I made a few dollars. What happened in that race, Son of Tarra was up there second then he lost ground. Gee that ain't the way he runs. I heard that race I was connect in Jersey. I was almost sure that he will win it when I heard that he was running second. The old man did not want to say much he likes Mr. Millen too but he was never in the barns especially in Hot Springs he was fooling around with a girl and they both were drunk all the time. Other trainers had told me. Son of Tarra gets his first race and he showed that he was ready to win so he put him in again about ten days later and I bet pretty good and to make it short Son of Tarra broke down and when I heard about it I almost got a heart attack. I forgot all about the money. The old man told me not to worry because I'll have him in good shape and then I will go to Florida with him and I will win that race you want before next year and he told me that he ain't going to charge me any money until Son of Tarra wins a race. How is that he said. For the reader who don't know anything about horses, it cost from 12 to 14 dollars a day for the trainer and feeding, plus it cost more if the horse gets sick or any other trouble that children may get, because horses are like children, especially
- 683 -
I'll go back to the Lido Restaurant as there was a lot of doings at the Lido never a dull moment. My friend Vinnie will always stop at the Lido and he always had a doll with him. He tells me to go down to the Gold Key Club. The Gold Key Club is a high class nightspot. It really was an after hour spot and I must say every time I went down there I had a wonderful time but I did not find much pleasure going down there because I had to park a mile away and then take a cab, most of the time I will forget and I will drive straight to 56 Street between Fifth and Sixth Ave. There was no telling the fine show people that used to go to the Gold Key Club. The worst part of it one never knew if it was day or night as the curtains were from the floor to the ceiling and the room was so cozy that one will hate to leave. I can't say much about it as I only went down on appointment because someone was always there to take our license plate number. That's why I used to park a mile away and then take a cab. It belong to Tony Bender and Vinnie and that's why I used to go down there. So I'll forget about the Gold Key Club for a while as I say I can't say much about it only that they ran a respectable club. They were out for business and it was during the business I'll talk about the club a little more later on.
One morning I received a phone call from the old man and he tells me about a horse called Our Bully. He tells me the name of the horse. He just said his
- 684 -
friends horse in the sixth race as I knew who his friend was - it was Mark Steward's horse. I hang up and the operator calls me and said please give me the name of the horse. I laugh so much that it took a few minutes before I was able to talk to her. I asked her if she had been betting my horses all summer and she said that she had. The old man had told me that the race was one of those things. His idea was for me to cash a bet so that I won't feel too bad about Son of Tarra breaking down and I losing a good bet. One of those things means that the jockeys themselves are betting on the horse, that's why it pays to have a live jockey in your corner. He, the jockey, will tell you don't bet on your horse. He will speak this kind of language - he will say your horse can't beat so and so. If you go against his wishes one will be marked and they will never let you win a race no matter what jockey you will use because one jockey will tell another don't win with that horse or you will show me up. Remember how I used the same boy that pulled Knights Duchess. The trainer wanted to use another jockey and I told him what do you want to give everyone a chance to pull her. He said you the boss. I won't use him and when the Duchess won he gave me credit for knowing my business. Every trainer don't get the same respect as the old man. No one will hurt the old man because he went along with whatever they say and they don't do it too often - only when they want to win a bet and they elect a horse that figures to win, not any horse because they
- 685 -
want it to look good. No one has anything to do with whatever the jockeys do they do it by themselves. The only way to get along is to do what they tell you to do.
I'll tell you about a race Son of Tarra was supposed to win and they said no and we had to watch and see Son of Tarra get beat and we knew he was the best horse in the race. The boy told the old man that we should bet on a number three horse and I bet both number three and Son of Tarra. Number three won and Son of Tarra came second. If number three was not good enough then Son of Tarra would had won that's why I bet both of them. I told you about this race but this happened in 1947 I told you now because I was on the subject, I am still in 1946.
Now I will go back to the operator. I asked her how did she do betting my horses. Gee she said at least I win. I never win when my brother tells me to bet. Then I told her did you hear what the trainer said. She said that she had heard and I asked her did you know what he meant and she said no so I tell her how much do you usually bet and she said ten dollars. Well I said I won't give you the horse unless you promise to bet your whole pay. Gee she said I can't do it. Lady I said one of those things means it is a fixed race or she said I had to tell her, that was the only way to encourage her. OK I promise she said. Do you know what I'll
- 686 -
do, are you going to be home. I said yes I'm going out and make my bet and then I will be back. She said hold the line open and she will call me. I know I said I was going to ask you I know the operators can get the description of a race. She said no they can't. I'm the Chief Operator that's why I'm able to get a description. The post time was about four thirty and I had the phone opened since four o'clock. Anyone that called I will let the wife answer and tell them that I ain't home but ten minutes earlier I got near the phone and I waited for the operator to call me. She called me right on time. She said her heart is up into her mouth. I asked her how much she had bet and she told me one hundred dollars. I told her that I bet six hundred dollars and my hears is up to my mouth to. She said hold on they at the post. She asked me if I care to listen in direct with the track. I said no you give it to me. She said there they go at the quarter Our Bully six lengths and we are waiting for the half mile call. She said at the half Our Bully six lengths at the three quarter call she said Our Bully six lengths. Now we are waiting for the home stretch call and she gives me three different horses and I stood there speechless and then I asked her were you giving me the right calls and then she screamed and said Our Bully wins it. I asked her again if she was kidding me and she said I won't do a thing like that. Then I tell her what could had happened maybe that he was going so fast that he might had run along the outside rail and if he did that he will lose plenty of ground. I told her tonight we would find out when the telegraph comes out as
- 687 -
that is the racing form paper but the next morning I called the trainer and he tells me that Our Bully done just what I suspected. The next morning the operator, her name was Ann, calls me and asked me if I wanted to listen to the first two races in New England. I told her that I would like to hear them and then she told me that she bought the telegraph and Our Bully done just what I suspected. I told her yes I know that I called the trainer and then she asked me if I want to make free calls whenever I call the trainer. Gee that will be fine. My phone bill comes to about 80 or 90 dollars a month. The season will be over soon but I will appreciate it next year. She said that she will be around. At two o'clock she called me again and she told me to hold on and as I did not have any bet on any horse in the race I was doing a little thinking as she was giving me the description of the race. After the race was over I asked her if she can do it every day, she said that she could. The idea that I got was to beat some bookmaker, it was one of the bookmaker that I was giving my bets. When the operator called me for the second race I told her about my idea and she said that it sounded as soon as this race is over call up my bookmaker I want to give him a bet. As soon as the race was over she had my bookmaker on the phone. I gave him a bet on a horse that had already lost. I wanted to see what will he do. He took the bet and he did not say anything, it was a hundred dollar bet. The next morning Ann called again. This time I gave the bookmaker a hundred dollar bet on one horse and a hundred bet on another horse in the second race and I made a hundred dollar Daily Double and he did not say anything. Now I'm stuck four hundred dollars, if the horse lost in the second race I was hoping that he will lose. I tell the operator did you hear everything. She said yes. The next day I done the same thing. Now if the horse loses in the second race as the one the day before lost I will be stuck seven hundred dollars - the horse in the second race lost. Now I call the old man as I got about ten days before the meet will be over. I asked the old man that in the future if
- 688 -
he gets or he must try and get a good thing in the second race. It must be a second race at anytime, meaning any day. I told the old man what I was doing and I told him that I will take care of him and I told the operator that I will take care of her. I bet the guy again the next day but I did not give the bookmaker a three hundred dollar bet, I figure that I will wait for the old man about four or five days if he don't come through I would have to bet a signal horse but it will have to be a long shot or I'm stuck. I must catch a Daily Double to win some decent money. I put my friend Vinnie in on it because he gave me a piece of a horse room around the same neighborhood where I was betting. Vinnie thought that I was crazy but he went along with me. The old man called me bright and early one morning and he gave me a horse in the second race. He was listed at ten to one but the old man told me that he will pay only about two to one and he gave me another horse in the sixth race. Well I was waiting for Ann to call me and as soon as she called me I told her that I had a horse in the second race and to be careful and don't make any mistake when she called me at post time and I had the winner of the first race and he was a six to one shot. I called the bookmaker and I gave him the first and second race. I wanted to give him a two hundred dollar Daily Double he said no, make it one hundred. I said OK give me two hundred to win in the second race. I did not
- 689 -
say anything about the horse in the sixth race because I wanted to see what the horse does in the second race. I sat and waited for the second race by the way the first horse paid about eighteen dollars - it mean that I got eighteen hundred coming. Now if the second horse wins I got him stuck good for the benefit of those who don't understand what a Daily Double is, if the horse don't win I lose the first winner and I will lose only the hundred dollars that I put on the Daily Double but I have also two hundred to win on the horse in the second race. Now if the horse in the second race should lose here is the way I stand right now I will be winning 13 hundred dollars because the first horse paid $18, deduct the five hundred dollars that I put in, here is about what I got going on the second horse, two hundred I put on the nose and half of the eighteen hundred that the first horse paid so the second horse wins and he paid six dollars just what the old man said he would. The Daily Double paid about sixty dollars, boy I'm plenty ahead now. I go into the bookmaker and I give him four hundred to win on Judge O. The only reason I remember Judge O is because it belonged to a friend of mine, it was Jim Arthur horse. Judge O wins and he pays eight dollars. Now taking out all the money I lost and taking care of the old man and the operator we won clear on the whole deal six thousand dollars. When Vinnie went and collect as I did not have the nerve to
- 690 -
go I was ashamed the bookmaker told Vinnie to tell that guy to forget the number. The operator thought that she was watching a movies as she witness all this. She could not get over it. I told her you see how hard it is to win money on the horses. You not kidding she said. Now who comes and see me a friend I did not see for about six months and he tells me that he can't win a race. I asked him what was on his mind. He said that he is got three horses left in the barn and the other day he lost a horse that was worth five thousand. He said that he bet five hundred dollars for the jockey. Not only did he lose the bet he also lost the horse. I asked him who was the boy and he said Mike Basel. Gee I said he works for Bernstein. Furdie said Bernstein that is the guy that took my horse. Boy I told him I tried to tell you about New England if you are not in right you are dead. Yes he said he is convinced well what can I do for you I asked him. He said that he will like to use one of the old man's jockeys if I can get him. I can do it I told him but I must run the affair for you, all you want is to win a bet. Yes he said in order to win a bet I'm going to sell two of the horses for seven thousand dollars. OK I said when do you want to leave we haven't got much time you know. I know he said we have about five days so we leave tonight I said. The next morning at about six o'clock in the morning we were at the old man's I asked the old man if I could use one of the boys. He said sure and he called T. Turnbull. I spoke to Turnbull
- 691 -
and I told him to come along with me and I went to Furdie's barn. I asked where is the horse. He pointed to the stall and I told Furdie to have someone to saddle the horse. He did and I told the jockey to take him out for a mile and if Furdie waves you down just keep going because Furdie had told me that he did not want pistol Pete to go a mile. When Turnbull came around the 3/4 pole Furdie waved him down but the Jock kept on going. When he the Jock returned he called me on the side and he told me that if I wanted a cinch race I said yes. Then put him in for twenty-five hundred claiming so I go back and I asked Furdie if he wanted a cinch race he said yes then put him in for twenty-five hundred. He showed me the book and there was a race that fit Pistol Pete for one mile and a sixteenth, twenty-five hundred claiming. I did not want to stay so I asked Furdie not to spoil the Jock give him a two hundred dollar bet and collect your money tomorrow because your horse will win and I went home as I had things to do. I bet five hundred dollars on Pistol Pete and Pistol Pete won all by himself and paid six dollars. Furdie bet ten thousand dollars when the race was over Furdie was out of business because Pistol Pete was claimed and he, Furdie, had sold the other two horses s0 it was all over when he came to New York. He had a smile on his face. He said he had to come to me to win a race.
As far as the horseroom on 225 Street I was not active there. I had twenty-five per cent. I can't say much right now as I said I did not get interested until
- 692 -
But I will talk about Fiore my nephew. He gave me a lot of trouble he comes with Joe Pagano and he tells me that they can get a truck load of something. I don't know what it was I tell him that I don"t want any part of it he comes back again and he tells me that they got the truck and they got one hundred thousand dollars worth of some kind of piece goods but it is all govermment material. I tell him to take my advice and don't bother with it. He did listen to me this time but he made a mistake by introducing the guy irom Jersey to me as he happened to be a mob guy and Fiore was not at this time. Well Fiore did tell the fellow in Jersey to keep the truck as he and Joe Pagano don't want to know anything if he should get arrested. The guy kept the goods for about a month and when he tried to sell part of the load he got arrested. After he came out on bail he was going to everyone that knew me and he wanted to make a meet with me but I refused because why should I meet him when I aint got anything to do with it and another thing I figured if I meet him he might be getting a tail and the first thing that will happen I will be red hot and for what reason so he was insulted because I will not meet him as he was with Albert Anastasia. He went and cry to him so Albert sent one of his boys to come and talk to me to find out what it is all about. So when I explained every-
- 693 -
thing to this fellow, He could not believe it. This fellow gave me a lot of credit for not wanting to make a meet. No one could believe that the guy could be so stupid. Just when I was forgetting all about it the guy came back to me. He said that I should listen very carefully. Albert sent me to ask a favor of me. Put in a thousand dollars because this guy has the case in the bag and if we don't help him he will go to jail and we don't want anyone to go to jail just for the sake of a few dollars. Well when one gets put in a spot like this there is no choice than to put my hand in my pocket and give the guy the money. Albert put me in such a spot I could not refuse when I called the kids and I told them that I laid out a thousand dollars they looked at one another. They said that they ain't got a penny. I thank them and I walked away. Let me go back to the Lido and Son of Tarra as I want to go into 1947 and that's all I was doing taking care of the Bar and waiting patiently for the trainer to come back from Florida. He did come back and I went and see him in New England. The trainer sat me down and told me that he has got a good idea. If I will go along with him he said that he wants to put Son of Tarra in a five thousand dollar claiming race as you did not win a race last year. Now go and speak to some of your friends around the track and spread the rumor that Son of Tarra is a cripple and you are going to put him in a five thousand dollar race and you hope that someone claims him. This way the word gets around and no one will touch him and here
- 694 -
is the reason why one must understand horses are put into races on condition as to what they done in their last three races for a horse like Son of Tarra it is worth the gamble if no one claim him. We will win four races in a row there is the way it is done. He will win this race and then we will put him in a race that reads like this allowance, for horses who have not won a race for five thousand dollars or less, in other words he will be running with horses that are worth five thousand dollars. This will be two races that he will in, say he won the first one and the second one now he will run in the same kind of race only this time it will read like this - for horses who have won two races for five thousand or less. Now it is three races he won't be able to run in that kind of a race any more after he won three of them. Then we will put him in a plain allowance race and he will win that one and here is your four races in a row. Now after we collect four purses we will run him for purses only. If a horse runs in an allowance race no one can take the horse away from you that's the idea of the whole thing and he will be running with horses that he can beat easy. We put him in for five thousand dollars and the rumor that we spread worked fine. Tony Bender bet five thousand dollars. Vinnie and I bet a couple of thousand dollars and we went to Boston to see the race. The old man used Jockey Sistio. He had rode Son of Tarra before and the old man wanted to give him a chance to
- 695 -
have the honor to have a win. We figured that he would be two to one but to our amazement he was on the board three to one and he remained at that odds until the race was run. Son of Tarra took the lead and he was in front about ten lengths and he was going smoothly as they turn for the stretch run Son of Tarra was still in front by ten lengths and the jock was looking behind and all of a sudden the jockey used the whip. Now all the jockeys that rode Son of Tarra were always warned never to use the whip on him if they did Son of Tarra will wheel and when the jockey used the whip and they were about a hundred feet from the wire Son of Tarra wheeled and the jockey was thrown about twenty feet into the air. He was lucky that he landed in the outfield or he would had been killed. Son of Tarra himself made a couple of somersaults and we were worried if he was hurt as he, Son of Tarra, started to run all by himself and as he was running the old man had the glasses on him and he could see that he was running sound. Now I did not believe my eyes and I asked the old man if Sistio used the whip the old man said no but later on the old man admitted that the boy used the whip. He said that he did not want to tell me for fear that I will go after the jockey and hurt him. All the jockeys that rode Son of Tarra were always warned not to whip the horse. In fact I was talking to Jockey Sisto the year before and he the jockey himself was telling me that Son of Tarra is no horse to
- 696 -
whip there is no telling what he may do if anyone whip him. The truth was that Sisto bet a thousand dollars on the horse that was running second that's why he, the jock, was looking back when he saw the horse that he bet on running behind him. He knew that there was nothing that he can do to lose the race so he also knew that if he whip the horse it will be dangerous so he was good and prepared before he whip the horse he certainly earned that bet because he took the chance of his life but I can tell you now that I never saw Sisto again he certainly made his business to duck me and he never rode again at that meet. I'm pretty sure it was at Narragansett Race Track in Rhode Island. I did not mind the bet but he almost killed the horse how the horse did not get hurt no one will ever guess. On top of it all a trainer or owner I don't remember comes over to me a and he told me that I cost him the race. I asked how, he told me that my horse fell in front of his horse. I got so mad that I told him that I will have a match race with his horse and the winner will take both of the horses. He walked away from me. I called him back and I asked him if he bet on his horse he said that he bet heavy. I told him that I did not mean to be fresh I'm only mad because you saw what happened and if he really though that his horse could had beaten my horse if he did not fall I reminede him that my horse was ten length in front of his horse. He told me that his name was Mr. Snyner and he knew that it was impossible for any horse to catch Son of Tarra with such a lead and so near the
- 697 -
wire so I tell him keep your eyes on Son of Tarra from now on and in a month or two I'll see you and it will speak for itself and you will never see my horse in a five thousand dollar claiming any more. Well I became friends with Mr. Snyner and everytime I went to New England he will look me up. I must tell the truth I had my doubt whether the trainer was in on it but as I went along he showed me how he never got over that race. He said to me one time that he claimed a horse and the horse died in the race and not along that he lost the five thousand dollars but he had to pay to have the horse removed off the track but he said that he was in business for fifty years and a lot of things happened in fifty years but you have one horse and you are going through a lot. It was not what happened he said we got to worry to see how this will affect Son of Tarra. He is a funny horse and does not forget so easy. He said he will put him in for sixty-five hundred next week and I don't want you to bet much until I see how he will react in a race. Don't bet across the board on him because he will either win or don't come in the money at all. Gee I said I got those worries now, this horse racing is heart breaking, no wonder all the trainers and owners die with heart trouble. The old man put the horse in the following week for sixty-five hundred dollars. We could not afford to wait for the condition allowance race I told you about. All plans were upset and now we must run the horse in a few claiming races and let him go out and win. We knew he will win no matter where
- 698 -
we put him if he will get over what happened to him. Well the race comes up and the darling that he was he won it like a champ and he paid $1180 to win 6 dollars for place 6 dollars for show. A horse player can see that we were not the only ones that bet on Son of Tarra only to win by the price that he paid for place and show he paid the same price for show as he paid for place. I bet two hundred and fifty dollars on Son of Tarra enough to get even but one must remember that had he won that race the first time how much I will be ahead instead of just getting even one can never overcome that kind of a lost. By the way the next time I saw Mr. Snyner he was hiding his face with his hands and he was telling me what a chance we took putting Son of Tarra in for a five thousand dollar claiming. I told him that he did not see anything yet. He is going to win about four in a row I told him. Thanks he said he will bet on him the next three times that he will run. Well I told him you will do yourself some good stop trying to figure him out. We shook hands and he wish me luck. Horse people are like show people they are a pleasure to meet - all sports men or women are a pleasure to meet. The following week he put Son of Tarra in again. This time he put him in for seventy-five hundred dollars. I went up in New England to watch him run. Now I had the nerve to watch him. I wanted to hang out with Son of Tarra in fact I was preparing to stay with the horses I just could not stand the mob
- 699 -
guys any more, they were starting to make me sick only looking at them. This race that I saw him run he ran like a champ. He was four to one and I don't remember what I bet on him. The race was off and here is the way he ran the race. Son of Tarra got in front and I must say that almost every horse in the race took a shot at him he shook off every horse that goes up to him. One must know that he has got a good horse on his hands he made me so proud of him that I will give money almost to everyone who will come up to me. There are a lot of brokers that hang out on race tracks. Every ten dollar bill that they get into their hands they bet it on horses - their hope in life is that one day they are going to get rich by catching a hundred winner that is how they dream. Son of Tarra paid eight dollars and sixty cents to win, I don't remember what he paid for place or show. Here is what the old man did while they were running the last race. Son of Tarra won he was planning as to what he had to do the following week and to get a good price. After the race I met the old man in the trailer and he told me that he clocked Son of Tarra as they broke from the gate and he wanted to see how fast he will go from the gate to the three quarter pole. He showed me the good time that he ran it was 111 4/5, that is good time for a New England track. He said next week we will put Son of Tarra in a three quarter of a mile race and we will get twenty to one. Gee I went home happy. I went
- 700 -
like a fool and told Vinnie. I told Vinnie that we will bet two thousand dollars on Son of Tarra next week and we will bet the money from the horse room and we will give the kid that is partner with us a chance to make some real money. Now that Son of Tarra had won a couple of races Vinnie got the courage and said yes. I told Vinnie not to tell anyone we will pull a killing and no one will know now for that weekend I had an invitation for a wedding at the Essex House in Newark, New Jersey. Willie Moore Morelli's daughter was getting married and I was on the same table that Little Augie Piarano was as he was a good friend of Tony Bender. It was not the first time that I met Little Augie at a wedding and at the same table he would always be wherever Tony Bender will be and Vinnie and I will always be where Tony Bender will be so we were all at the same table and I happened to be sitting on the right of Little Augie. He looked at me and he said Hey Joe you must have a good trainer. I can see from the way he is handling your horse your horse is like a horse that I used to have. I used to put him in a cheap race and he would get beat then I move him up in company and he will win. Your horse does the same thing. You had him in a five thousand dollar race and he got beat, now you move him up a couple of times and he wins. Well Augie I said you know how a guy feels when someone talks like you just did for what you just said I'm going to give you a tip next week you bet on
- 701 -
Son of Tarra. He will be in a three quarter of a mile race and he will be twenty to one. I do not need to tell you what a price he will be taking. Son of Tarra off a route and putting him in a three quarter of a mile race only a horse owner can understand how hard it is to win when one takes a horse from a route and puts him in a sprint race. Augie said did the trainer tell you that he would win. I said yes. Then its good enough for me he said. I told him don't even look at the form of the other horses. I don't care who he meets and if some tough horse gets in the race we will scratch him.
The following Thursday Son of Tarra was entered in a three quarter of a mile race. I don't know why but I was disgusted. I did not see anyone, only Max Green. I told Max that I will call him from New England and I will bet on Son of Tarra and that he should have the bookmaker ready. Now before I went to New England I stopped at a restaurant on Lexington Ave. as I had got a girl a job there as a hat check girl. I asked her if she wanted to take a ride to New England as my horse was going to run and he is going to be twenty to one and he is going to win. Gee she said I can't leave this week. See Honey she said I will be glad to come, how about next week? OK I said I'll go alone. I just feel blue and I thought with someone as pretty as you I will be over my blues. Gee she said I'm sorry. She wanted the name of the horse and I gave it to her and
- 702 -
I walked to a phone booth and I called a small bookmaker and I put twenty-five to win and twenty-five to place on Son of Tarra and I told Mary Ann that it was for her. Yes Mary Ann if you read this take my love to you. I think that you are the swellest girl that I know - good luck to you. I went to New England. The next morning I was in the old man's trailer as I was sitting in the trailer Vinnie and the kid that took care of the horse room came in and they said Gee we were looking all over for you. I said that I was disgusted and I came here to my friend the old man and I gave him a hug. I must have went to the bathroom when Vinnie asked the old man what are the chances of Son of Tarra winning. Well the horse had scratched already and Vinnie did not know it. I knew something was funny with the old man but I did not know what. Vinnie and I stayed in Boston and the kid went home as he had to take care of the horse room. The horse was entered again and again a tough horse was in the race and again we scratch the horse. He was entered again on Saturday and this race there was also a tough horse to beat but I studied the race and I see that Son of Tarra can beat him easy without seeing the old man I call New York three o'clock in the morning. I tell Max to bet four hundred across the board. Then I call Mike and I bet two hundred across the board. Mike laughed at me and I got mad. I said that I am serious and then he said give me your number and I'll call you back. He did and
- 703 -
he said all he can bet is two hundred across the board and he ain't got any thing for himself. So I asked him how come you can bet only two hundred across the Board. Mike said the horse is all over town and in Brooklyn. No kidding I said. Yes Mike said Little Augie bet a thousand dollars on the horse and the horse is fifty to one on the racing form and everyone is afraid he is such a long shot. OK I said how much do you want to give me. He said how about one hundred across we will split the bet and then he said you can call me in the morning. I said OK. Now I meet Vinnie and we go to the Hotel and he calls Tony Bender and I notice that he is talking low. Well while he has Tony Bender on the phone he told me that he Vinnie don't want to bet any money from the horse room. I said OK. Vinnie said that Tony Bender does not like the horse and he is betting only fifty across the board and Vinnie asked me if I wanted to borrow any money. I said I don't need any money I bet what I am supposed to bet. Vinnie asked me if I bet without seeing the old man. I said I don't need the old man, the old man is going to ask me how I like him and Vinnie laughed and he told the old man when we went in the trailer the next morning and the old man answered Vinnie. He told Vinnie Joe does not need anyone to tell him how his horse looks in a race. He can tell me all Joe want to know if the horse is ready and leave the rest to him. We told Joe not to bet and he went and bet three hundred on the
- 704 -
horse. We did not think that he had a chance but Joe said I got one horse to beat and Joe was right that horse beat Son of Tarra by a half length and Joe had the three hundred across the board and he collected for place and show and he paid a fine price for place and show. Isn't that right Joe? I said that is right when I own a horse I know what he can do so Vinnie asked me what did I think of this race. I said I think that Son of Tarra is a cinch. What do you know about that he just looked. Now we go at the track and the track is jammed and who do I find at the track, Furdie. He looked like a bum and he asked me what did I think about Son of Tarra. I told him to bet on him and Furdie told me that he was broke. I asked him how much did he want and he said one hundred and fifty dollars and I gave it to him and Vinnie asked him if he was going to put it on Son of Tarra. Furdie said to Vinnie remember I used to own Son of Tarra and Vinnie said Oh, yes, that's right. I notice Vinnie thought that Son of Tarra had no chance. I bet some more money at the track and I was sitting down near the old man and I notice that he will not talk while Vinnie was there. As soon as Vinnie turned his back the old man said that he did not think that Son of Tarra could get beat. Gee I said, now you tell me and he just looked at me. I knew something was wrong but I did not know what it was. Son of Tarra was in a claiming race for 75 hundred dollars. Vinnie and I are standing at the
- 705 -
rail in the box where we were sitting and as they were about to break I said to Vinnie if Son of Tarra gets off at least fourth he'll win the race. He just looked at me. To my surprise Son of Tarra broke on top by four length. This race I will never forget. Then the jockey took hold of Son of Tarra. I must had showed it in my face because the old man told me that he told the boy to take him up and keep him second and cut him lose in the stretch in the stretch it was first command and Son of Tarra second and when they neared the wire Son of Tarra passed First Command by a half length. Every one knew that Son of Tarra won. It was a photo finish but it was a photo for the second and third horse. Son of Tarra paid 38.80, 1560 and 800 dollars. Vinnie was still looking at the numbers on the board. Son of Tarra was number 12. He had his mouth open and he was saying in a low tone he won he won and I was just looking at him. Vinnie does not want to go home. I'll tell you why because the office got hit for 11 thousand dollars. The old man lied to Vinnie. He did right because Vinnie without me knowing anything he asked the old man how does the horse look and the old man being a fox figuring that if Vinnie wants to know anything about the horse he should ask Joe. Vinnie is Joe's friend not mine. Good for you Sport. Haymaker you done the right thing. I did not know anything until you told my wife to tell me but she did not tell me until about a year later. He was
- 706 -
taking orders from Tony Bender and they thought that we were a bunch of fools. I had my bet on Son of Tarra. We could had made some killing but he thought that he was a wise guy. I hope Vito Genovese reads this as he thought that I was in with them. I never got the right time from Vinnie or Tony Bender I had no use for both of them. Mr. Vito but the way you wanted to treat me you were out of order so the hell with you all. May you all suffer the way I did.
Now I go back to the city and I go and take care of the horse room and I win back the 11 thousand dollars - it took me about ten days and then I quit the partnership and I stayed away from Vinnie and everyone think that we are buddies. I don't want any part of him ever. He wanted to be a big shot. I told him time and time again to stay away from down town - they are a bunch of pimps. Vito the biggest one of them all. Vinnie you thought you were a wise guy you tried to steal the old man on me. Tony put that in your head. What do you or Tony know about horses. You remember Big Dial -- well remember him and think a little you would get gray hair. The old man lied to you when he told you that Son of Tarra had a small chance to win. He knew as well as I did that Son of Tarra was a cinch, that's why you booked him and then I had to pull you out of the barrel. You and I would had been on top of the world today. No you learned the same ways that Tony, Bobby and Vito have. Now we are all in the barrel. I don't care, I got nothing to lose you all thought that I was a fool
- 707 -
I also told you that Tony Bender did not have the brains to fool with Vito. Tony was nothing and you thought that he knew something. It was Vito that made what Tony was and it was Vito that took him away. I'm not sticking up for Vito. I'm just telling the truth. Well anyway, let me tell about the time that we came back from Boston. I could not go anywhere I broke a lot of bookmakers and Fred Keats of the Daily Mirror write and praise the horse. He said there is a horse that runs in New England. everytime the horse runs and he is out to win people that never bet on a horse before go to the bank and draw out their moeny and they bet on the horse so far. Keats wrote the horse is paying off for them. He said that he heard that someone in the Bronx owned the horse and then he said the name of the horse if Son of Tarra. I must tell you something that I did not mention as far as Mary Ann is concerned. I did not see her for about ten days after I came back from Boston or R.I. I am not sure what track it was. I went to the Shangri-La at 47th Street and Lexington Ave., where I mentioned I had got her a job as hat check girl. I wanted to give her the money that I had for her. She was not there, the owner of the restaurant told me that after my horse won Mary Ann quit the hat check job, but she left a phone for me to call her. I called her and she came over to the restaurant and she was happy to see me. I took out an envelope and I handed her the envelope. She opened the envelope and took a twenty dollar bill and she handed me the envelope and said the twenty dollars
- 708 -
that she took was to buy a hat and that is all she would take. She went on to tell me that she had four bookmakers bet fifty dollars for her and as 47th is a smart neighborhood and has plenty of bookmakers Mary Ann was nobody's fool she gave them the tip on the horse for a fifty dollar bet. So she said that she did fine so why should I take your money I should give you some. Gee I was so happy to hear that she was such a live wire that I could not get over it. Good for you I told her that is why you quit the job. She said that she went into some kind of business with the money. She had won it amounted to thirty-six hundred dollars.
I went in Forham to my steady barber to get a haircut and a shave while I was getting the hair cut he, the barber, was telling me how he is going to write to the race track official and order a picture of the finish of the race that my horse won. I had forgot that I had told him to bet on the horse. He was telling me that he bet on the horse and besides he put him in a parlay with another horse and the other horse had won also and that he had won six thousand dollars. Gee I told the barber its good to hear all the poor working people bet their money and win. From now on I said I'm going to call Son of Tarra a poor man's horse. I said to myself all the outsiders made money and the others who were close to me lost. After the barber gave me the haircut and I went for my money to pay him
- 709 -
he said that it was on him. I thanked him and as I was leaving he said that he had put something in my jacket as a token of appreciation for winning all that money. When I went outside I took out the money out of my jacket pocket and I found five one hundred dollar bills. Well things like this make one feel pretty good. I really can't explain in words how I felt.
Now I am invited to another wedding and it was to another of Willie Moore Morelli's daughters. It was two months since the first daughter got married and again I sat on the same table and the same place and Little Augie Piasano thanked me for telling him about the horse and he said that he bet a thousand dollars on the horse and I told him that I was happy for him and I notice that Vinnie and Tony avoided listening to us. I still did not know what it was all about. I was ashamed to write it but I must tell or I feel guilty the four hundred that I bet Max Green I did not get paid. He gave me a story. He told me that the bookmaker ran away as he could not pay off. I believe him because he brought me about eight hundred dollars and he said that he would make good his half to me. I got a tip that Max collected and money and it came from some relative of his and the fellow was a pretty good and reliable fellow. I did not say anything but I got in touch with Max that I could give him a chance to get us even but I did not want to bet to his bookmaker any more. I told him that I will bet
- 710 -
in Yonkers as I don't trust any more broken down bookmakers. He agreed and got all excited so I waited until I got a good thing in a race. I called Max and I told him that I got a good thing from New England but I must give the trainer a small bet. He said that he will put his share I had to tell him a story. I gave him a different horse, my horse won and the one I gave Max lost that night I called him home and he was not home but I talked to his wife and his wife started telling me that Max went out he is all upset. I knew her very well I asked her if he was upset because of the horse losing. She said you know Max when he loses a bet well that's the way it is I told her that I was going out and have Max call me in the morning. She said she would and I hung up. I started to think about Max. I said to myself I don't blame him. I blame myself because I should know better but it was not my fault when I gave him the bet I did not want anyone to know that I was betting so much on Son of Tarra at the time when he paid 38 dollars. I remember that Max had got a good beating as I told you in the early part of this story for cheating on the slot machines. He got the beating from Dutch Schultz's boys. The next morning he called me and he sounded like he took a good loss. Max I said I don't understand you when the horse wins you have a small bet, when the horse loses you are ruined. No I ain't ruined he said but you know how it is. Well Max I told him let's quit and the hell with the
- 711 -
horses. No he said call me. OK I told him you know the old man. He said yes. Max had been at the track with me during the years. I call you when I get something good from him. Fine he said. I waited for the old man to have something entered and I knew it won't be long as I told you he had a big stable. Sure enough the old man had Land n' Sea entered. I called the old man and I had told him about not collecting that four hundred across the board bet on Son of Tarra. I wanted to know how the chances were for Land n' Sea to win. I told him I know he is in a tough race and I want to give Max the horse. The old man knew Max. He told me who is going to win and that Land n‘ Sea was in tough and the only reason why he was letting Land n' Sea run was to get him used to running with speed horses so when he meets his own kind he will find it easy to win. Fine I said. I called Max and I told him that the old man likes Land n' Sea very much. Max got excited and he told me that he had saw him entered and he was waiting for my call. OK Max go ahead and get even I told him that I was going to bet pretty good. I did not bet a penny. Land n' Sea lost - that took care of Max for a while.
Son of Tarra is entered again in a six furlong race and this time Vinnie wants to bet two thousand dollars so we went to New England. Now he asked me what did I think of Son of Tarra he is in an allowance race. I do not tell
- 712 -
him that he was in one of those races that I told you about allowance for horses who have started for five thousand or less. Son of Tarra is the favorite in the race. I don't bet unless I saw the old man. We are sitting together in the old man's box now comes the time for the old man had to go and saddle the horse. This is the race I told you about when the old man told me if I like I should make a bet on number three. I had went with the old man when he went and saddle the horse. Vinnie stayed in the box I guess by this time he realized its better if he talks to me. He looked at me when I went into the box and I told him to put the money away and if he cared to bet anything he could bet number 3 for himself. He asked me what was I going to do. I said I must make a small bet on Son of Tarra and also a small bet on number 3. I explained to him that if Son of Tarra win I must take care of the help. I need not worry about the jockey because he knows that Son of Tarra is not going to Win. He will win only if number three cannot make it. Number three won and as I already told you and he paid ten to one. Son of Tarra was second and Vinnie bet a hundred dollars on number three and he lost the ticket and it meant 11 hundred dollars. We looked for it for three hours but could not find it. By this time Vinnie was convinced that Joe, meaning me, knew what it is all about.
The following week Son of Tarra was entered again. This time it was for
- 713 -
75 hundred dollars claiming. I went up to New England all alone and Son of Tarra was the favorite and Holbarail was running in the eighth race so the old man told me to bet the both of them. Halbrarail was the favorite too. So I went out of the track as I had plenty of time and I made a bet on Son of Tarra 5 hundred to win and five hundred on Halbarail and 5 hundred win and 5 hundred place, parlay on both of them. Parlay means that if Son of Tarra wins all the money will ride on Halbrarail. For instance, Son of Tarra paid 480 to win and 320 for place I collect 12 hundred dollars with my five hundred and I go 12 hundred dollars riding on Habrarail. Halbrarail won and also paid 480. I collect $2,880 for the win parlay and $1,280 dollars for the place parlay and I also had 5 hundred to win on both of them which brought me 12 hundred on Son of Tarra and 12 hundred on Halbrarail, as they both paid the same price. When I got home I find out that Vinnie took half of the bet. He was smart he called up the bookmaker and he asked the bookmaker how much I bet. When the bookmaker told him Vinnie told the bookmaker that Joe is blowing his top. Tell Joe I take half of the bet I know he meant well and he was honest as far as that was concerned so I did not say anything but when I met Vinnie I told him that I had to blow my top it was in the bag for both of them to win. See I said you do yourself some good by staying away when the horses run. You not kidding he said.
- 714 -
Now after this race the old man told me that now that you get even you need not bet any more because we are going for big purses now and try and win a couple of allowance races. The purses will be 5 thousand or 75 hundred. I agreed with him.
All this time all I was doing was going back and forth from New England to the Lido Bar and very seldom went anywhere. If I wanted a drink I had all the drinks I wanted. I will stay in the Lido and from the Lido I will go home and from my home I will go back to the Lido and that is all I was doing for almost all the time that I owned the restaurant. One night the chief operator's brother came in the Lido and he introduce himself to me and he was telling me that he had a couple of horses he wanted to do some business with me but I could see that he did not know what he was talking about. I got to say that I was lucky to get off to a right start as far as horses are concerned. Most of the people that fool around with horses take a lot of lost before they get smart that they don't know anything. Outside of the millionaires the horse business is one of the toughest businesses in the world. Now of course I was keeping in contact with the operator and she was telling me that her brother sold her a horse and she is afraid that her brother will ruin her. She said she worked all her life and if I could help her by taking her horse and see if she is any account but she could not
- 715 -
afford to pay any trainer. I told her that I will take the horse and I will give her to a trainer and I will pay all the cost of the horse while she will be in training but if the horse is no account I want to get rid of her because I don't want to fall in love with anything that can't run, they eat the same and I must pay the trainer regardless so if I suggest that we are going to get rid of her I want you to believe me or you can have her back. She agreed and I told her to send the horse to E. Millen but I don't remember what track it was but it was one of the New England tracks, during a meet horses go from one track to another, that's why I can't keep tag as to where I was after all it is a long time. I could not give this horse to the old man because he had enough horses on his hands and beside I did not know if she can run. In a short time the horse got to Mr. Millen and the poor horse had no shoes. The first thing Mr. Millen did was put a set of shoes on her and that cost 14 dollars. I went and saw her after about ten days and she was a good looking filly. Son of Tarra was entered in a tough race, it was a non-claiming and the purse won five thousand dollars and there according to my opinion Son of Tarra looked good. The trainer told me not to bet. I asked him how was the horse. He said if you feel for the rest of your life how he feels today you will be in good health. Then I told him tell Chris that I am betting a hundred dollars for him. The trainer asked me if I was crazy. I said Mr. Haymaker, he is got one horse to beat and if he will get a break he will win it so I'm
- 716 -
better across the board I can't come up. I told him because I don't feel good but I'm going to hear the race. I must admit that he was facing one of the toughest horses in New England but I felt that if this horse will get into a little trouble Son of Tarra will win it. Halbrarail was in this race. I'll try to remember some of the horses but it is tough and I don't even remember the name of the tough horse, I do remember Evening Time. Its too hard for me to remember so I'll tell you what happened. The horse that I was afraid of wining won the race, Son of Tarra was second and Halbrarail was third. Son of Tarra paid 7 dollars for place and four dollars for show. The next morning the operator called the old man on the phone and he told me that Chris Rogers, the jockey, thanked me and that he done his best but the other horse was too good. The other horse was a stake horse that was good enough for me. The operator had ten across the board on him and she won a few dollars and she was happy. She put up thirty dollars and she got back fifty-five dollars, so she won twenty-five dollars on the deal. After ten days since Son of Tarra ran second he was entered together with Land n' Sea as an entry with Son of Tarra. It was a purse of 75 hundred dollars. It was a handicapped race and the speed boys had a horse in this race and one of them got in touch with me and asked me if we are out to win. I told him that we were. He told me if I'm betting on my horse I should also
- 717 -
bet on this horse as Columbus, that was the horse the speed boys owned. To tell the truth I did not bet anything. There was enough in the purse than to worry about betting after all I ain't a big better. There was no sense calling the old man I could see for myself that it was a tough race so I just did not do anything. That night when I bought the racing form to see how Son of Tarra ran I knew he had lost and Land n' Sea was not in the money either. I notice that Son of Tarra did not leave the gate. Gee I got worried I knew this is a serious matter. If Son of Tarra did not have a partner the people who bet on him would had got their money back. I also know that Son of Tarra will be barred from running because when a horse refused to break or run whichever way you understand he will go on what we call the school he will go to the gate early in the morning and get a trial if he breaks he would come back again in a few days but if he don't break he will be barred for the rest of the meet which means that he will not be able to race for the rest of the year. I ran to New England as fast as I could because I thought of the sickness that was going around, there was a sickness going around that was called the Swamp Fever and horses were dying every day. The officials had stopped horses from entering New England or leaving New England because they did not want to spread the disease around any where else. When I got to New England the old man told me he expected me. He knew as soon as I saw
- 718 -
that Son of Tarra did not break that I'll be on my way. The old man likes me because of my interest in the horse. Well he told me Joe I'm almost sure that he would had won that race I can't understand it so I asked him if the horse had maybe the swamp fever. He said no. Then he won't run any more this year? He said no. Gee we had about seven more weeks left. Gee he earned in purses about 15 thousand dollars. Already I was hoping that he will reach about $30,000 by the end of the meet. I stayed there all that day and I went to the track with the old man and I sat with him all day and I was betting half with him then when the last race was run I told him that I had given Mr. Millen the horse. Yes I know the old man said. Mr. Millen has straightened out. Its too bad that he did not do it last year. I liked him for the good work that he used to do in the barn he had to meet that girl in Hot Springs and I couldn't do anything with him anymore. I know I said I had to suffer a whole year because of her well we all make mistakes so we will forgive him. Jim Arthur is helping him with that filly I hear that she has early speed but we don't know how far she will go. OK Sport I'm going to see him, do you want me to say anything. He said no. When I went to Jim Arthur's barn they both greeted me very nice and they told me that they were sorry what happened. They were referring to Son of Tarra. I know how you feel said Mr. Millen. Gee its bad enough what happened last year now
- 719 -
then Mr. Millen told me to stay here because Son of Tarra is going to start from the gate tomorrow morning. I'm surprised the old man did not tell you anything. Gee I said I'm surprised myself so I invited Millen and Arthur to go and have something to eat with me and I will check in the hotel and I will get up early in the morning and I will go and watch Son of Tarra. Gee I hope he breaks I said so do I said Mr. Millen we had something to eat and I went to the hotel that night as I was tired from the trip. It was a bad night for me as I was thinking that I refused twenty thousand dollars for Son of Tarra just after he ran second in that allowance race. I had something to eat in the Hotel as I could not sleep it was about 11 o'clock. After I ate something I'll say it was about one hour later I fell asleep and I woke up about five olclock in the morning. I had some coffee and toast and I got to the track about a quarter past six. I went to the barn instead of the trailer camp. I knew that I'll find everyone there. When the old man saw me he laughed and said it is bad enough I got the headache but you insist that you want to share it, Well they were getting ready to saddle a couple of horses and they had horses from other barns because they got to make it look like a race. We got to the gate and there was about six or seven horses that went in the gate and when they got them all ready the bell rang and they all came out of the Gate except Son of Tarra, he stayed in the gate and he had his head
- 720 -
high as though he was telling us that he don’t want to run. The old man got sick and we went back to the barn and the old man started to shame . He said he will not ask the officials to give Son of Tarra another chance this year because he may do the same thing but he would try again by himself. If he don't break then this winter I will winter somewhere that I know they have a small gate, and I will have all winter to work on him. I asked the old man as far as Son of Tarra is concerned he will not run any more this year. He said no let's hope that he will run next year. The other trainer in the barn tried to tell the old man that he is afraid that this horse may make you sick. The old man looked at him and said that Son of Tarra is worth all the time that I'll spend on him. I don’t care how hard I'll work on this horse all the horses that I had in my fifty years of training this is the best horse that I like. I know he is crazy but I love him and I'll work very hard on him. I asked the old man where will he go and spend the winter as I want to come up during the winter as I will be on edge. He said that he is pretty sure that he will go to South Carolina. I told him that I don't care if you go to the end of the earth I'll be there this winter. OK Joe I'll be waiting for you. He asked me to stay for the races and we will bet together so I told him that I'll meet him at the track as I want to go back to the Hotel and I'll check in for another day. I want to get some sleep as I woke
- 721 -
up five o'clock this morning. He said go ahead. I left and I went back to the hotel and I had some sleep. I woke up about one o'clock, I had some coffee and I went to the track. I figured I will have something to eat at the track. I must say I was awful sad. I said to myself after the races I'll go and hang out with Son of Tarra over at the barn. I got to the track and I saw the old man as this was about post time. I gave the old man a hundred and I said I want to go to the restaurant and have something to eat and whatever you do it will be OK with me. We did not bet much we only bet say twenty win and twenty place. We did not gamble, we only want to enjoy the races and we always manage to win a few dollars hook or crook as the old man knew his horses. I told the old man that I may come up and spend the week or two as I feel lonely. After the races I went to the trailer and I hung around for a couple of hours. I had a bite and a couple drinks and then I went home. I had nothing else to do. not but to take care of the Lido Restaurant and a little sharklocking business but not much - very little and take a deal here and there. It was very easy to take care of the Lido. There always was a little trouble with the young boys around the neighborhood on Castle Hill Ave. They were very rough every now and then we had to throw them out but it was not easy they will fight you. That phony waiter that I hire was afraid of them and when I was not around he will give them a drink after everyone they bought. If they buy one drink he will buy them one
- 722 -
back with maybe beer or whiskey. He, the waiter, was sick for a couple of weeks and I had to get a new waiter until he came back to work so on morning as I said that I used to afterhour then in the Lido quite often, in fact as long as we had some people that I knew wanted to stay or they would call on the phone and ask me if they can come up, if it paid I would let them come up and there will always be someone here and there coming around and if they thought that we were opened they will come and knock on the door. The new waiter told me that a certain table propositioned him, they the customers asked him if they can do with him as they did with Willie the waiter. He told them to forget about it and they asked him if he was going to tell Joe the boss. He told them no but he told me and I made believe that I did not know anything. No wonder Willie would tell me go and enjoy yourself I will take care of the place. God one don't know where to turn. They are always looking to rob you. They were not friends of mine. They were people that one meets while in business. I did not make a fuss but I waited for Willie to come back but he never did come back. He went to Cal. there were too many sharklockers after him. When Willie went away then I spoke to the guys that wanted to do business with the new waiter and they told me that it was Willie's idea you can't blame us they said after all it ain't our fault he taught us. Well I could not say anything, first of all they were good customers and I told them to forget about it. I had to watch the bartended, no
- 723 -
matter who works behind the bar what a business the bar business is, believe me one must watch everyone. I got disgusted after the waiter quit that I put waitresses to work - no more men. And anyone who has a bar business will know what I'm talking about, especially when a bar does more business in the backroom than he does at the bar. My business ran like this say on a Friday night the register read three hundred dollars - it will read one hundred and sixty-five dollars in the back room and one hundred and thirty-five dollars bar. One Christmas Eve my bar tender was sick so I worked all night as I tried to reach the five hundred dollar mark other Christmasses but all I will make I say four-forty or four-twenty - never higher than that amount. When I worked I made four-ninety, see what I mean I did not reach five hundred but I wasn't far away I earned an extra fifty dollars by working at the end of the year it figured. The waitress that I hired was a girl friend of one of the guys from Forham, his name was Pepie. He talked to me deaf, dumb and blind that we shall go in the grape business. He wanted to go to California to buy some freight loads of grape. I said no we will buy a freight load in the yard and the few hundred extra dollars that we will pay and you not going to Cal. will make up the difference. I knew something about the grape business. I knew if the season was bad one will lose a lot of money so we did it the way I said - we bought one freight load and I went around and he went around hustling to sell the grapes
- 724 -
we had to sell like everyone else was selling. There is a market on grapes - it goes up and down and some times it goes just down as it was doing at this time. When we got rid of the freight load we lost fourteen hundred dollars. Pepie said to me what do I want to do. I said do you know what I want to do. I want to take the first loss I'm not going to chase after the loss. At the end of the season Pepie said to me its a good thing that he listen to me. He said they lost their shirts this year. OK I said whenever did you see that the grape business picks up when it starts with a loss. See why I quit now if you had went to Cal. and you had tied up, say about ten cars, we would had lost a small fortune. You not kidding he said. Pepie I learned how to take the first loss by owning horses. Some people get a bad buy on a horse and what do they do they try to squeese the blood by hoping and hoping and before they know it they are stuck plenty. See what I mean we lost seven hundred dollars apiece. We did not lose a fortune what's seven hundred dollars - a horse lost that we bet on that's all.
In the meantime I called the old man and I wanted to know how did he make out with Son of Tarra, did he try again and what happened. He said with disgust that he tried a couple of times and he did not break from the gate. I told him about the crooks in the restaurant and that I can't leave but I will see him in South Carolina during the winter. I will spend a couple of weeks down South with him, He said that before they leave they will call me or drop a
- 725 -
postal card and they will give me the address. I told him you have one more week to go if you start something that's worth a bet give me a ring. He said OK. I want the reader to know that a good trainer does not bet everything that he starts. Most of the time horses are so evenly matched that it does not pay to bet just run and try and win the purse. An owner collects for first, second, third, fourth and now I understand they even pay for fifth. But when a man has one horse like I have he will try and win a couple of bets and then go out and win some purses.
Things in the Lido were the same business as usual. Getting home every night feeling high as one cannot help drinking when he owns a joint.
Winter came and after Christmas I decided to take a trip to see the old man. I called him and I told him that I was coming next week. He told me that they have some fine motels out there and up to date. Vinnie comes in the Lido of course he came with a girl. I told him that I was going to South Carolina to see the old man and the horse. He said that he wanted to take a ride with me because things are getting hot and they are picking up everyone they see. Well I said let's leave right away and we take our time. I told him not to talk on the phone that we are going away or they will think that we are going for some monkey business. When I called the old man I called from a pay booth, not from my house. I figured I get lost for a couple of weeks and let them worry, I mean the
- 726 -
police or agents who cares, that's the way one feels when he is always being tailed, one gets so that if he ain't getting a tail he will start to get lonesome. Don't believe me I really mean that one gets angry. So we left the following night and we were taking our time. I left with the Buick. I think I had the Buick I really don't remember, I change cars so often that I cannot keep tabs as to what car I had.
We got to South Carolina in about four days as I said we were taking our time and we arrived early in the morning about six o'clock. The old man got us a three room motel house. I never saw a motel with three rooms before. It was a new motel and the rooms were out of this world. I don't remember how much we paid but we paid for two weeks in advance, we paid one week apiece for both of us. We went to sleep and we got up about six o'clock that night. I did not see the horse yet as we went out and got something to eat. We find out that they have a fine beach around where the motel was, it was about a mile from the motel, it was called Myrtle Beach. We went there that night and to our surprise it was a fine beach. We went here and there and we got home about one o'clock in the morning. I told Vinnie that I'm going to get up early and I'm going with the old man and I'm going to the track and I leave you the car and you can come there whenever you feel like coming as I'm going to hang out with Son of Tarra. He laughed. I told him you may think that I'm
- 727 -
kidding - you see. The next morning I told the old man before anything else that if this horse is OK I'm going to break all my friends. I don't want you to mind whom I come with but they are never going to know what I'm really doing. I told him how my horse room lost all that money and I told the old man that I got them even and I pulled out. Good for you he said, I'm glad you are getting wise to them. Mr. Haymaker you get this horse in the right shape and I'll break them all I will never let them know when he is a good thing. I will always say that he is in a tough race. It no use telling them anything else. I told them that he was a cinch no matter what race he would had run at that time because you had him feeling in the best of health and I know when he feels good he is a dangerous horse. Well let's hope that I will make up for it. How is he doing I asked. Joe he said the gate ain't the same as the race track. He come out of this gate just fine but it is an open gate. I'm going to saddle him and I'm going to show you. So he saddle Son of Tarra and he had the boy take him in the gate and he came out of there fine. There were about five trainers there with their horses. I knew most of them. Vinnie wanted to go here and there but I wanted to stay with the old man. I told him that I have enough of going out in New York so I'm here now and I want to spend sometime with the old man and Son of Tarra. So he said what are you going to do here they go to
- 728 -
sleep early. No they don't I said, they are having a poker game tonight. You can go out when you come back I'll be in the old man's trailer that is where we will be. He asked me if I was going to play. I said I don't think so because the old man said that it will look bad, we may be caught in a pot together so he said that he will play and I will watch and I enjoy that just as well, That night we played poker and the old man won a few dollars and we broke it up about two o'clock in the morning. Vinnie was not back yet so I went home and Vinnie came about five o'clock in the morning. He woke me and we started to talk and he told me that he met a nice girl but nothing there he said but she is so nice to talk to. I told Vinnie to be careful with these southerns as they may misunderstand you and they will get you arrested. He said he knows he is being very respectable and Vinnie was very respectable I knew that much. That night I went out with him as there was no poker game. We went to a bar and I felt eyes on me all night and besides the drinks were good in the beginning then they started to feel rough. So I told Vinnie and I also told him that I think that we are being watched. He said that I was imagining things. OK I said talk me out of it. I started to get a headache and he also was getting a headache so we left the place and I had a hangover that I never had in my life. We were on the way home when Vinnie told me to drive to a different road, we might see that girl that I told you about, she owns a motel. I asked if she was single he said no
- 729 -
she is married and her husband will be there to but they are nice people. They don't think anything wrong to talk to you, they are not like in New York, they are sociable, OK I said so long as it is that way we will pass by their motel. I asked him how did you meet her. He said in the bar she was there with her husband. Oh I see sure enough she was in front of the motel and was stuck with her car in the sand and as I stopped Vinnie asked her if she needed any help. She said yes. I asked her if she had a rope, if she didn't I will use my snow chains. She said fine. As I opened the back of my trunk about four or five cops came out of nowhere and they asked the girl if we were bothering her. She told them that she shall say not, they are trying to help me and I need the help. They asked me for my license and I showed them my license and ownership card of my car. They asked me what was I doing in South Carolina I told them that I came and visit my trainer and that I'm staying a couple of weeks. They looked at everything and they went away. So I told Vinnie I'm glad that I am imagining things. It was about two o'clock in the morning and they come out of the sky. I asked him did you call anyone before we left New York. He said that he called his girl and he told her that he was going away for two weeks. Gee I told you not to mention where you were going. I asked him again if he mentioned South Carolina. He said that he did. The police in New York called these people
- 730 -
and told them to keep an eye on us, that is the size of it. By this time he agreed. Boy I said you guys are always preaching about these phones and you are always doing wrong. I hope they don't go to the old man. I better tell him what happened in case they go to him he will know what to say. Yes he said that will be the best thing. Well we helped the girl and we went away and we went home that night. I was thinking that I am going to stay away from everyone. I'm getting red hot for no reason at all. We went to a small town the next day, I don't remember why and Vinnie met some guy that he knew and they started to talk. Then after a while they were talking about fighters. The guy introduce Vinnie and I to some fighter and for a couple of days I was able to stay with the old man. I was helping here and there, walking horses and taking Son of Tarra out on the green field as horses do like to nip on the grass. I was eating with the old man and the old man told me that he can see that I enjoy myself being around a barn so why do I come with other guys why don’t I come alone. I told him it is tough riding so many miles all alone. He said you better off coming with a girl. I said to him next year. I promise you that when I come to New England that I will come alone the old man was a smart man and he talked very little. I used to ask him to tell me stories about the old days when we were alone. I never forget two stories that he told me. One was how he got barred from California. He said he was racing in California when he started many years ago. He said
- 731 -
that he had one horse that he held back from winning for two years when he saved enough money he made up his mind to win with this horse. He put him in a race and the horse was 99 to one on the board but he was more than 99 to one, the board will only show 99 to 1 but he could had been a couple of hundred to one anyway the horse close at six to one. He the old man bet fifty thousand dollars on the horse. The horse won and paid six to one. The stewards called him and they told him to get his hat and get off the race track and don't come back for the rest of his life. To prove it to me he showed me a recent letter that he had received from the California stewards telling him that he will not get any stalled in California. Then he told me that he had wired to the track asking them if they will give me any stalls there. I figured that it was about thirty-five years ago since he was barred and they may have forgotten but you saw the letter they did not forget. I wanted to go there he said to run Son of Tarra in the one-hundred thousand dollar Santa Anita Derby. I looked at him with surprise. Then he went on to tell me that when he was in Florida at Gulf Stream Park Son of Tarra showed that he liked that track and the track in California is the same as the Florida track. I did not want to tell you until I got the answer from the California track. That's why I showed it to you. I bet you that if Son of Tarra did not win it he would had been second. You can see
- 732 -
how I felt when the old man told me. The other story that he told me was something to think about. He said that he had a horse entered in a race and he scratched him, then he put the same horse in another race and Pancho Villa came over to him and asked him if you let me know if the horse is going to win I will bet a hundred dollars for you. The old man told Pancho Villa, yes the horse is going to win. When the race came up Pancho Villa and another fellow came over to his box and they sat along side of him and they asked him if he was sure that the horse is going to win. The old man told them that he was going to make double sure so he told them to wait for me and I'll be right back. The old man got scared and he went and scratched the horse again. Then a few days later he entered the horse again and Pancho Villa came over again but the old man told them that he thought that the horse will win but he, the old man, did not want Pancho Villa to bet for him. The horse won. Then the old man told me, Joe you know what horse racing is who can say for sure any horse is going to win a hundred dollar bet was a big bet those days but when they came and sat along side of me I said to myself if the horse loses these guys will kill me so I did what I told you. What would you had done the old man asked me. I told him that I will do the same thing, you did. These are the kind of stories that the old man used to tell me. I must had gone out of my mind when I brought other guys to the barn. I get sick writing it, who can blame me.
- 733 -
Now I'll tell you about Butch. He was a guy that will drive the trailer when they moved from one track to another and he was always around. So one day while Vinnie and I were riding along the road he, Butch, hailed me and he was all excited, all most out of breath, he said to me, you have connection in New York. I asked what kind of connection. He said that the night before he met an ex-convict, he just came out of jail and he said that he can sell all the counterfeit money that you can get. As we knew we were being tailed. I figured that this idiot met or they approached him because he, Butch, was connected with the old man's barn and knowing that I am with the old man they, the agents, got to Butch and got him excited by telling him how much money he can make. So I told Butch you are stupid and I don't know if you are in on it but I'm going to tell the old man how stupid can you be, the guy you met ain't no ex-convict, he is an agent. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt because I don't know if you are stupid or what. They came to you knowing that I'm here and I come from New York and they know that you are going to tell me all about it so go back and tell the guy that you are going to the cops, this way you cover yourself. Ok Butch said but promise me that you won't tell the old man. I did not tell the old man. We had about two or three days to go before the two weeks were up so I told Vinnie this is enough for me I'm going and say good-bye to the old man and I'm
- 734 -
going home. By now I'm pretty mad. It was in the afternoon - within an hour we were on our way home. Now as I was driving I notice a car was always behind me but was staying far away. Now if I tell Vinnie he would say that I am imagining things so I told Vinnie that I'll bet him that I will cover sixty miles an hour look at your watch I told him and clock me. I had to go ninty miles an hour to cover the loss of time that I will lose going through the towns as I was speeding I notice the guy behind me was having a hard time trying to keep up with me. He was about a mile away. I never told Vinnie anything. As we are riding we notice signs here and there. We had gone quite a way now the signs read Norfolk, Virginia, Ferry, and how many miles away. As I had to stop for a red light I had a chance to ask a driver next to me what was it all about, Norfolk, Va., Ferry to Baltimore. The driver told me that if I make Norfolk, Va., by six o'clock I can get the Ferry there and it will arrive in Baltimore six o'clock in the morning. Thank you I told the driver and I started speeding more to make it short I arrived to the Ferry on time. When we got there and we went to buy a ticket, the guy in the ticket office told us that there was a phone call concerning you guys, if it means anything to you, I looked at Vinnie and he said we ain't done anything wrong so let's take the Ferry. I wanted to give the guy ten dollar for himself. He said thanks and he refused. Now we get on the Ferry and we got a
- 735 -
cabin or room and when we went upstairs and we started to play the slot machine. All of a sudden I notice that we were being watched so I told Vinnie yes I know that's the guy you lost on the road so you notice I told him. Sure I notice he said what do you think that I'm dumb when you bet me that you make sixty miles an hour I knew you were being tailed. I wonder what it is all about I asked Vinnie. Who knows said he. Well I'm going to our room I told him it is about eight o'clock and I want to get some sleep. Go ahead he said I want to play the slot machine. I'll be there in a little while. There a girl there and maybe I can make her he said. OK. I went to my room and I tried to sleep but no good, the wheels of the Ferry were too noisy and then Vinnie came in and we talked most of the night. I must had fell asleep about two o'clock in the morning someone knock on the door and he said that in a half hour we will dock so you better be ready. We got up and we washed and we dressed and we opened the door of the room and we went to the car. I was putting the key in the door to open it when we saw them come from everywhere - it was the police. They said that they wanted to qyestion us and we must go to police headquarters. OK we said. They took my car and they put Vinnie in my car and they put me in the detectives’ car and there were four men and four men were with Vinnie. I asked the guys in my car who are you and they said that they were detectives so
- 736 -
I asked and who are those guys and they, the police, told me that they were agents. I asked what is it all about and the boss of the outfit told me that we are suspected of having counterfeit money in our car. I told the boss that I was here in Baltimore a couple of years ago and I came here to talk about the numbers business, we were supposed to get together with Nigger Naton and we met the Captain of Police and the Captain of the Police told us no good, maybe you did hear something of that time? He asked me what was on my mind. I asked are they, the agents, going to search my car. He said yes. Then all I ask for is a square deal. He asked me what did I mean. I told him that I haven't got anything in my car but I'm afraid that they might put something in the car. He told me not to worry if I ain't got anything in the car he would hold us a couple of hours, enough time to find out if we are wanted anywhere and if we are not wanted he will let us go home. We reach the police headquarters and they pulled right into the garage and the Lt. of the Police asked the agents if they were going to search the car. They said they were. They searched for a good hour and when they got through and they found nothing the Lt. told them to lock the doors and give the keys to Joe, meaning I. Then we went upstairs and they took pictures and they fingerprinted us and the guy that was driving the car behind me came over all excited and started to hollar with all his might, saying that I was looking to kill him. I told him what is the matter with you. He said that I was going too fast.
- 737 -
Well I'm sorry I said you like to tail someone and when I got wise to you sure I gave you a hard time, what business you have tailing me all over the world. You did not know anything you were just guessing and beside you should be held for entrapment for sending that nut over to us for counterfeit money since when I handle counterfeit money. He the agent said to me don't you know that South Carolina is a counterfeit town. How am I supposed to know it I said. Didn't you check on us and didn't you find out that we went to see my trainer and the horse. Well we figured that you sent the horse there to S.C. to make an excuse for you to come to S.C. Go away I told him I got my own trouble. You looked up our record and you got all excited. I saw you on the boat and I saw you tailing me on the road and I wanted to give you a not time on the road. I thought that you were going to faint there one time on the bad turn that I made. I heard you blow your horn what did you expect me to stop and say here I am. You people have a lot of nerve, you expect someone to commit a crime and then come over to you and say here I am come and get me. If you suspect me of anything. He pointed his finger at me and he said that I was a dangerous driver. No I'm dangerous if I can save myself if I did anything wrong I got some news for you I told him I knew you called the booth at the Ferry in Norfolk. Now if we had anything in the car do you think that we will get on the ferry and wait for you to
- 738 -
come and arrest me, come on cut it out. How did you know that I called the booth at the Ferry entrance. I told him that it was my business how I know. He shook his head. After about two hours the Lt. come over and he asked a few questions, like were you going through Baltimore or were you going to stop. I said I was going through so he the Lt. said that we are not wanted any where so we can go. We left and we rode home and I called Butch in South Carolina and I asked him if anyone was at the old man's trailer to ask about us. He said no. Butch was still shaking about the deal he tried to make. He said its a good thing that you are smart or I would had fallen for that guys line. Butch I told him counterfeiting is a serious charge and I will never fool around counterfeiting so be thankful and don't ever talk to anyone about such things. OK he said thank you again. I told Vinnie I'm going to stay to myself. I don't like the way things are going. I get out of New York because it was hot. I thought that I will go for a rest and look at what happened. As we reach New York City and we come out of the Holland Tunnel Vinnie said come on let's stop at the Village Inn - it was about 12 o'clock so I felt like having a drink. I went along and we find Tony Bender there in the Village Inn. We are there about a half hour when Tony Bender call me on the side and again he told me not to smarten Vinnie. I felt like blowing my top. Vinnie was trying to keep me in the Inn but already my night was spoiled. I felt like telling him do you know what
- 739 -
you can do with him. Well I guess you all know what I would like to say. I went home and they did not see me for a long time. Vinnie used to come to the Lido and that is when I used to see him. About a week after I left him at the Village Inn Vinnie came up to the Lido. He told me that they were going to get a crap game out of town, I don't remember where, and he asked me if I wanted a share in the game. I told him that I did and he said OK. I know that the game was going and I never saw Vinnie any more. About a month later little Patty the kid that was partner with Vinnie said that he had two thousand dollars for me but Tony Bender is got it. I never went down and asked for it I figured Vinnie and Patty wanted to give me the money and Tony Bender did not like the idea so I figured right that I won't go and get it from him - he was so mean and I again realized how bad I stood with Tony Bender.
Now the FBI call me in and they want to know about Son of Tarra. They ask me if I tout the horse, by tout it means that I sell the horse, by selling the horse it means that I won't let you know if he is going to win if one does not bet for me I told them if someone wants to bet for me that I will not refuse but where are the ones who will bet for me. I bet them the horse and they bet on the horse too and then they don't even pay me they say that the bookmaker ran away. Then he asked me if I call Frank Costello or Willie Moore on the horse. I told him that I never spoke to either of them on the phone for any reason and he told
- 740 -
me that he had it written on a card that I called Frank Costello from New England. I told him that I did not care what he had written on the card. He looked at me and he said for me to go home and I never heard from them again. He was very nice - not like the dope agents. I settled down and I went back to the Lido Restaurant and I hung around there and I entertained whoever came up there. I got a phone call from Sandy from down town and he asked me if I saw Vito Genovese since he came back from Italy. I told him that I did then he asked me if I wanted to take a ride with him to Jersey at Dukes Restaurant. I told him that I will be glad to take a ride with him. He asked me if I will go down town tomorrow afternoon. I said sure I would and he told me to be there about two o'clock in the afternoon. I said OK. Gee I could not get over it I just wonder what it was all about. I met him the next day and we went to Dukes Restaurant at Fort Lee, New Jersey. When we got there Vito was watching a card game and he was just as surprised as I was to see me with Sandy. He did not pay much attention to Sandy. I could not understand the whole thing then Vito told me not to mind whatever Sandy told me as he is losing his mind. Then I told Vito as long as I am here I will like to tell him a few things as to what went on while he was away in Italy. He told me that he did not have anytime and to try and get Sandy out of the restaurant. Gee I really don't understand, I went to Sandy and I told him come on let's go. He said go we
- 741 -
got to talk to Vito. I told him that Vito told me to go but Sandy walked right over to Vito and Vito looked at him but Sandy was stubborn and he asked Vito if Joe and I can talk to you. Vito looked at him and told him in a very cold way I'll speak to you some other time go ahead go. We left the restaurant and Sandy was downhearted. On the way back Sandy appeared OK to me as I was studying him as he was talking he Sandy was telling me that he wanted to tell Vito how the boys were carrying on while he was away. I wanted you to tell Vito how they tried to kill you on the word of Bobby Doyle and about the fellow you hit and then they tried to put you on the carpet and all that sort of stuff. He was referring to Tony Bender and Bobby Doyle but he didn't want to listen to us so it looks like he agreed with what they done. I was speechless. I did not know what to say only in my mind I was thinking that Sandy saved me the trouble of talking to Vito as I intended to talk to Vito myself. I was at a loss because that was the first time that I found out that Sandy's word did not mean much. All the more I said to myself that I ain't going down town unless they call me. I was very much discouraged but I did not want Sandy to know about it. I realized that when they want to break someone down there all they got to say is that a guy is not right in the head. I was thinking of going to Vito's house and have a talk with him. I like a fool I went and asked Tony Bender. Then I
- 742 -
thought about something that Vito told me while Sandy was in the bathroom. He just said to me remember Tony Bender is your boss. Well Tony discouraged me about me going to see Vito at his home. Boy if anyone can keep up with these guys he is got to be a genius. I give up.
The next time I saw Vito I was in the One Eighty-One Club on 11 Street on First Ave. Vinnie and I were sitting at a table right in front of the entrance. It was early and Vito walked in alone and he just waved to me and kept on going. One does not know how to act with these guys. He was looking over at our table when he was sitting down all by himself so I looked over to his table thinking he may call us but all he did was sneak a look at me every now and then. Now I have Vito's personal friends coming over to the Lido Restaurant and those personal friends were Dom the sailor and Pete Muggin. They will sit at the bar and I would entertain them but all will say is How is your friend Vinnie. Now I did not like it. I would answer them by saying you all are my friends. I don't understand you guys. They would pass it up by saying Gee we are only kidding but I knew in my heart something was wrong. I would wait for Vinnie to come up to the Lido and I would sit him down and I would ask him is there anything wrong down town. If there is let me know. If I know I can figure things out but if you guys keep things to yourselves than I don't want to know anything and I don't want to be involved in anything. I'm telling you now
- 743 -
I will tell Vinnie you are not good enough or know enough to lead me or try to get me to do what you want me to do. He will ask me if I'm blowing my top. Yes, I will say, I'm blowing my top. Someday I will look for you and I won't find you. When guys like Pete Muggin and Dom the Sailor come around here there is something in the air but I would not tell Vinnie that they were passing wisecracks. I should have gone to Vito's house but he never encouraged me so it ain't my fault. He told me in Atlanta why didn't I go to his house. Vito, I told him, when I tried to tell you something all you would say to me is remember Tony Bender is your boss. All it did to me is make me understand to keep my mouth shut so how can I come to your house. Suppose you give me the cold shoulder it will kill me. That's why I did not come to your house. I told him but when a boss is wrong he will never admit it, what's the use of talking.
Then one of the boys dies and at the wake Dom the Sailor was kidding me and there were most of the boys there so I told Dom the Sailor listen careful I don't know you good enough so I don't want you to kid me. Now if Vito sent this guy to the Lido Restaurant to feel me out, well he certainly sent two guys without a personality. Mr. Vito and you know it you just can't send just anyone to me. I ain't one of those guys that you have down town, Mr. Vito.
- 744 -
Now one of the guys tells me that things don't look so well and that Vito is kind of mad because since Vito came back from Italy he found everything sewed up and that Willie Moore Morelli is blowing his top. I asked this guy who is it that got everything sewed up. Well, he said, Willie Moore, Albert Anastasia, Joe Adonis, and Frank Costello. This fellow that I'm talking about I could tell you his name but I must protect him, if I don't he will be killed, not that I love him but it is only fair not to mention his name, it would be a sure death for him because only the underworld would understand what I'm talking about. There was talk about trouble before Albert Anastasia went to jail for income tax. He received a year. Later on I will tell you more about this as far as Willie Moore is concerned one must remember that he was sick some ten or 12 years before. He was supposed to get sick again, but when he was sick the first time they sent him to California and they will take care of him. Now by spreading the rumor around they are building up a story way ahead of time because Mr. Vito Genovese had a plan in mind and he is taking all his time because he wants everything that he does to be legal. I will explain all this when I get around to it but I'm trying to make the reader understand as much as I can. I will explain now what I mean by using the word legally. It mean when a member's life is at stake, they, the Mob, have what we call the councilmen,
- 745 -
they are the ones who will decide on Willie Moore Morelli if he is losing his mind and that is what Vito Genovese is leading up to. He is building it up. One must be very smart to understand all this diplomacy. At that time I told some young boys that were very close to me that in a few years there is going to be plenty of trouble. Time is marching on and the season of the horses is around again.
First I'll tell you about the operator's horse. After about eight months Mr. Millen has declared the operator's horse is strictly a half mile horse. She will work like a champ Mr. Millen said but only for a half mile, then she would slow up to a walk. He advised me to get rid of her so I got in touch with the operator and I told her so she told me to get rid of her. Gee I told her see what it means to have an honest trainer, a trainer can ruin an owner if he lies to him and bleed the owner for everything they can get out of him. She agreed and thanked me and I promised her that she will never see the horse run in any race. They are going to use her as a pony horse, a pony horse is a horse that leads race horses to the starting gate.
I thought of something concerning Son of Tarra. I called Mr. Squire at New Garden, Long Island, and I asked him if he can gat an insurance for me on Son of Tarra. He said I would try and get you something because it is going
- 746 -
to be hard, you know there was a swamp fever sickness in New England last year and five hundred horses died and the insurance companys are ruined and they are thinking of stopping insuring horses. There was one stable that lost eighteen horses and most of them had very high insurance. He asked me if Son of Tarra is sick. No I told him you can look in the racing form Son of Tarra had a workout the other day. Yes I saw it. Well Joe I'll get you something he said, say about fifteen hundred dollars, he said ninety dollars premium. I asked him if he wanted me to send him a check. He said that it will be alright and that he would mail me the insurance papers. After all he told me that I treated him fine concerning Knights Duchess. I asked him if he had any good horses on hand or expected any. He said if he gets hold of one or two he will call me but he told me that he did not feel so good. He said that he had a heart attack not too long ago and that he did not think that he was going to last long. So I told him that I was sorry to hear it and I told him that I will miss him very much. He said thanks. I mailed him the check and he mailed me the 15 hundred dollar insurance policy and I was glad to get that much because I did know about the swamp fever. I take a ride to New England and I find the old man very sad. He tells me that Son of Tarra refused to break from the gate three times. He told me that he runs like a champ if he starts standing by himself but he would not move from the gate. Come with me I'll show you how he looks and
- 747 -
then I will saddle him and I'll show you how he runs without him being in the gate and if you are going to be here for at least two days I will start him from the gate and I'll show you how he acts when he is in the gate. He said I can't understand it. I never had a horse do that sort of thing to me, he is breaking my heart. I told him that I understand how he feels I'm afraid that I will cry when I see him stay in the gate. I told him what I did that I insured him for 15 hundred dollars and he was surprised. He said how did you do it they don't want to insure horses for a couple of years because of what happened last year with that swamp fever. Gee we worked hard he said to keep our barn clean and threw all kind of medicine in the barn. I asked him if Son of Tarra is sick. No he said, he feels like a million but something is doing it but only Son of Tarra knows no one else. OK I'll be around. I'm going and lay down in the hotel and I'll see you at the track I don't want to see him now. I'll see him in the morning you would bring him to the gate. He said OK I'll meet you at the track. I had checked in at the Manger Hotel as there is where I checked everytime I went to Boston as there were a couple of bous living in that hotel and I got good service. Two days later I got up early and I went to the barn and the old man saddle Son of Tarra and he had two more horses and they put all three of them in the gate. They rang the bell and the other two horses came out of the gate
- 748 -
flying and Son of Tarra stood there like a Stiff soldier and his head high in the air and he did not move - as much as I loved him I felt like hitting him with a pipe that was laying on the floor. The old man had tears in his eyes and in his voice. He called me on the side and he told me that he is got a friend and his friend is in Canada and they don't use any gate there but I don't want to send him there. I told the guy that I will sell him the horse because I'll tell you Joe Son of Tarra won't live a year. He will die of loneliness. I spoiled him I know what I'm talking about. I told the old man that whatever he does is OK with me. He said that he won't get much but I know he won't last and I don't want to stick the guy much. I told him that is the reason why they call you Sport, everyone loves you. He said I got my money and I like to treat everyone square. I know I told him. I'll go home I told him and you will give me a ring when you are ready to do something. OK he said When I came home I told Vinnie about it and Vinnie said that he would take the horse. I bet he said that the old man is stealing you. So I told him that if he wants the horse I'll get him for you but I don't want any part of it. He said that he will give Son of Tarra to Bernie Rich, Johnnie Roberts‘ trainer. I told him come on and let's go to New England and I'll get you the horse. He said, yes let's go. Let's go I said and we left for New England. When the old man saw us he called me on the side and he told me that he told his friend that he could have the horse for three
- 749 -
thousand dollars. I told him that Vinnie wants the horse for whatever price he can get from his friend. The old man told me that he does not want to stick me. Now if you insist I'll let you take the horse and I swear to you he said you are going to lose every cent that you will put on him. Sport I swear to you that I ain't got anything to do with it. I like to give Vinnie the horse to show him what it is to have a horse. The old man said to me give him the horse so I called Vinnie and I told him that he could have the horse for three thousand dollars. Vinnie said hey Joe you misunderstood me I said I'll take the horse if you Joe will take the horse with me. No I don't want the horse I told him. With that the old man said to me meet me in the trailer tonight and I'll give you your end of the horse. I said OK. Vinnie asked me if I was going to the track. I said yes as long as I'm here I might as well spend the afternoon at the track. Yes he said but let's go to the hotel and have a couple of hours of sleep. Oh yes I said I intended to go and have a couple of hours of sleep you ain't the only one that is tired. I can't stand on my feet so we went to the hotel. We had a couple of hours of sleep and then we went to the track. I don’t remember how we done but I know we did not lose. Before we went to sleep I told Vinnie I thought that you wanted the horse. He said what would I do with a horse without you. I just wanted to see if the old man was on the level. Oh I said. Then Vinnie said the
- 750 -
old man was on the level. Oh I said. Then Vinnie said the old man is honest with you. I told him that I knew I get my end of the money and I told the old man that I would try and get another horse from New York. He said make sure that he is sound. I said don't worry. We came back to New York and I go and take care of the Lido and I call my friend Gaf and I tell him that he should be on the lookout for a good horse for me and I tell him that I ain't got Son of Tarra anymore and I explain to him everything.
In about two weeks Gaf calls me and he asked me to come to the track and bring 12 thousand dollars with me. I did not have 12 thousand dollars with me so I called Vinnie and he said that he would meet me at the track and he would have the money with him. Vinnie came to the track but he also came to claim another horse in the race instead of Big Dial the one I told him about. He said that he wanted to claim another horse in the race. I asked him if he was kidding me. He said, no that he saw Tony after he spoke to me and Tony told him that he should claim another horse. I don't remember his name. I said to Vinnie I don't want to claim this horse with Tony or anyone else I want him for myself. Give me the money you said that you would bring the money so I did not bother to try and get it, now give me the money and let me claim the horse. He said he could not give me the money because he had to claim the other horse so I told him go ahead and claim the other horse but don't think that I want any part of it.
- 751 -
I ain’t letting Tony pick the horses for me so he said that he would claim him for himself. So he went and looked for Bernie Rich so that Bernie Rich will claim the horse for him. In the meanwhile Gaf came over and asked me if I was going to claim the horse or he would have someone else claim it. I told Gaf can he borrow 12 thousand dollars for me or can he find a trainer that would claim the horse for him and tomorrow I will be here with the money so Gaf said wait here and he came back and he said that the man that be had in mind is claiming another horse in the race and that he camnot claim two horses in the race. Then I told him let someone else claim Big Dial because I thought that Vinnie was going to tell Bernie Rich to claim Big Dial but Vinnie came back but it was too late now for the claim because one must put in a claim 15 minutes before a race is run and after the 15 minutes are over one cannot claim any more because they close the claiming box where a trainer drops in a claiming slip. I asked Vinnie if Bernie Rich put in a claim for the horse that Tony Bender wanted to claim. He said no, Bernie Rich told him that he, Bernie Rich knows the horse that Tony wants and Bernie Rich said that the horse ain't worth 12 thousand dollars. I bet on Big Dial in the race. Big Dial was left at the post and still lost the race by a nose. It was Big Dial first start and he raced green. I had him for first and second so I won a few dollars.
- 752 -
I was standing at the rail with Vinnie when Bernie Rich came over and he said the best claim of the year was just made. We asked him who was the horse and Bernie said a horse by the name of Big Dial. I did not say a word but Vinnie told Bernie that’s the horse that Joe wanted to claim so Bernie told Vinnie that if Vinnie had asked him to claim Big Dial that he would had done because he did not know anything about Big Dial but the other pig that you wanted me to claim for you I know about him. How come you did not claim Big Dial as long as you say that Joe wanted to claim him. Well Vinnie said Tony wanted the other horse so that's why I told you to claim him. Gee what does Tony know about what to claim one cannot put 12 thousand dollars in a box for a horse without knowing anything about him. What is Tony crazy. Then Bernie said to me that I must had a tip to claim Big Dial so I did not talk. I couldn't talk because I was thinking that Tony is trying in the worse way to get in with me on a claim. He figured by him picking his own horse and I being out of action without a horse that I would go for it. I said to myself I don't care if I ain't ever going to have a horse I won't go partner with Tony because he will be telling me how to run the horse and he don't know anything about horses. That's why I wrote a few pages back when I asked Vinnie just think of Big Dial and you will be sick.
- 753 -
Now I'm going to tell you who Big Dial ran with after he was claimed and how much he earned in purses in one year because I kept track of him. Here is the horse that he lost to by a nose not once but twice his name was Citation. Everyone said that Citation was the world greatest horse, some say Man of War. Citation lost one race in his life by a nose and so did Man of War lost one race in his life. That's the kind of horse Vinnie stuck me by him telling Tony Bender about it. Big Dial earned that year whenever it was because I don't remember the exact year, 175 thousand dollars and everytime Big Dial ran I will call Vinnie to burn him up. I will tell him Big Dial is running again and I would tell him the kind of company he was running with and after the race I will call him again and I would ask him did you see what Big Dial did. He will say yes but I was talking to a stone wall. I did not make another attempt to claim any other horse after the goof no other horse could satisfy me and that is why I did not stay in the business I was really broken hearted. Sometimes I would take long drives and would almost cry when I used to think about it. Now Gaf you know the reason why I did not claim Big Dial, Tony Bender thought that he knew more than you did, can you imagine how I would had felt had I agreed to take the other horse. I think that I would had gotten sick and I would had landed in the hospital. Read this
- 754 -
Mr. Vinnie and weep. You could had been independent today but you choose to be with people who had a false name. When you first met them you had money, after you were with them a few years you became a bum. I told you that no one ever made any money downtown and you were not going to be any exception. All I did was take care of the Lido Restaurant after the Big Dial deal fell out of my hands. Vinnie will come up to the Lido every now and than and most of the time that he did come to the Lido was to ask me some advice or something could had been anything, but one thing I want the world to know that I never made a penny with Vinnie. Everyone thought that I was partner with him. Believe me in the name of God I had nothing to do with him. He was partner with Tony Bender on anything that he could earn. Not what Tony Bender earned, no Vinnie got none of that I can assure you. He was young and could not see two feet ahead of him. He did not know that Vito Genovese and Tony Bender had a few words with one another. Vinnie will tell me a thing or two and I would piece it together and I will talk to him in this line. I would tell him for instance why should I go and drink where our friends hang out and let them see you. I rather go and have some fun where no one knows you but no to him it was new and he wanted to be in the limelight. He wanted to be seen all over midtown. I did not like his doing but I would not say any-
- 755 -
thing, after all I was not bothering with anyone, I had to have some friend, whether he was a phony or not. Vinnie was not phony with me but he could not help himself. He did not realize that Tony Bender was jealous of him. Every now and then Tony would walk in on us whenever I stopped at Vinnie’s apartment on 11 Street on the WestSide. Tony would ask me, Hey Joe what are you doing here. I just will pass it up as though I was stupid but as I say one can't stay away from the world, Vinnie was trying to put Tony and I together but he did not know that it was impossible. But Tony worked on him gradually but as I say I was staying in the Lido and the police come in there one night and they sit me down and they tell me that they tailed me for six months and that they found me clean and that they were proud of me but what am I doing with Vinnie and Patty Muccio. I said nothing and they, the police, tell me that they, Vinnie and Patty Muccio, are making me red hot. I asked them how. Don't you know that they are in the junk business and they are partners with Tony Bender. No I don't I told them. Joe they tole me those guys that come here from Harlem are no bargain either. Gee I said what am I going to do I have a lot of money to make up in this joint, should I tell them to stay away, They looked at me and they said the agents think that you are in with them. They funny people if they get an idea in their head no one can
- 756 -
tell them they are wrong. You know I told them this neighborhood is a funny neighborhood. When it comes lent time the business drops almost fifty per cent who give up whiskey, someone else give up beer, everyone give up something. Now during the week sometime one don't see a soul. That's why I cater to these guys. Well I said I can see this is a bad business for me to be in no wonder I see different guys coming in the joint. Then they asked me if I knew that I was being tailed. Sure I knew it they are obvious especially when I stop at some girl's apartment after I close up here. When I get in the car I start it and I hear someone else starting their car even if they are a block away. Sometime when I'm in the mood I take them for a long ride, yes that's right one of them said that came in on the report a couple of times. I know I said. Well one of them asked me who did you figure they were, well I thought that they were FBI guys just checking on me. One get's so used to it that after a while one does not care. It bothers you sometimes but most of the time one feels miserable but the makes the best of it. What can he do. With that we broke it up. Of course I warned Vinnie and the boys in Harlem but after a while I did not care who came in the place. I figured that I ain't doing anything so why should I worry. As I said that I'm going to stay in the Lido and stay away from
- 757 -
from everyone. Anyone who wants to see me let them come up or call me. The fellow that I was partner with in the vending machines when we were jobbing on 60 West 60th Street and Mayor LaGuardia put us out of business comes to the Lido Restaurant and he told me that he had some trouble up in Westchester County in White Plains. He said that he had a vending machine union. I asked him what kind of union I don't understand when it comes to unions I don't like to be involved. He said that I don't need to be involved. All I'm asking you is to try abd save all the work that I put in he said he worked at it for a long time and after he had so many members they called him and told him to stay out of Westchester County but can you explain to me just what does the union do for these members that you say that you have. He said that he had so many operators signed up and they were paying dues and the union is reponsible if they lose their location, say for instance one operator steals a location from another operator, well the union goes out and get the location back for the operator who lost it. I see I said it ain't a bad union it avoids a lot of trouble. Well I said I ain't going to lie to these people and tell them that I have anything to do with it. What can I ask these people if I go and see them. He said you can tell them that I am willing to work with them and we will make it all one. Who shall I see I asked him.
- 758 -
He told me that Tommy Milo will be the right guy to see. OK Tommy is a good friend of mine I'll go up to his joint late tonight. He has a place in Yonkers called the Del Rio. That night I went to the Del Rio and I saw Tommy Milo and Tommy told me Joe who cares anything about unions. It ain't me it is Larry Black and you are a good friend of his I think that he would go along with you. Tommy said tomorrow I will be in the Bronx at Amondos Restaurant. OK I said I'll be there at what time should I come? He said about four o'clock in the afternoon and I asked him will Larry be there. He said everyone will be there. Good I said I'll see you tomorrow. The next day I went to the restaurant and I found Larry, Tommy, Bart, Jimmy Blue Eyes - the whole crew. Larry said as I walked in that he was expecting me. I knew that Charlie Litchman will come and see you. Well you know that I used to be with you. You bought plenty of machines from us. No he said I bought them from you, if you were not with Charlie Litchman I won't buy a toothpick from him. I said I know that is why guys like Charlie Litchman want guys like us for partner, they know what they are doing. OK Joe Tommy Milo said what do you want. I told you I said if they can get together and make it all one it will make everyone happy. Larry said it is OK with him. Fine I said it was such a friendly meet I said that I would send
- 759 -
Charlie Litchman up to see you and you will get together with him. Larry said OK Joe. I shook hands with all of them and I left and I went to the Lido Restaurant. A couple of hours later the tough guy Jimmy Blue Eyes came to the Lido Restaurant and he walked in the backroom where I was sitting with some outsider and he speaks loud and he says, Listen Joe I don't want to get together with the union because I found out that Charlie Litchman is a rat. OK I said forget about it and I gave him the cold shoulders. The reason why I gave him the cold shoulders was because the way he walked in the joint. I did not go and see Tommy Milo and claim anything. I went and see Tommy because he was a friend of mine and I went there mostly to be a peacemaker. If Jimmy Blue Eyes walks in the Lido Restaurant like a gentleman I would had no hard feelings but I never forgave him because of the attitude he took. I saw him once more after I saw him in the Lido and that was in Lindy Restaurant and he was sitting with Benny Squint and I ignored Jimmy Blue Eyes to show him how much I cared for him, even though he is a Lt. for Vito Genovese. A few months later the newspapers got hold of this story concerning the meet. I don't know how they got the information but they got it. The newspapers had my picture and everyone who was at this meet and they made a whole story about it. They knew almost every word that
- 760 -
s was said. They, the newspapers, even said how I tried to be a peace-maker. A few months later Charlie Litchman calls me and he said that he was called by Senator McClellan and he, Charlie Litchman, tells me who do you think was the first guy that Senator McClellan asked me about. I said I did not know. Then Charlie said the first guy he asked for you. I said me. Yes Charlie said. I asked about what he, Charlie, said about that meet you had with Tommy Milo. God I said what did you tell him. Charlie said that he told Senator McClellan that Joe Valachi tried to help me and the Senator was shocked but I convinced him. Tell me Charlie I asked can you tell me who could had told them about that meet they are making such a deal about that meet. Charlie told me he thought that the guy that they have in White Plains fronting for them told Senator McClellan about that meet. I told Charlie I wish I knew for sure so he asked me why then for the first time I told him because when I went and see them Larry agreed to work with you, then someone told them that you are a rat and they changed their minds, that's why I would like to know if it is the guy that is fronting for them. Now do you understand. Yes he said I understand. Well if you find out for sure get in touch with me. OK Charlie told me. Now a few days later he, Charlie, comes up to the Lido Restaurant and he sits me down and he explain that he did not come just to tell me what he is going to tell me but he stopped in the
- 761 -
Lido because he had to go somewhere around the neighborhood of the Lido so I want to tell you to forget all about who gave the information to the Senator because I'm telling you its got to be that guy because you did not tell me where you went. You told me that you were going to the Del Rip up in Yonkers, not at Amando's Restaurant. Yes Charlie you are right. I did not tell you that they called you a rat in fact I did not tell you anything at all. OK Charlie I said let's break it up and we did.
Someone called me at the Lido Restaurant and told me that Joe Stutz hit my nephew Fiore Siano at least he was my nephew at the time but I don't want to know him as a nephew anymore. Of course, it had to be one of his friends that called me. I had always instructed Fiore, Joe Pagano and Pat Pagano that if ever Trigger Mike Cappola boys ever take a punch at anyone of them as they Mike's boys had a habit of turning to go and get a gun and shoot him. The caller had told me on the phone where it had happened it was in the old Aida Restaurant. It had a new name and it was owned by one of the boys. All I remember is that I used to call the bar and restaurant Joe Lanaza Place. I get in the car and I drive to 114 Street and Second Ave., that was where Joe Lanaza place was. I wik in the bar and I find Fiore, Joie and Pat and of course Joe Lanza. I asked them what happened and they asked me how did I find out. I told them that one of your friends called me
- 762 -
at the Lido. Pat does most of the talking and he tells me that they, Pat, Joe and Fiore had an argument with a couple of the boys at 117 Street and First and Pleasant Ave., and after the argument they, Pat, Joe and Fiore, left 117 Street and they went to Joe Lanza's Place. After they were in Joe Lanza place a little while Joe Stutz walked in Joe Lanza's Place and he took a punch at Fiore because of the argument they had at 114 Street and First and Pleasant Ave. I asked them what did they do about it so Joe Lanza called me on the side and he told me that he caught Pat's arm in time. Pat had gone out and got a gun and he was about to shoot Joe Stutz right in the head. Joe Stutz was so drunk that he did not notice it. I asked if they knew where Joe Stutz was at this time. Joe Lanza spoke and he said that everything was alright and that he, Joe Lanz had straightened it out. I said everything is not straighten out good for you. Pat yell at me come on I know where he is and the four of us left Joe Lanza Bar and we went to Lizzy Bar at 116 Street and Second Ave. Joe Stutz was there and the first thing he said as we walk in the bar, Gee Joe I'm sorry I did not know that he is your nephew.
Yes, I said, all of you guys are got the same habit when you are in the wrong, you know how to cop out but if it was you in my place you won't hesitate to run and report it. Well anyway one day you would find out how lucky you were
- 763 -
in this situation. Some day Joe Lanza will tell you he, Joe Lanza, is in the same outfit as you are so I don't know why he won't tell you and in the meantime I want you to apologize to Fiore. Sure, he said and he put his hand out and he shook hands with Fiore and he told Fiore how sorry he was and he invited all of us for a drink. We had a couple of drinks and we left. We went back to Joe Lanza Place and on the way I warned the boys not to say too much in front of Joe Lanza because he is with the same boys as Joe Stutz is with. At this time none of these three boys were in the mob, they were what we call proposed. Pat told me that he got so much satisfaction out of this deal as to what I had just done making Joe Stutz apologize to Fiore. I don't blame you Pat said to me by telling Joe Lanza that it was straightened out you wanted to get in a point. Certainly I said that is what I had in mind when we left Joe Lanza.
Now Pat, Fiore and Joie are coming to the Lido Restaurant more often and the Agents are coming to the Lido. I know Pat ain't fooling around with any junk but Joey and Fiore are partners and they are very hot and they are bringing more guys at the Lido that are in the junk business. It got so that some of their customers will come to the Lido and would take it for granted that I have something to do with Joey and Fiore. Just to feel important
- 764 -
they would tell me that the stuff was good and I will tell them that I don't know what you are talking about and they would say, Gee I'm sorry. Don't tell them that I mention anything. The main guy that would talk a lot was Joe DeMarco, he was a thick stupid guy. One day as I walk in the Lido I notice three agents at the bar, they were drinking beer and they looked at me through the corner of their eye as I walked in the restaurant. I went on the other side of the bar so that I can see the agents more clear. I ordered a drink and all of a sudden a guy walks in the bar and he comes and sits right next to me and he orders a drink and he tells the bartender to give Joe a drink, meaning me. I tell the bartender that I don't want a drink from this guy as I never saw him in my life. He leans close to me and he tells me what is the matter Joe you don't remember me, I just got back from California. Well I get off the stool and I hollered on top of my voice and I tell the bartender to throw out this bum I never saw him in my life and being excited I moved over to the other side of the bar and I find myself next to the agents and I notice that the agents had a grin on their face and they were half smiling. I ordered a drink. I tell the bartender that now they think that I am a moron. I want to explain what this would had meant had I made a conversation with the stranger, he, the stranger, for instance he said Hello Joe, then he whispered to me and he said that he had just got back from California. If I listen to him
- 765 -
and then have a drink with him that was all he needed to from me the three agents at the bar would come over and arrest both of us. Then the stranger would say a different story. He would say that he asked me when he whispered to me for some junk and that would make a case of conspiracy and that was the reason why I yelled and said that I never met this guy in all my life so that everyone around the bar would hear it and that is why he walked out fast after I yelled.
A few days later they used another scheme on me. I think the most beautiful girl in the world came in the Lido and she came in with a man and walked right over to where I was sitting at the end of the bar. She ordered a drink for herself and the man. She came in the bar with, and then she told the bartender to give Joe a drink. I accepted and I wished her luck and she introduced the man to me as her Father. I shook hands with him and I ordered a drink for the three of us and then put myself on guard. Now when one puts himself on guard no matter how much he may drink he would always be on his guard especially when your freedom is at stake. I'll say we were having a wonderful time now as I had a picture of myself and Son of Tarra hanging over the mirror behind the bar she looked at the picture and said, Joe I have a lot of money and she wants to go in the horse business, how would she go about it. I told her to go at the race track in the secretary office and tell them to
- 766 -
introduce you to a trainer and he would tell you how to go about it. Gee she said I thought you had horses. Yes I did but I'm out of the business. Then she said, Gee that race you have up there looks like a recent win. No I said it was a couple of years ago. Now you may wonder why I did not ask her why she came to me I did not want to put her on the spot. I wanted her to believe that she was getting somewhere and I figured that with all the drinks we were having that she was getting high especially when I saw the old man was getting worried. I must tell you that they certainly picked on a doll only when she spoke she would send me in a dream but I was determined to be on my guard all night and I was waiting for her to make a slip but she did not. Now as it was about three o'clock in the morning I excused myself and I went to the bathroom - I made a motion to the waitress as at this time I had a license for the waitress to work all night, in fact I had two waitresses. I told the waitress that when the hour of four comes around for her to make sure that she would grab me by the arm and say to me come on, let's go. Now all night I was thinking what is she up to. Well we ordered more drinks and she was drinking like a soldier, she was a little high but she knew what she was doing all the time. She was stealing a feel of my leg with her leg so I did not mind as I must confess that I was enjoying every moment with her, although I had it in my mind that I was going to resist her, she was so sexy
- 767 -
that I was even thinking what can she do if I put her in a car and I would drive her on the road and I would make sure no one was tailing me I won't try and harm - God forbid - but I would like to know what is she up to. Then I would say to myself, no she got to be out for no good. Why should I look for trouble. Well anyway it was a quarter to four when she leaned towards me and she said in a very low voice that she would get rid of the old man and her and I would go to a hotel and we would have a wonderful time. I told her that I go out with the waitress and when four o'clock comes around she, the waitress, would come and grab me as I notice she has been looking at us all night. Yes, so I notice, she said. Four o'clock comes around and we close the place and she is sticking by my side and we were standing in front of the entrance of the Lido. The waitress comes over to us and she said can I join the party. I said why not. I don't introduce her to the girl nor her father because I was looking to break it up so I said what would we do, break it up. OK she said and she walked away with her father. Well I did not forget it for a long time and I must say that I was on the lookout for her all the time. Now the waitress asked me what was it all about. I did not tell her what it was all about or at least what I suspected. Well, believe it or not, I wound up going after houring with the waitress that night and I did not
- 768 -
get home until nine o'clock in the morning. Of course at home they were used to it, coming home at all hours.
Now my dear nephew comes up to the Lido Restaurant and he asked me if I would do a favor for him. I asked him what kind of a favor and he told me that he wanted to get some kind of junk from some people that he knows but he owes them some money and he is afraid that if he gives them the money they might deduct what he owes them. I asked who are the people and he tells me some guy, Danny Lee. I said that I won't do anything with Danny Lee. I said what are you trying to do get me in a jam. He said no but you can give the money to Frank his partner, you know him he comes to the Lido every Friday night. Yes I said it is still no good for me. I can stick my head out. You don't understand we ain't supposed to fool around with any stuff. Well he gives me some sad story and I said OK send for Frank. He said no I don't want him to know that I have anything to do with it. Well I don't know where to call him here he said here is the number. He is at the junk shop. Frank had a big business somewhere in the Bronx, it was worth a lot of money. He was dealing in scrap. Well I call Frank and Frank said that he would see me at the Lido tonight so I tell Fiore where am I going to tell Frank where they are going to deliver it, I mean the stuff. He said tell him
- 769 -
that you will send him a man to pick it up. I asked him after I give him the money I will ask him Frank to call me when he is ready and then I would call you and you would send your own man, this way I won't even see the man. Hows is it, OK? Fine he said and Fiore went away that night I gave Frank the money and Frank said that he will call me when he is ready. Now one day goes by and no call. Fiore calls me and he asked me if I heard from Frank. I said no. Another day goes by and no call. Again Fiore calls me and no call, another day goes by and no call. Now I call Frank and he said that he would come over tonight. That night Frank came over and he said that he cannot fulfill the order and that he must give the money back. He took the money out of his pocket and he started to count. He did not count 11 thousand dollars, he deducted the money that Fiore owed them. Now I must defend my own principals. I threw the money back at him and I told him that if Danny Lee don't have the money by ten o'clock tonight at the Belmont Bar and Restaurant tell him that I am going to take the law into my own hands. I picked at the Belmont Bar because one of their friends owns the Belmont Bar at 108 Street and Belmont Ave. About one hour after I threw the money in Frank's face one of Frank Scalice boys comes to the Lido. He was close to me and he tells me that Frank Scalice sent him to talk to me. I tell him I
- 770 -
know you are all together but I'm sick and tired of the whole mess. I tell my friend all these guys that are with Frank Scalice and Albert Anastasis are nothing. They paid they way in the mob and they want to abuse me. Well, I show them. If he ain't got that money for me tonight, I tell my friend, I know I am wrong for blowing my top but I am disgusted. I just can'r take to these new guys. I want to talk to Frank Scalice, where can I find him? Come, my friend said, let's go to the Belmont Bar and Frank Scalice told me to tell you that he is not going to report this because you know that you ain't supposed to fool around with junk. You see, I tell my friend, I did not want to fool around with any boys, see what trouble they cause me. That's why Fiore told me to give the money to Frank he feared that these guys would pull just what they done and if I don't catch a guy like Frank Scalice who is covering me I would had been in a jam. Yes, my friend said, Frank Scalice was telling me that you had three or four arguments this past couple of months and you were right in everyone of them. Yes, I said, these new guys seem to think they can do anything they want because they are with Albert Anasatasia. Well we go to the Belmont Bar and I find the money there. I don't remember who was at the Belmont Bar but I told my friend as he remained at the Belmont that I will be around tomorrow afternoon as there was where Frank Scalice hung out. The next afternoon I went around 187 Street
- 771 -
on Crescent Ave. and I saw Frank Scalice. As I walked in his brother's candy store Frank greeted me and he had a big smile on his face. He put his arms around me and he orders black coffee for us and he said I can't understand why you are having so mucy trouble with my boys. I'm going to have a talk with them. I said, Frank I'm going to tell you the truth, you are doing all this because you put these bums in the outfit and they all are getting power crazy but I ain't going to take any nonsence from them. I don't care at what cost. I understand, Frank Scalice said, the boys bring me their names and they tell me that they are good fellows and I put them on the list. It's a good thing I did not put in the other list that I have, I'm going to stop. They are giving me too much trouble and we started to talk old times and he goes on to tell me that why don't I pay attention down town as they are the ones who rule. I told him, Frank I try so hard but they, the people down town, won't give me a chance. They want one to bring every cent he earns. They have no heart, how can anyone put up with it. I can't understand, I tell Frank, I don't think that you are going to have any peace. I told him that he is a smart man and you know things are going to the dogs. I was hearing talk around here and there and Frank was getting the rap of buying members into Cosa Nostra but I did not mention it to him but I was talking all around it and he seemed to understand.
- 772 -
He went on to tell me that he thought that he was going to Italy and he thinks that he is going to stay there in Italy because Frank and Charlie Lucky were good friends from the old days. He was talking very sad. He himself knew that things did not look any too good. Well, we had a few drinks as the candy store sold whiskey and I told him, Frank you ought to come to the Lido every now and then so that your boys will see that you are interested in me and they won't try and get smart. They are new and as I told you they think there is only one tough guy around and when they pick on a guy that knows a little more than them they wind up by making you look bad. You not kidding, he said, I'm going to talk to all of them he said. With that as I was going away Tony Anastasia walks in the candy store and as I never had met Tony before Frank introduce me to Tony and we went on the corner in a restaurant and we had something and we spoke for about a half hour but nothing of any importance. Tony did most of the talking and he was talking about the docks and how he gives everyone a fair deal, all that sort of stuff. I shook hands with him and I wish him luck with the union and I left. That was the end of me having anymore trouble with any of his men.
I must tell I only had a misunderstanding with Frank's brother-in-law and even then I was right again. He was a guy that never had a cent
- 773 -
but he made money, a lot of money. How he made the money I don't know. Before he made money he would ask me to give him a chance to earn a couple of dollars. Now after he made money he would greet me with his nose up and he would act sort of stuck-up. He used to come in the Lido and he dated the waitress that worked for me. Now when he talked in front of the waitress he would try and impress her by making me look just a little bad. I warned him and I told him being that you never had any money before in your life, now that you have some you don't know how to act. He would just laugh at me. One day I was with my bartender and we went and give someone a call on White Plains Road - it was one station away from the Lido Bar. To my surprise we meet Frank Scalice's brother-in-law. His name was Jack. My bartender was going out with a girl and this girl is in the Arches Bar as this is the place where my bartender and I were going to make our call. Now when my bartender saw his girl in the Arches Bar he wanted to walk out of the Arches Bar. He told the owner that Joe and I would see you some other time but smart guy Jack, Frank's brother-in-law, grabbed my bartender and he tells him that he can't leave. He must stay so the bartender looked at me and I went over and I pushed Jack away from my bartender and I told Jack he the bartender came in here together and we walk out of here together and we walked out of the Arches Bar
- 774 -
and we went away. Now in the wee hours of the mornings after we closed the Lido we would go to a dinner on Tremont Ave. in the Bronx. I was sitting in a corner of the dinner when in walks Jack and he said that he wanted to talk to me and he asked me if I was sorry for what I had did in the Arches Bar. I asked him if he was nuts or did he have marbles in his head. He said, Joe you are wrong and I'm telling you that I'm going to report you if you don't tell me that you are sorry. I tell him to take a walk and he asked me is this the way you talk to me I can help you in case you need any money. I said, Jack God forbid if I take any money from you. I will be your prisoner, believe me you have a bad habit you had no right to try and stop that guy from walking out on the girl he knows what he is doing but you want to impress as I told you that is your bad habit. You know you had no right to bust in it not any of your business and besides he walked in the place with me. Now you come here and you want me to tell you that I'm sorry. Well Jack you can report me and do as you please if you don't change your ways you and I will never get along. OK Joe, he said, I'm wrong. I would never butt in any more in any of your affairs anymore. Now we are friends. That's the way to talk, I told him. Now come on and have something to eat with us. He came on my table and we got along ever since.
My dear nephew comes up to the Lido and he tells me that
- 775 -
Joe Lanza is opening up a crap game and he wants to give Joey and I a piece of the game and he asked me if I want a piece with them, Fiore and Joey. I said OK how much do I need. Well, he said, we need six thousand dollars for our end. It would be two thousand apiece but we have no money. Well I said we will borrow the money as long as you pay when we get some money out of the game. How do you like it? He said, fine how about Pat he said Pat don't want any part of it, so I borrowed the money and we took a piece of the crap game. They were paying the Police only in the precinct and the cops that walk the beat. All they got to worry about was the headquarter plains clothes men and they don't come around much. I went to the game once to check if they really had a piece of the game. Then I went back to the Lido Restaurant. After I saw Joe Lanza he Joe told me that he would watch over the kids and see that they don't get in a jam shooting crap. Lot of guys refused to have anything to do with crap games just because they ruin themselves by shooting crap. They can never earn enough from the profit of the game to support the gambling habit because the percentage figured for the crap shooters to lost anyway everytime I call to find out how the game was making out they would tell me, Gee they were winning so much and at the end or near the end of the game someone took a shot and he took all the profit that was the song and dance they were giving me all
- 776 -
the time. That was going on for about six weeks but they were paying off the loan. I happened to be busy up at the Lido so I never took a ride down to the game but I did not expect them to do anything wrong but when it comes as far as gamblers are concerned they don't mean to cheat you. It is just that they get themselves in such a jam that they can't help themselves. One night they brought me about five hundred dollars and they sat me down and they told me the whole story. They said every week they were getting from three to four thousand dollars a week from the game but they were blowing their top. They even blew the capital that we had put up. Boy I looked at them with disgust and I told them to go away from here before I blow my top. It seems to me that you guys have no principles no wonder Pat did not want any part of the game. They wanted to talk but I told them to go away and come back tomorrow. They tried to talk again but I told that I hate you too much tonight so please go away. OK they said we go and we would be back tomorrow night. They did come the following night and they wanted me to get some stuff for them and they told me that is the only way they can pay me back. When I heard what they had to say I told them that it was lucky thing that they did not say it last night, the way I felt last night I would had got a bat and I have a bat behind the bar as the late hours of the night Castle Hill Ave. was a pretty bad neighborhood. The young kids around
- 777 -
Castle Hill Ave. were all using junk and they wrecked every joint in the Bronx so I had to be prepared for them. They tried to make trouble in the Lido a couple of times and each time they got the worse of it but one had to be careful when he was alone and that is why I had a bat. The worse part of guys like me is to own a joint. Other owners call the cops when there is something wrong and their trouble of course is over but if I called the cops it would be against our rules and in this case we had to handle trouble ourselves the best way I could. Well I chased Joey and Fiore that night and I told them to forget about it. Within a week they come back to the Lido and they tell me that some guys is got a lot of jewelry. He, Joey, said that they are two guys and they come from Boston, they are bellhops and they stole a valise full of different kind of jewelry. They did not have any diamonds but it was almost everything one can mention. They had for instance solid gold rings, women wrist watches, all sort of things too numerous to mention. They said they had about twenty thousand dolars worth. It was a lot of stuff. They told me that they were going to pose as policemen and then they will do business with them by telling them that we would let them go and we would keep the jewelry. The guys would be so scared that they would be happy to be left along. OK, I said, go ahead. The following night they bring the stuff up in the Lido and I told them I don't care
- 778 -
if I make a million dollars get that stuff out of here. So there was a guy in the joint by the name of Bobby London he spoke and he said that he would keep the stuff over at his house for us. Well he certainly help it for us he took the best jewelry out and when it was sold they found out because they had a list of everything they had no one looked at the jewelry until it was sold. Anyway they got a couple of thousand dollars for the jewelry and they gave me about two thousand dollars to make up for what I did not get from the game. Of course that could never make up for what I lost in the crap game because afte they pulled out of the game the game kept winning money all the time as long as it lasted and it lasted a long time. I get a surprise visit at the Lido Restaurant - it was Solly Shield. I had not seen for a long time as he is the one what got twenty years when I told you about Nickie getting killed by a policeman and Solly got caught and he received twenty years. He sits me down and he wants me to go out and get two hundred thousand dollars worth of tens and twentys counterfeit money. I told him I do not bother with counterfeit. He said, well can you do me a favor and get it for me. I said, if I got to go out and get it for you might as well be in on it but I would not go out and get anything of the kind. I told him, you have been in jail a long time and you don't know what it is all about so please don't bother me with that kind of stuff. I reminded him that my
- 779 -
outfit does not allow us to fool around with such things. He said he had them sold for twenty two dollars a hundred. Boy, I told him, you have two hundred thousand dollars worth of counterfeit money sold for twenty-two dollars a hundred. Boy you must be out of your mind or you are doing business with the Agents, they cost seven dollars a hundred. Are you kidding I never heard of such a price unless its agents that offer those kind of prices. My friend I told him that something is wrong I don't want any part of this deal. He said he knew the guy for thirty years. Hey Sol, I said, where has this guy been for the past thirty years it don't make sense to me. As we were talking Joey and Fiore walk in the Lido and I introduce them to Solly. Well nothing else was said only that we were sitting down and we were having a couple of drinks and everyone wanted to eat a steak. They ordered what they wanted and as I had to greet some of the people that walked in the Lido. If I don't greet them they would feel hurt - people are funny they want a little attention and they like to ask me what is good to eat. Solly must had asked the kids for the money because they would keep quiet when I had a chance to join them. Well I did not say anything because they gave me no course to say anything. Well they stayed in the Lido most of the night and Solly was looking at all the girls that were walking into the Lido. I checked him right away. I said, Hey Solly this ain't
- 780 -
Broadway. Over here most of these people are family people and if they see one of my crowd flirt with them they won't let their daughters walk in the place - I serve pizza pies and I get girls of all ages in this place so the boys told Solly that if they make a play for any girls here in the backroom or at the bar they make sure that Joe is not looking. Some of the girls tell me that they are going to tell Joe. Gee Solly said is this the way it is. No it ain't that way I make it that way as I say this is not Broadway as Solly had a restaurant down town and down town is all together different from the Bronx, most of the trade is family trade and then after say about one o'clock in the morning then the night butterfly come around so I felt before 12 o'clock at night I wanted to run a respectable place as I did not want to lose the family trade. We broke it up and the following night I see Solly walk in the Lido about seven o'clock in the evening. I said to him what are you doing over here. He said he had to meet the kids. What kids I asked. He said your nephew and Joey. For what? He said, Solly said, wait until they come. Hey, I said, you did not ask them for that stuff. He said that they can get it in twenty-four hours. Sure enough they walk in the place. I get up and they asked me to sit down. Sit down, I said, in a minute I throw you out of here. I don't want to be bothered with this stuff. Solly said, don't mind Joe we would take care of him. With that I sat down and
- 781 -
I said, listen careful I want to make myself clear I don't want anything and if there is a pinch I don't want to know anything either, is that clear? Now get through and get out of here. Now every now and then I would get close to their table where they were talking. I hear Solly tell the kids when you come to the hotel. Hey, I jump in, I better protect these kids what do you mean by when they come to the hotel, what hotel, I asked Solly? He said the hotel where I have the meet for the sale. Listen you two guys, I told them, I don't see why you guys want to do this kind of business when you don't know how. I said, Solly has the people who he is doing business with in the Hotel, is that right? Solly, he said, yes. Well, I said, you have faith that these people are OK, is that right? He said, yes. Then why do you want these kids to come down to the hotel? Well, he said, who is going to bring the money down. Wait a minute, I told him, these kids are doing business with you, is that right? He said, yes. Well then you have a man to pick it up from these kids wherever they say, not what you say, you are getting a lot of money from these people for this stuff. How much are you paying these kids for the money. He said, 12 dollars. Then you are selling the money for 22 dollars, is that right, then you are endangering these guys. If you two guys deliver the money into the hotel then I don't want any part of you. OK, Solly said, I'll get a man and I let
- 782 -
them make the appointment wherever they say. Sure, I said, it ain't more than fair. They are not getting anything for meeting these people in the hotel so why should these people have a look at these two guys that is your headache not theirs. OK, Solly told them, tomorrow I let you meet someone of my boys and you make the appointment wherever you two guys say. They agreed and they left the next day. Someone came to my house for a loan and in the course of just making conversation I asked the guy what's new, He said nothing, but in the afternoon papers I read that Solly Shield was pinched last night. They caught him in a hotel with one hundred thousand dollars of phony money. Oh no, I said, how many of them got arrested. He said two guys but he did not know the other guy. Gee, I started to dress up I gave the guy his loan and I wanted to get rid of him so that I can dress up and get out and find out what it is all about. I dress up and I go to the Lido and who do you think I find at the Lido I find the two kids, Fiore and Joey, and I walked in the Lido. I walked straight in the Garden as I said I had an open garden in the back and Fiore and Joey follow me in the yard and Joey asked me if he could kiss me for not letting them go down to the hotel. See, I told them, I told that dope that the deal did not look good to me, who is the other guy I asked? They said that is the guy that he sent over for the money. How did you think about us not letting us go down to the hotel. How stupid can you be I told them, he is doing business with those people. Why should you take a chance and meet them he is getting all the profit and beside I
- 783 -
did not think that he knew what he was doing. How come only one thousand dollars? Well, he said, when we went to the connection and he saw that we had no cash he said that he would only give us one hundred thousand dollars without any money. Solly don't even know that he had only one hundred thousand dollars. We did not want to tell him anything. Another thing did you know that I turned him down I did not even want to talk to him about it and you guys had to come in the joine and you got caught in the phony deal. I did not know that you guys knew where the phony money is. Do you bother with it. No they said, when we heard two hundred thousand dollars we got interested. They were looking at me and they asked me what shall we do, his wife wants to see us. How did you meet her. We did not meet her we had an appointment at ten o'clock to collect the money when we called she said that we should call back but when we did call back later on she told us that she did not hear from her husband so we figured something was wrong. Well I told them forget about seeing her. In fact forget about everything you darn fools I told them you should had demanded some cash in front now how much are you guys stuck. They said seven thousand dollars but the guy is a friend of ours and we are sure that he would take out his profits which we are sure that he would do so we figured we are stuck five grand. Well I said now get lost I was going to let you guys deliver
- 784 -
the money to the hotel but I felt sorry for you guys and I know Solly a long time and I'll bet you that he collected some kind of cash and I meant to warn you to make sure that you get some cash before you turn it, the money, over to his man but I don't understand you guys why do you want to do business when you don't know how. Well anyway a few days later I read in the newspaper that they, the agents, arrested twenty-three of them all involved in the same case. The headlines were big in the newspapers and the guy that picked up the money from the kids, his name was Russo, but I did not know him and that there were fifty agents waiting in the hotel for the phony money and that Solly's partner who Solly said that he knew for thirty years was really Pierre LaFete, a Frenchman, who was the greatest informer and the greatest liar that ever ived, He was a well-known stool pigeon for the agents in the USA and he was also a stool pigeon in France. Now I must tell you how Solly met LaFete. One of Solly's friends who was a frenchman and was at Ellis Island waiting for deportation met LaFete this friend of Solly his name was Joseph Ocenia. Joe knew La Fete from some town in France and Joe had not seen LaFete for a long time so they became buddys in Ellis Island and LaFete told Joe that he would be out in the street in a short time and he asked Joe Ocenia if he had any friends outside and if he wanted he told Joe he has connections to get rid of junk
- 785 -
or counterfeit money, but has no connection to get the junk or the counterfeit money. Then he told Joe that if he LaFete makes any money he would help Joe Ocenia in his trouble and he LaFete was sure he can do something if he has money. Joe Ocenia got all excited over the deal LaFete gave him. Joe Ocenia sent for Solly but Solly could not go to Ellis Island. I don't know why but Solly sends his wife to Ellis Island to see Joe Ocenia. He Joe introduced Solly's wife to LaFete. Joe told Solly's wife that LaFete is expecting to get out of Ellis Island in a short time and when he gets out I want you to introduce LaFete to your husband. Tell him your husband that whatever he does with LaFete it will be just like he would be doing business with me. Now take a good look at him as he would come over to your house the moment he gets out of here and tell Solly that LaFete is going to help me. So when LaFete got out of Ellis Island he went to see Solly and they both got together to make some money so that they can get Joe out of Ellis Island. LaFete and Solly did some junk business before he came up with the counterfeit deal. He, LaFete, was the one who ordered the two hundred thousand dollars of phony money. I forgot to mention that when the twenty-three got arrested Solly's wife was one of the twenty-three. So now we knew why she wanted to see the kids she was trying to get them arrested. She did not know them or they would had been arrested. Later on I would tell you how I got involved in this case but I did not get involved until five years later and I would
- 786 -
tell you how I got involved in this case but I did not get involved until five years later and I will tell you how lost my license in the Lido Restaurant because of this case.
Before this arrest I had met Solly while standing on a corner in Harlem he was passing by in his car and he stopped and he introduced his wife to me telling me that he had been out of jail about a year from his first case and that he had just got married. He gave me the name of a restaurant he had bought right off Broadway but I don't recall if I ever went there. I think now because he was a hard guy to get along with. He was not what he rated himself to be much too far off. He used to wear his hat on the side and he was a sneak and very conceited. Well I tell you what I remember as to what happened to Solly and Joe Ocenia when Russo whoever he was arrived at the hotel Russo went straight in the hotel while Solly was outside in front of the hotel parked in his car with LaFete. The moment Russo walked in the hotel LaFete stuck up Solly and he told Solly "I'm sorry Solly I am an agent and you are under arrest." Later on I went and see Solly in jail. I asked Solly how did he feel when LaFete stuck him up. Solly said that he remained dumbfounded. I don't blame him I told him and I reminded him how I tried to stop him from making that phony deal and he was glad that I saved the kids. Besides Solly's wife there were two french women arrested also and all I
- 787 -
know is that they, the two french women, both got two years apiece. Solly Shields got 15 years and Solly's wife the way I understand was acquitted as she was working together with the agents. I'll tell more about her later. Joe Ocenia received ten years.
Now I'll go back to Fiore my nephew. I have a brother-in-law who married one of my sisters and he is an honest man and I do not care to mention his name as he has a business and I might hurt him and his business. Well this kid my brother-in-law used to keep a lot of money in his safe. I warned him a lot of times not to keep this kind of money in the safe in that kind of neighborhood and Fiore used to hang out in the same block where my brother-in-law had his business. One day my brother-in-law called me and he told me that he was stuck up and they, the stickup guys - took all the money in the safe - it amounted to about 12 thousand dollars. I never said anything to anyone but it looked kind of funny to me with Fiore around the neighborhood my brother-in-law has to be stuck up. Well once I crack to Fiore about it and he did not answer me so I let it go at that and I never brought it up again.
In the Lido there was a guy and his wife used to come and drink and eat almost every night. They seem to be very pleasant and I used to get in a
- 788 -
conversation with them about horses. He the fellow owned a couple of trotters. After I got to talk to him about a month he offered me a share or two of the trotter I used to tell him I can't see or understand trotters. I know about the horses on the flats as that is what we call horses that race on the race tracks, but I don't know anything at all about trotters. One night Fiore happened to hear the trainer ask me again if I want to take a piece of the two trotters. When Fiore heard it he called me on the side and he told me how much is involved. I told him that I didn't know because I was not interested so Fiore asked the trainer how much did he want for half of the trotter so the trainer told Fiore it would cost us about a thousand dollars so Fiore said come on let's take it we would have some fun. I tell Fiore that you don't understand it ain't how much it cost you its what it would cost you in the long run paying for their keep. This guy thinks I don't understand, he thinks we are squares and I'm trying to tell him let's be friends. I don't want any trouble with him and his wife and besides I don't know anything about trotters so Fiore again said, "Come on let's help the guy." It ain't a question of helping the guy it a question of betting your money and losing it. Fiore said we take it for the fun of it. We won't bet on them. Then I said if you want to take it so bad let me ask Johnnie a few questions. I asked
- 789 -
him, Johnnie how long would it be before they would be able to run in a race as this was winter time and he, the trainer, had the both trotters on a farm and he had to get them shipped to whatever track that opened up first because I don't remember what track it was. The trainer swears to me that two months after the raceway opened he will have the both of them ready for a race. Well I said we would wait until the raceway opened and then we would talk business. Johnnie said give me the money now and I would sign papers that we don't start paying until they are ready to run. OK I said you need the money so bad. Let me see you sign the papers and I tell you. Now I told Johnnie I would be coming down to the track watching them work and the first time that I find that you lie to me it ain't going to end up in a friendly ending. Johnnie was the trainer's name, I don't remember his second name.
Well now the season opened for the trainers to bring their horses to the track for training purposes and after about five weeks I started to ask Johnnie how are the two horses doing and he will tell me fine but he would say that he did not open up on them yet - by opened up he meant that he did not let them run full speed yet, and I will tell him that when you are ready to run them in their best workouts I want to come to the track and I want to see them work out. He said fine I'll be happy to bring you to the track. So after about two months Johnnie told me that he was ready to take me to the track and
- 790 -
show me how the horses would work out so I got hold of a friend of mine and I told him to be at such a track and have a time clock with him as we are going to work out a horse and I want him to clock the horse or horses to make sure that the trainer don't tell me one thing from another because that is the way trainers operate, even though a horse does not work his best they always have the hopes of the horse running better in a race but not if a horse don't show me something anything in the morning I don't want any part of him in the afternoon. I ain't going to wait until the horse is in the mood of running no not me. I went through that stuff some time before. This guy Johnnie came around. Well that morning one of the horses worked. He said he was afraid to send the other horse out as he thought that the other horse needed a little more work before he would send him out for a strong workout. OK let's see the other work out. I want to let you know that you can see how much interest I had in those two trotters that I can't even think of their names. Gee wait a minute I just thought of one of their names, one of them was Mighty Cobey, it just came to me as I was writing isn't it funny? Well, it was Mighty Cobey that was going to work out. He started him at the starting point and the horse went on its way and when he came back the trainer told me that his work was not so good to be truthful with you Mighty Cobey was not ready for his best but you want to see them work so I brought
- 791 -
you out here. Well, I asked, in what time did he finish? He said, 217 for a mile. I knew that a trotter must work at least 212 or 213. Well, I said, at least you did not lie. So I called my friend and I asked him in front of Johnnie, "How fast did he go" and the guy said 216. How come, I asked Johnnie. Gee, he said, they must be something wrong with my watch. They compared the watches and it showed that there was a little wrong with his watch. I don't know what but I was satisfied with the work - I expected worse than what I saw. Now I get around and I check on Mighty Cobey and I find out that the horse can run but if Johnnie gets him to the post he is a mighty lucky man and a good man because this Mighty Cobey can be a champ if he will run but everyone says that the horse is crazy and hardly anyone wants to drive him so you can see the guy said he is five years old and he had not won a race yet he might drive Johnnie right into a fence. Everyone tells Johnnie to give up on him but he is got young blood and he thinks that he can bring him around. Gee I liked Johnie when I heard the story so I went back to Johnnie and I told him that I went out and I found out all about Mighty Cobey. So Johnnie had rode him this morning. I'm sure he would had done better but I wanted to stay with you and I made my friend ride or drive him. OK, I said, I stay with you and I want to see Mighty Cobey run. I like crazy horses. I had one myself and
- 792 -
he broke my heart. He could had been a champ but this one made up his mind that he did not want to come out of the gate so I understand. So Johnnie tells me that there are racing in Boston somewhere and he would like to go there with Mighty Cobey. Go ahead, I told him. Do what you like, but Johnnie said, that it cost money to ship a horse from one town to another. OK I said, I'll go half with you go ahead I told him go to Boston. He asked me if I would come the night of the race. Sure I would come, a lot of us from the Lido would come. Gee, he said, I would like to make good. I know how you feel I told him. Well I wish you luck and I went home. A week later the horse was in Boston and he was entered in a race and Johnnie's wife came in the joint in the early afternoon and she was almost crying. She was saying that Mighty Cobey was going to run and she could not go to the track. I asked her why and she said that she was broke so I asked her how much do you need, She said about forty dollars, so I gave her the forty dollars and I told her that I will meet them out there tonight. That night we got to Boston. It was not in Boston but outside of Boston but I don't remember where but anyway by the time we got in the race track, as we just made it for the race, we hear the announcer on the loud speaker yell that Mighty Cobey is out of the race as he ran into a fence and the driver was shaken up so we all looked at one another
- 793 -
and the guys were all kidding me and they were saying that Joe finds all the crazy horses. No not me this time, it was Fiore and Fiore answers me and said you are right this time I talked it in to you. Oh you the guy, the boys told him. Well they said, come on we are here now so let's look for the trainer. We will do some betting. I don't find the trainer but I find his wife and she had tears in her eyes so I told her to go out and get us some tips. You must know someone at this track. Oh, yes, I said, by the way how is Johnnie. She said he is OK, he will be over here in a little while. Well anyway get me something to bet on, we are going to spend the night here as long as we are here we want to bet. OK, she said, I'll see what I can find out. Go ahead before this race runs I want to bet something. Well she got back late and I put a twenty dollar bill on the favorite and he won. She said she could not find out anything that is why she did not come back as we were talking her husband walks over and he told me that the horse is OK and he almost kill him, he said. OK Johnnie are you going to stay. He said, yes. Well get us some tips. He asked me, who did I bet in the last race. I told him the winner and he said that was the one he liked. I said that I did not bet the horse I bet what I saw go on the board he was getting all the action so I had nothing to bet so I went along with the money. Gee, he told his wife Joe knows his business. Well it don't work all the time
- 794 -
but when there is nothing to bet its a good way to bet. It won't pay much but its a winner so he Johnnie told me to bet on a long shot in the race coming up. It did not win but it came second and it paid a good price and I made money on the race to be truthful Johnnie knew his trotters. We were having a good time and Johnnie thanked me for giving his wife money as she could not had come here tonight. So I asked Johnnie, don't tell me that you are putting all your money on the horses. You know Johnnie if you don't win a race these horses will eat you out of your home. Why do you think why I did not want to bother from the beginning. I know what it is if horses don't win some money for you. Johnnie said, you don't know the half of it. My wife works and she puts all her money in these horses. Oh, I said, see what I mean. No, no, it don't make sense I ain't going to stick around long I'm going to give you the two horses and I don't want anything back. I don't want to get stuck into this kind of business. Oh no I tried to tell you from the start you can't say I didn't. Johnnie asked me if I want him to sell the horses. No I said I don't want to put you out of business I ain't that kind of a guy but you can understand me I had horses that could not win I just gave them away so Johnnie I'm telling you now keep the horses and let me tear up the papers I'm nobody's fool Johnnie can hold me and bring me a bill every month for the care and feed of the horses as long as we have half of the
- 795 -
horses on paper so he brought the papers in the Lido and we destroyed them and I was out of the trotting business without having the honors of ever starting one. They still used to come around in the Lido and sometimes they did not have money to eat but I used to let them eat and eat good when they were broke. Then all of a sudden I never saw them again. I hope they made good.
One night at this time I was in someone's house when I hear on the radio that Willie Moretti Moore was shot to death in a restaurant next to Duckes Restaurant in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Well I was not going to go in the Lido that night until I find out what it is all about that's how I missed Johnnie Roberts when he came in the Lido to celebrate Willie's death with me because Johnnie knew how Willie used to treat me through the years and besides I had the experience in 1931 when the old man got killed and I did not know anything and I almost got myself killed for not knowing anything after even though I knew that it was coming off but I was taking no chances after all the outsider people did not know my feelings, by the outside people I mean the other families. Then I figured that later on in the night I could call Tony Bender and he would tell me whether I can go in the Lido or not so by the time that I got in touch with Tony Bender it was pretty late. He told me to go to the Lido and not to worry about anything and in the meantime he asked me to be at Patty Muccio's house Sunday as he was going to be there because Patty Muccio had just gotten a baby girl
- 796 -
or it was baby girl time to be out of the hospital, I don't remember it was something. So on Sunday I went to Patty Muccio's house but I went alone as I was not going to bring my wife because any where that Tony was I would never bring my wife. When I got there Patty's wife asked me where is your wife. I answered cold that she is home. Tony did not have his wife there either but Vinnie had a girl friend that he brought along so I stayed there a while and we were watching TV when they were talking about Willie Moore being killed Tony looked at me and smiled and he said, "Gee how sorry he felt for Willie but I did not say a word. I don't trust anyone any more with my feelings about anything unless one was very close to me. I learned my lesson. Well we broke it up and I went on my way. Now I want to explain the real reason why Willie Moore got killed. Mr. Vito Genevese was scheming since he came back from Italy. I say this not because I have a grudge against Vito I say it because he, Vito, is an old fox. He knew that Willie carried a lot of weight and he knew that in order to work his way up to being a boss he found an opening when Willie said a thing or two that did not make any sense but I must tell you that I did not waste any tears upon hearing about Willie's death. I am only telling the truth. Vito could had helped Willie if there was anything wrong with his mind, the way Frank Costello did when Willie blew his top some 12 or 15 years before. Frank had
- 797 -
Willie taken care of in the first place Willie comes from the same neighborhood where Frank comes from. There is different friendship between mob guys when they come from the same neighborhood they carry their respect until their last once of blood unless they are fighting one another but if they been together a long time like Frank and Willie were then they would stick together like glue. I'll admit that Willie was talking a little out of line but as I say and I'll say it again and again that he Willie was really in bad shape years before than he was at the time when he got killed. I'll say it that Vito agitated Willie's death and the proof is that Willie's brother was doing a year in jail. I never knew any lealthier man than Willie's brother Solly. After Willie died Solly died a slow death in the jail where he was doing the year, I don't remember why Solly got the year in jail but I'm sure if someone would look into it they might find a different story than Solly dying from sickness. Funny isn't it that Solly should die six months after his brother Willie died. When I read it in the papers that Solly died in jail as a result of some sickness believe me I had to laugh in my sleeve, who wouldn't tell me yes Vito I'll admit that you put that over real good but you know Vito I'm used to that kind of stuff from the old school. Frank was afraid of his own shadow so everything you said he went along with you now I'll bet that you are happy that you have Frank under your wing as you told me in Atlanta that Frank is on the side and is under Tommy Rye. Gee you must
- 798 -
feel good, eh, Vito when you need any money all you need to do is ask Frank because you don't want to spend any of yours no matter how much you have.
Later I'll tell you how Vito was blowing his top because no one wanted to listen to him when he started to talk about killing Frank Costello. Oh Vito how I know you but I never thought that you were so conceited no never. That is the story of Willie Moore Moretti. Vito had it done as a mercy killing. He knew it won't had been hard to pass it through the council because Willie wasn't the best liked guy in the world and he Vito worked under the table to have the council vote in his favor as far as Solly Moore was concerned. So Solly Moore died in jail, because he became sick. I hope the readers would understand me as to what I am telling them. Later I'll tell how Vito worked on Frank Costello and Albert Anastasia.
Around the end of 1952 Tony Bender sent for me. Of course by this time you all know that Tony Bender was a Lt. I went to the Thomson Street and I was told that Tony was in Rocco's Restaurant, an Italian Restaurant. I walked in Rocco's and Tony was eating and he asked me to sit down and have something to eat. I don't remember if I had something to eat or not. He was very calm and I don't recall if anyone else was sitting with Tony. After I was in the restaurant about ten minutes Tony said to me that Gene Giannini is an informer
- 799 -
for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. That he, Tony, got the information from Eddie that the information that Eddie gave him was kind of a surprise to him he could not figure out why he Tony was not informed by his own people but then Tony said well its not our affair. He said that Charlie Lucky Luciano had sent word that Gene had been an informer for the past 17 years and Tony told me that Charlie Lucky said that Gene is the smartest stool pigeon that ever lived kill him and whoever comes and fronts for him. Gene had just gotten back from Italy and of course Gene tried to get close to Charlie Lucky but as I understand Charlie Lucky had very good connection in Italy with the law and he Charlie Lucky was tipped off but Charlie was very nice to Gene as he did not want Gene to get wise that he Charlie knew something and I also was told that when Gene arrived here from Italy that Gene was greeted at the airport by the agents and that Gene told the agents that they the agents made a big mistake by them the agents allowing Gene to try and get close to Charlie Lucky. Gene felt in his heart that Charlie was wise to him. Tony asked me if Gene owned me any money. I said a couple of thousand of dollars and Tony warned me to be careful that I should not try and save the money if I were you Tony said to me that I would forget about the money. He Tony asked me how does Gene owe you the money.
I said its an old debt before he went to Italy, it was a shylock loan but I did not
- 800 -
do business direct with Gene I am really not sure how it went. Well I'm going to forget all about the money. That's it Tony said. I did not see Gene at all, in fact I made it my business not to see him. About two months later Tony called me or sent word to me that he, Tony, wanted to see me at the Gold Key Club, Tony owned the Gold Key Club. Tony said to me that those guys that are with Gene claim that they can't find Gene. Gee Tony said I hope you did not make any mistake by tipping off Gene just so that you can save your money. Well I said to myself, already they are making some excuse to blame me if something goes wrong. Gee I said to myself they never let up on me. I looked at Tony for a while and then I said, well if they can't find him I'll find him. Tony said that he would have to see the old man so I said should I come down tomorrow night or should I wait a few dais. He said call me tomorrow night late at the Gold Key Club. So the following night I called Tony and he told me to go ahead as he saw the old man and that the old man liked the idea because especially that Charlie had sent word. Then Tony told me that if I cared I could stop at the Club that he would be in the Club until five o'clock in the morning. I did stop there in the late hours of the morning and I parked about four or five blocks away from the club as we knew that the law was taking every ones number of their cars that stopped at the Gold Key Club regardless what car stopped at the Club. When I entered the Club, Tony waved me on a side table and asked
- 801 -
me who I was going to use on the Gene's affair. I told him that I did not make up my mind yet. I told him that I was not sure. Gee, he said, you mean to tell me that you did not make up your mind yet. Gee, Tony, I told him, you only told me tonight or rather this morning to go ahead. I did not even see anyone yet, the reason why I did not want to tell Tony who I had in mind was that I wanted him to think that I had so many guys that I could not make up my mind as I said before they were always worrying about me and they always wanted to know who I had with me. This way they can steal them on me the way they always did. I figured that I make Tony to a little thinking but after I use the boys I must tell him who I used because they, the boys, that I would use would be proposed to become a member later on when the books will be opened. The next day I sent Joey down to Tony Bender to get some guns. Tony had someone give Joey the guns and Joy brought the guns up in Harlem and he kept them in Harlem until they needed them. I don't know where he kept them because I did not ask him. Now the first thing that I did was tell Joey to meet me in the Bronx in the Lido Restaurant. Then we left the Lido Restaurant and I went to a corner bar on Westchester Ave. and from the bar I called Gene and I told Gene to meet me on Westchester Ave. as he knew the place and I did not mention my name on the phone. Gene knew my voice by just hearing me talking on the phone. He
- 802 -
said that he would leave right away. When Gene did arrive I noticed another car behind him and I asked him what are you got the agents following you around. He said no they, the agents, must be watching you. I said maybe let's break it up. I told him I'll call you some other time as the agents are following me so we better not talk. I wanted Gene to believe that I really thought that the agents were following me around instead of him, but I knew different especially when Joey and I left the bar through a side door on the side of Castle Hill Ave. we saw that when Gene's car left the other car left to. A day or two passed and I called Gene again. This time I called from a bar next door instead of the bar on the corner. It was called the Cass Bar and in this bar they had entertainment. Again Gene came and again the agents were behind Gene. This time I did not tell Gene that I saw the other car. Gene walked in the bar and the first thing Gene told me was that he felt that he was going to die. When Gene said how he felt I thought that Joey was going to give me away so I pat him on the back and I told him to have a drink and stop the nonsense. In the meantime there was a girl at the bar that used to work for me. I called her over and I invited her to have a drink with us even though she was going out with the boss of the joint and the boss was behind the bar. Gene knew her from the Lido Restaurant when whe worked there so I told Gene why don't he grab her and go out and have a good time and forget about his feeling of being killed, Gene said that he had no money
- 803 -
in his pocket and he showed me that he had only twenty dollars so I hand him two more twenty dollar bills and I told him that he had enough to take her out. I remember her name and I don't think it is proper to mention her name as it is so long ago and she may be married and why should I start trouble. Well Gene got close to her and that gave Joey and I a chance to leave so we left and as we walked to our car we saw the other car parked at least a block away but we did not look at them until we got into my car and I pulled away like a demon and I made sure that they did not follow us. After we felt that we were not being tailed Joey was saying that he could not get over the experience that he went through tonight - he was referring to the remark that Gene made about how he felt. Joey was saying that Gene knows that he done wrong by going over to Charlie Lucky house in Italy. I said yes, Joe, he certainly did do wrong. He must had gone out of his mind not knowing that the agents Gorge White and Siragusa forced Gene to try and get something on Charlie Lucky. In fact when Gene came back from Italy I met him I don't remember where and I remember him, Gene, telling me that he met Charlie Lucky in Italy so I asked him if he knew Charlie Lucky when Charlie was here in the States and Gene said that he did not know Charlie when Charlie was here in the States. Then I said to him and how did you get the nerve to go to his house. He said he went with someone that knew Charlie
- 804 -
and then we dropped the subject and I went on my way. Now a week or so passed and one of the kids comes over to the bar and he tells me that Gene is working in the game in Harlem. I asked him if he was sure, he said that he was. So the next night I take a ride down at the Gold Key Club and I do the same thing, I park about a block away and Tony is not there but they tell me that Tony would be in the club any minute so I sit at the table and I wait for him.
Everyone was busy sitting here and there. I ordered something to eat and Tony walked in the Club in about an hour and he sits on my table and I tell Tony what happened when I called Gene and I tell him that Gene is working at the crap game, he is working at the drop - the drop means that when players come they would go to the drop first and when there is say about eight or ten players someone from the drop will walk them over to the crap game. When Tony hears the story he says this guy is dangerous you know what you do Tony telle me call me tomorrow at the Club and I would see the old man and I'll see what he says and I would let you know if the old man says that it is OK to get him at the drop of the crap game. I will just say OK, if not then. I would ask you to come down-by the old man Tony meant Vito Genovese. The next night I call Tony and he told me OK so I hung up. The next day I got in touch with the kids and I told Pat Pagano to make a get away from 112 Street a building that would have no locks to block their path, and to make sure that they come out of
- 805 -
a building from 111 Street and they should have their car parked at the 111 Street Building. Now I come with you I want to make sure that everything is OK. I met the boys the following night and Gene was sitting in front of the drop entrance and as we rode around the block I asked Pat is he went through the building in the afternoon. He said, gee he forgot but we will be alright I know the building.
I said no good drive me to my car and I called the whole thing off. The next night I came down and Pat tells me that he went through the building and that everything is all set. Fine I hang around in a bar but before I did I made one of the guys follow me in the Bronx and I parked my car at Castle Hill Ave. I came down again and when it was two o'clock in the morning I got tired as Gene did not show up so I asked one or two of the guys to drive me up to the Lido and they drove back to Joe Lanza Bar at 114 Street and Second Ave. In about an hour or more I don't remember Fiore Siano calls me and tells me that he just got there by he Fiore meant Gene as we did not want to mention his name on the phone. I tell Fiore to go ahead and see him he knew what I meant. About a half hour later or more I really did not check, Fiore calls me and he tells me that they saw him and that they are going away for a couple of days so I get in my car and I drove to Harlem to see whatever I could see. When I passed 112 Street on Second Ave. where the drop was I see that there wasn't a soul around. Of
- 806 -
course the bar 114 Street was closed so I turned and and I went back to in the Bronx and I went home. I got up at about 11 o'clock and I went out and in the meantime I put my radio on and I get it that Gene was killed and they found his body at 107 Street between Second and Third Ave. I just could not figure the whole thing out. I went and see Tony that night and he told me that Paulie Ham is making a hell of a beef. He said that he would call me as Vito wants to see me in a few days. I was down on Thomson Street and I meet Tony and he tells me to hang around as the old man wants to talk to me. In the meanwhile Tony had asked me about the guns. The first time I saw him I told him at the time that I did not know as I did not see any of the boys yet but when I did ask Joe Pagano told me that he threw the guns, all three of them, in the East river on the Third Ave. bridge. Only two of the guns were used but he threw all three of in the river as the way Joie put it that he was not going to take time out to open them and see which ones were used and that is the way I told it to Tony. Before Vito Genovese arrived I was telling Tony that one of the kids told me when I asked how did the body get 107 Street from 112 Street that some of the guys that worked at the drop thought that Gene had a chance so they being guys from the neighborhood grabbed Gene put him in a car and were on their way to the Fifth Ave. hospital but when they realized that Gene was dead they dumped
- 807 -
him out of the car at 107 Street where they found Gene. I see Tony said. Now when Vito did arrive the first thing that he said was that he wanted to get the first punch and he made a fist as he said it. Then he told me that those guys claim that they took Gene's body away from 112 Street to save the game. What do you say Vito asked me. I said that I only could tell you what the kids told me. They told me that the guys in the drop thought that Gene had a chance and they were rushing him to the hospital so Vito not knowing the neighborhood asked me if that was the road to the hospital. I said certainly and 107 Street is a one way going west. Now Vito asked me if any of the guys at the drop saw the killing I said yes they had to call him out of the club because that is a club but they used it as a drop. They claim Vito said that it cost Paulie Ham ten thousand dollars to keep the game opened. He, Vito, said that they had to pay the cops. Gee, I said, to myself from the way Vito sounds that maybe Tony did not tell Vito. When I asked Tony if it was OK to get Gene at the drop so I made it my business to ask Vito of course you know that I came and see Tony before I went to the drop of the crap game. Vito said yes Tony told me and I OKed it so I said OH - by that I meant that for a moment I thought that Tony was up to one of his tricks and OK it without telling Vito. Now I am getting the cold shoulder from all of Tommy's crew. I said to someone that I trusted every time I am asked to do something it is complicated and always against them
- 808 -
people that I have the highest respect for. Well I said to myself if I get a chance I would tell Tommy and I don't care what the boys think from the way I understand it after a while that Paulie Ham had gave Gene a job in the crap game and they themselves were going to take care of Gene. The story that they gave me was all baloney by they I mean Tony Bender and from the way Vito expressed himself that he wanted the first punch that it was his idea for Tony to tell me that they, the other mob, could not find Gene. Vito knew my reaction if Tony tells me that they are afraid that I might tip Gene off because of the couple of thousand dollars that Gene owed me. Vito knows that I understand anyone getting a rap tipping anyone off in a case like Gene's case that I am in danger of my own life that is why I said if they can't find him I'll find him. I would had never taken the contract if I did not think that Vito was trying to put me in a jam. I did not know what to think believe me I was not so happy about the whole thing. First of all, all the other boys were mad at me but I can't understand why they get mad at me whenthey are in a position to know that if I take a contract that it must had been given to me by my bosses. I know why they were mad at me because I am the weak they can't say anything to Vito but take it out of me that's why I was so disgusted with down town. They always have a motive whenever they asked me to do something. Always give me the
- 809 -
dirty work so that I won't have any friends anywhere. That is the way Vito operates. He take all his time he did not start with me until Tom Galigaino and a couple of more that I had watched over me this would be about the third or fourth time that I got in trouble by my bosses telling me to do something and then leave me holding the bag. I like to know how much one can push a man all the way until we met in Atlanta and there he tried the same thing which I would talk about near the end of the story. Now I would let you know what he pulled concerning the Gene affair a couple of weeks after I met Vito down town. I was given an address, I think by Tony Bender or someone else, I really don't remember, for sure I read the address from a piece of paper and it was somewhere in Highlands in Jersey, it was a bar and restaurant owned by Vito Genovese's son-in-law. I was supposed to go there alone and I knew it was a carpet. The carpet was because I ordered Gene to be killed in front of the crap game as if I did it on my own. Anyone can see that theyl my bosses, were doing everything so that I blow my top. First they tell you to do something of which I can't refuse then they make believe that they don't know anything after its done. Well anyway, if one can understand they make such phony appointments to test me there has been at least a half dozen guys that did not show up on phony appointments as the one they made for me before I went to Highlands I told a personal friend that I was going on this appointment and if I
- 810 -
don ‘t come back this is the reason why I'm going I told this man you may hear a different story so I'm giving you the right story. I'm going on the carpet for the Gene affair because it was done in front of the crap game drop. Now if anything happened then you know that Vito told Tony Bender that it was OK to do it and Tony Bender told me that it was OK by Vito. I shook hands with this guy and I left for Highlands in Jersey. If they think that I ain't going to show up and take off well they got another guess coming. I said to myself that when I get to the bar and restaurant and as I walk in the joint I'm going to see if they are surprised to see me. Sure enough there hardly wasn't a soul at the bar or the restaurant as I understand they were all in the back room so I went to the bar and I started to drink by myself. I'll say I had about a half dozen drinks and no one came at the bar. I must say that I was at the bar unconcerned I just did not care for anything. I said to myself what a bunch of actors but who looks for this thing. God, I said, how they operate only God could understand me at that moment I swear I knew no fear. I did nothing wrong so why should I have any fear. I walked to the bathroom and I walked cockey - I just did not care - here is a restaurant full of guys and I could not see anyone except Vito because he was going in and out of the room. As I opened the door of the bathroom I ain't in there five seconds when the door opened again and in walked
- 811 -
Toddy Ordell from Brooklyn and a Lt. of Vito's. As I was standing in the bathroom Toddy got right along side of me and as I knew Toddy for years and we were very close he said Hello to me and I said, Gee Toddy I did not see you and he said that he was in the other room and then Toddy said to me, listen careful I'm your friend. I did not look up when he said it to me so he said it again, I am your friend, so I said, can I ask you a question? He said, No. Then I asked him if I can come and see him in Brooklyn. He said no. Gee, I said, can't I ask anything. He said, when you leave this bathroom go home. Gee her I am obligated for no reason at all. OK, I said, thanks, and I shook hands with him and I left the bathroom and I went for my had and coat and as I was putting my coat on Vito came out of the room and he told me to go home so I got in my car and I was driving about five miles an hour just thinking. I just could not understand. I know that if Vito did not want to have a meet there were had been none - who could figure it out but whatever the purpose was I know that it was no good. All I know it was a phony move all around and I'll bet my life that not everyone would had kept this kind of an appointment. Let me explain what would had happened if I don't keep the appointment and if I did not have a solid reason - I would be in trouble and they would had trailed me without my permission and I believe in the name of God that Vito thought that I would had never kept that appointment. I know that Tony Bender was very nice to me after this. I meant
- 812 -
to ask Vito in Atlanta about this appointment but things were not so hot so I never got a chance to ask him one thing I'll tell you that I am still at a loss about me going to Highlands that night.
Let me tell you about another phony move they pulled one time. They thought that I was close to Steve Rinnelli and Bobby Doyle called me at home and he told me to be down on Thompson Street in the afternoon so I went there and Bobby was already there but they told me that everyone was in the empty apartment and they were watching dirty movies. Gee, I said, to myself, boy oh boy. When I knocked on the door it was so dark that one could not see two feet ahead of him as mad as I was I did not show it. Well I stayed there about a half hour and I got up and I left. Bobby knew I was sore so he said that he was going uptown and if I was leaving could he take a ride with me. Sure, I said, you can take a ride with me on the way up I asked him is that what you wanted to see me about. He got all red in the face. Well Bobby, I told him, I'm going to hang out with girls from now on do you think that they would suspect the girls. He said that he did not know what I was talking about. I'll tell you I told him I won't be coming around this way you won't have anyone to pick on and when I won't be around for you to nag them they would get wise to you by now you are keeping them busy by your talking about me. Bobby started to swear that the
- 813 -
movies were being shown because Pete Herman wanted to see them so why should I go and see them you set a trap for me I had to see them the way you had it set up. Well I asked him were you satisfied, did I get nerves or what. I guess if I would had gotten nerves I won't be here is that right Bobby? Gee Joe, he said, now you blowing your top. Yes Bobby I'm blowing my top. I'm trying to tell you that I'm trying to make a living. I ain't got time to be thinking of the mob. Everyone seems to have a clear head so let's forget about it, eh?
One night Bobby Doyle stopped at the Lido Restaurant, I don't remember why he stopped over to see me but he came in on a surprise. I had heard that Vito had slapped his face because Vito had found out that Bobby Doyle was fooling around with a rich woman and the talk was all around the town. I had heard about it but I'm one guy that does not go for that kind of talk I'm not interested in that line of talk it disgusted me. He looked as though he was in a very low spirit. He asked me how I was getting along down town, of course this was a long time before I had a conversation with him. I told him that I was not getting along with anyone, of course I did not tell him about me going to Highlands in New Jersey. Maybe I said to myself that he came around to feel me out or to how I feel about everything. I told Bobby Doyle that he need not worry as I ain't getting the right time and I ain't going to die over it and I told him that he
- 814 -
Bobby done a pretty good job of lousing me up downtown so he goes on to tell me that they are afraid of me down there so I told him, Thanks to you Bobby you put that in their head. You know in your heart that I ain't interested in anything other than to make a living and mind my own business. I asked him how is he doing. He said that he is getting along but he said that he would give his right arm if we can get together again. I said, Bobby if I was in the gutter I won't come near you because you belittle me all over town and if I was with you again I won't be able to sleep so it is impossible so don't even talk about it. I ain't no bluffer you asked me a question and I gave you the right answer so that is the way it is. He said let's go out and get drunk. No Bobby, I said, if you want to get drunk get drunk in here - it be on me. No, he said, I figure that we would go down town. No sir, I said, Bobby I'm no phony you made trouble for me all my life since I got into this mob. I curse the day that I ever met you guys. He shook hands with me and he left and I did not see him for a long time. One day in the Lido a guy walked in and he looked like a bum. He walked right over to the waitress and he talked to her and then the waitress came over to me and she said that the guy is hungry so I told her to feed him. I called the waitress over after she gave him something to eat and I told her not to make any conversation with him but I did not tell her why. I did not want her to talk to him I suspect anyone
- 815 -
who comes in the Lido. I don't care who it was because I knew the agents were full of tricks. Now I said to myself if this guy asked the waitress for a job and he says that he is willing to work for nothing just so that we feed him I'm going to throw him out. After he got through eating he called the waitress and he told the waitress just what I thought. After the waitress told me that he wanted to work just for food I walked over to him and I asked him if he had enought food or did he want more. He said he had plenty so I told him to get out now as I expect a party to come in the reason why I was careful of such things was because it happened to someone else and besides I was tipped off that the guy that came in the Lido to beg for some food was an agent. I won't care if he was an agent and he worked in the Lido because we were not doing anything wrong but one would never know what a guy like him would do. He might plan something in the restaurant and then what.
Another time I was sitting at the bar with two blonds and all of a sudden someone from the other side of the bar was spitting at me. I was feeling in pretty good shape and I did not say anything the first time I wanted to make sure, Well he spit at me again. This time I made the bartender move back a little and as the bar was packed I kneeled on the stool and I put my both hands on the bar and I spit right back at him. As I did he made an attempt to run my way
- 816 -
and he put his hand in his pocket as he was running my way I grabbed a bottle from the bar and I went to greet him but he made a right about turn and he went outside of the restaurant. I followed him and I kept calling him but he kept on going. That's the kind of trouble I was starting to get in the restaurant since Solly Shields got arrested with the counterfeit money. I used to curse Solly all of the time since he brought all the heat on to me.
Another Sunday afternoon the Lido was packed in the backroom and I was getting a big kick out of it because I knew they were all agents but I did not mind because they were FBI men and their wives. They all lived only a couple of blocks away from the Lido. There was a project in the neighborhood at the Lido it was called the Parkchester project and they had wonderful rooms there and most of the people that lived there were either FBI men, firemen, or detectives because the rooms were cheap and as I said they, the rooms, were out a this world. I get a call one night in the Lido and the caller tells me on the phone that he is going to close up the Lido if its the last thing that he would do so I asked him who was calling and he said none of your business so I hung up on him.
There was an agent spying in the Lido. He used to come in a couple of times a week. I don't know what kind of an agent he was I don't know if he was an FBI man or a junk agent but he was an agent. One night I had the bar full with
- 817 -
the boys from all over the city - every now and then guys would meet in the Lido by chance and this night was one of those nights. When they saw this agent come in the Lido and he went right at the bar everyone picked up their money and they all walked out and I lost a pretty good night so I was so mad that I to walked out and I went somewhere else, I don't remember what bar I went to but whereever I went I called the Lido in a little while and the bartender told me that the agent had left. I went back to the Lido and I had a pretty bad night. If thoughts would had meant anything I hate to say what I was calling him as at this time I was doing nothing else as far as business was concerned. Well as I said he used to come in and out of the Lido. Not long after this happened the same agent came in again, this time he was drunk. There was three of the boys sitting in one of the booths right in front of the bar as soon as I saw this agent walk in and he was drunk. Gee, I said, everytime I have a good party in the joint this guy walks in and he spoiled the night. Well these three guys they kept sitting and they did not pay any attention to him. They kept ordering drinks and I was sitting in their booth everytime I had a chance. All of a sudden the agent come over to our table and he said out loud to us you are all racketeers and as he said it he falls on his face and he gets hurt on the right side of the face. One of the guys that was in the booth helped me pick up the agent and we sit him in a booth then he mumbled that he wanted to go home so we asked him how far did he live from the Lido
- 818 -
Restaurant. He said a couple of blocks away. I asked him if he had a car he said that he did not have a car so I asked him if he wanted us to take him home. He said yes but not in a car. OK I said we would walk you home so we got him on his feet and we cleaned his side of his face and we started to walk him home. I asked him in which direction did he live. He pointed towards Parkchester it was about four blocks away from the Lido Restaurant. As we were walking with him the other guy said to me he hopes that we don't get into a jam walking this guy home. I shook my head as if to say that I was thinking about the same thing. Gee as we were walking I notice the agent was carrying a gun. God if anyone would understand a gun is dangerous in any drunken man's hands so I gently took the gun out of his hands. He let go of it as gently as I took it away as we were walking along the block as he was not sure where he lived. I showed the gun to the other guy. Holy Smoke the other guy said let's get this guy home. Well he made us go from building to building and everytime we walked him in a building he would say no this is not the house. We were losing our patience, he would point at another house and he would say there is where I live. We did this for six or seven times before we got to the right house. When we were going back to the Lido I was sweating and so was the other guy even though it was winter time. We both were thinking the same thing. I asked the other guy if he thought that the agent was only acting. He said what can I tell you Joe all I know is that we were in a
- 819 -
tight spot and I did not believe that he lived in Parkchester after the way he made us go house to house and then when I saw you with the gun in your hand Gee I'm glad that we are out of this mess. The guy asked me if this was the first time that he, the agent, came in the Lido. I said no he comes in the Lido steady. He said that he was celebrating a conviction he had just gotten. I tell you the truth I told my friend this is the first time that I saw him drunk - he is nice and minds his own business when he does come in the Lido. Most of these guys that live in Parkchester stop over for a drink in the Lido before they go home but I lose a lot of trade I told my friend because he looks like a cop and whenever I got guys like ourselves that come in here they usually walk out. I expected you to walk out when he came in the joint. He said he was going to walk out but he did not want to leave me alone because the guy was so drunk. We went back to the Lido and we had lobsters and all kind of food and we stayed until closing time. A few days later the agent walked in the Lido again and he went at the bar and as soon as I got a chance I went over to him and I asked him how he felt. He said in health he felt fine but he was ashamed of himself and he said he owes me a small favor so I told him that he can do me a big favor and it is small to him so he asked me what kind of a favor did I want. I told him that he makes me lost a lot of business if he would stay out of the Lido that would be a big favor
- 820 -
to me and a very small favor to him. He said I'll tell you what I'll do I'll only come in here to eat with my wife and I'll sit in a booth and I'll be nice and quiet because we like the food in the Lido. He said we serve the best food in the Bronx without any doubt so that is the way I remain with him after this he would come with his wife, eat and then leave and I never had any trouble with him any more. He was not a bad fellow only that night that he came in drunk, other than that he behaved before that night and after that night.
Now as I come close to the time when the Gap got killed I remember something that Solly Shields had told me before he went to jail. Solly had told me that when Gene Gianani came back from Italy, he Gene had told him that the Gap had done some business in Italy with the junk agents. In other words Gene accused the Gap for being a stool pigeon. I don't know how I got the rap but Tony Bender called me down town and when I got downtown he had left word for me to go to the Vandon Hotel, it was some where in the Fifties. When I got to the Hotel Tony Bender was alone. He asked me to sit down and I did. Then he asked me if I ever heard any talk about Gap being a stool pigeon. I told Tony that I did and he asked me where did I hear it I told him that it is all over the neighborhood. He then asked me if I can remember from whom
- 821 -
did I hear it from. Well I remember when Solly was at the Lido the night before he got in trouble. I asked Solly where did this rumor start and he, Solly, told me that Gene had told him so I made it go in one ear and out the other. I forgot all about it until Tony Bender called me at the hotel. Well I talked to Tony for about two hours but I did not tell Tony anything as to where I heard it because I did like the way he, Tony, was talking. I left Tony and I went to the Lido Restaurant and I stayed there for the rest of the day and night and I was mad as hell. Vinnie comes up to the Lido that night and I was very cold and Vinnie asked me what was wrong with me and I told him nothing. I did not want to tell Vinnie anything because he was hanging out with Tony Bender. Vinnie asked me how did I make out with Tony Bender. I told him no good. I told Vinnie that I don't know if Tony Bender is my lawyer or he is a prosecutor against me. Vinnie asked me what makes me talk that way. Well I said Tony did not tell me but it looks like that someone made a beef against me accusing me of calling the Gap a rat and if I'm right it looks like Vincent Rao made the beef against me. I got to laugh I told Vinnie Solly is with the Gap and they both got the same Lt. and they are doing all the talking about the Gap. I got to say even Gene was with the Gap and Solly because Solly was partner with Gene and when Solly told me about it he, Solly, told me that Gene had told him that the
- 822 -
Gap was a rat so what do I do mind my own business because they all are in the same school, they hang out together. It looks like I ain't going to talk to anyone any more, I'm afraid to hear something. I'm starting to think that people are told to come and tell me things just so that I would get into trouble just knowing it. Vinnie left and he told me that he was going to see Tony and tell Tony how Joe feels. I said Vinnie its no use you trying to put us together it is always the same story. All Vinnie said as he left, I'll call you. So the next day Vinnie came over to the Lido and he told me that it is a different story. He said that they went to Frank Costello and Frank asked Tony to investigate. I asked who went to Frank and Vinnie said you had it right Vincent Rao. What is the story I asked Vinnie. He asked me if I talked to the Gap's wife lately. I said that I did. I came in this joint one night and I found her here but before I go into this I want to know how come Vincent Rao takes the authority of talking to Frank Costello before you go any further. I told Vinnie what Tony should do is go and see Frank and tell him that he ain't got any right listening to another guys that belong in different families and check up on me. Let Frank know how Tony feels as everyone knows that Tony and I don't get along and now is the change to let them know when they hear the way Tony feels about these complaints, people won't be so anxious to go and make complaints against me. Now you say that you want to put Tony and I together. Now let's see what he does.
- 823 -
Well Vinnie comes back the following night and he tells me that Tony has an appointment with Frank for the following morning at the Waldorf Astoria Barber Shop at about ten o'clock in the morning and Tony tells Frank that he spoke to me and that Joe, meaning me, told me that it was one of their own boys, meaning Solly Shields, that spread the rumor around that the Gap is a rat. No Frank tells Tony I don't care about who spread the rumor around its because Joe had a talk with the Gap’s wife and made her understand that her husband is a rat. OH Tony said I had the story wrong so Frank suggested that the best way to investigate is for someone to make an appointment with the Gap's wife and have Joe there and see what the wife says and then let me know and if it ain't true then I would know what to tell Vincent Rao so they sent me two witnesses and they told me that I should call up Gap's wife and make an appointment with her. So I called the Gap's wife and I told her that I wanted to see her and that there be two guys there and that she knows the both of them. She said OK. She asked me where so I asked her if it was OK in the Pelham Heath Inn. She said fine as the Pelham Heath Inn was a short distance away from where the Gap's wife lived. I made it for eight o'clock that night. Now the two witnesses were Pat Muccio and Vinnie himself, he wanted to see just what she says. When we did meet the Gap's wife in the Pelham Heath Inn and we sat at her table as she
- 824 -
was already there. Now Vinnie asked her after we were there a while did anyone make her understand that her husband became a rat. She said that she heard it and that she went to Joe's place at the Lido to find out if it was true. What did Joe tell you, She was asked. She said that Joe did not give her any satisfaction. Is that the truth she was asked. My God yes she said. Well did you see anyone else after you saw Joe she was asked. She said that when Joe did not give her the answer as what she wanted to know then she went to her coupe in Newburg, New York, as he was a good friend of my husband and of course you all know that my husband was in Newburg, New York, for a long time. Who did you see in Newburg, New York she was asked. She said Dominick, Joe knows him. I asked Dominick the same thing that I asked Joe. What did he say she was asked. He asked me whom did I see in the last couple of days so I told him that I was at Joe's place in the Bronx and I made believe that I knew something so that he would tell me something but he got mad and he said that it was not true do I thought that he forgot about it. Why, she wanted to know, did he Dominick say anything about it to anyone. Well we were not going to tell her that a beef was made against me so we told her that we are trying to check something. Now Vinnie calls me on the side and he asked me if Dominick from Newburg, New York, is one of the boys. Sure I said and he belongs to Vincent Rao so now we know who
- 825 -
made the beef. Then I said it was not Vincent Rao's fault, Vincent Rao had to act because Dominick from Newburg, New York, made the beef. Now they left and I stayed there a while and I spoke to the Gap's wife I told her you see what I mean when I saw you in the Lido and then you come back a second time, I told you that it won't look good. See how Dominick from Newburg, New York, got excited when you told him that you were in my place. They all know that I know you since we were kids. See how fast they think something wrong. That's why I told you not to come in the Lido any more. I did not know that people think evil, she said. Now I go further and I tell her for the love of God don't ask any questions of anyone any more. So she asked me if there were anything wrong what can I tell you I told her. How do you stand with Dominick I asked her. Dominick is the Gap's first name. Why don't you go to Italy. She said that is why he is mad he has been asking me to go there but I invested the money he left with me and I'm afraid I lost the money so I am scared to death that he may come here and kill me. Oh I said gee I don't know what to tell you. I asked her did she blow much. She said yes its a lot because the Gap is broke and he has been sending for money and I was not able to send it. How much did you blow I asked her. She said 75 hundred dollars. Gee I don't know what to tell you if my wife blew 75 hundred dollars I won't be mad. Well we had another drink or two and I told her that we better break it up so we left the Pelham Heath Inn. She went home
- 826 -
and I went to the Lido and that same night Vinnie called me and he told me that he saw Tony and that he would take care of everything and asked me if I felt better. I said this is the first time that I got a fair deal. Ok Vinnie said if you get a chance come down to the Gold Key. I said OK. That morning very late I took a ride to the Gold Key Club and Tony was not there and I had a wonderful time and I got out of the club about nine o'clock in the morning. That was the end of that carpet but it goes to show you that there wasn't a thing that I can get away with no matter what the thing was always making a deal out of everything. Vinnie was starting to see the light how they pick on me.
Now I get bad news from my accountant that Matty my partner in the dress shop is not paying the witholding taxes and he is behind about eight thousand dollars. He is withholding the taxes every week from the operators but is not turning it in by not turning it in I mean that he is not sending the money into the tax people. Now I get hold of him and I try to put some sense into his thick head of his. I try to tell him that the government would not do anything to him because the government knows that he, Matty, is a poor slob but he is leaving an opening for me to go to jail because my name is on the papers so I ask the accountant what shall I do. He adtised me to sell my share of the shop to Matty but I would still be a partner after all Matty charged me for the withholding taxes and he kept it so it is not my fault, so that's what I did I told the accountant I
- 827 -
got to laugh here we are two partners and one guy is a sucker and another is a wise guy who does the conniving, the sucker, and besides I have the money in the shop not only that I put all the money in the shop but I used to send Matty money for his personal use. I knew he was fooling around with the forelady but being a guy of understanding I would make believe that I did not know anything, after all I am no angel myself and besides I held a lot of respect for Matty. I always have a lot of respect for hard working men and Matty was a very hard working man. He would put his head down and push the sewing machine all day long without lifting his lead up and I met his wife and his sons and daughters, everyone of them were very respectable and very well mannered. I needed the shop so that I would have something to file my taxes. Even if I did not get any pay sometimes I would put it in the book to show that I was earning some money legitimate so the factory was a good thing for me. I tried all kind of business, although the boys had control of garment center, by that I mean that there was at least a half dozen members in the jobbing business and as I was a contractor I needed work from the jobbing people but I went to none of them for any work. My partner Matty used to get his own work and I liked nothing better than to get along without their help. I was forced to go to Johnnie Dio when the union men came around. Once I happened to be in the shop when two men came around and they said that they
- 828 -
belong to Local 25 whatever that was I did not know, but I know it had to do with the contractor in the dress business. At this time we were making play suits and Many was getting the work from a non-union jobber. All I remember is the jobber's name was Hirsch, I do not remember his first name. Matty introduced me to Mr. Hursch and he made me promise him that if the union men came in the shop we should not tell them where we were getting the work from. I told him that he should not worry I rather close the shop than tell them anything. I mention a couple of names to him that were important down at the garment center. He was shocked to hear me mention such names. He asked me how come I don't do any business with them. Well, I said, you know Matty a long time and you know that he is an honest man and he can get work because he does good work and he gets a good price from the jobbers like yourself you are giving him top price on this play suit, aren't you? He said, yes now that I met you and I see that you know what you are talking about I'll give you a nickle more on the garment maybe you may do me some good sometime. Well I told him in your own way check on me without letting anyone know why you are checking.
He said he would and when he will find out he will call me. OK I said. It wasn't long before he called and he told me that as long as he would have work we would be fir first ones to get it. Now I'll tell you what happened when the two
- 829 -
guys from Local 25 came over. I asked them if I can do anything for them.
They asked me if I belong to the union. I told them that I did not and he wanted to know if the operators were in the union. I told him that they did not belong to any union and to begin with I told him that most of the girls did not know how to speak English. He asked me how much was I getting for the garment. I told him one dollar and sixty-five cents. Gee, he said, it is a good price. Then I brought him to some of the operators and I asked them in front of the two men and they answered me in broken English how much they, the operators, were being paid for their work. When the two men heard what the operators were earning gee they said they are getting more than the union wages. In other words you are here to force me in the union regardless whether you hurt me or not. He said that he could not help it because there was a complaint. Now as my partner Matty had a permit for a gun and I knew where Matty kept it so I walked them towards where the gun was and I pulled it out and when they saw it they ran out of the factory like two deers. Matty started to laugh. I told Matty that if the union can do at least what we getting for our work and what we are giving the operators I won't mind but they can't give us what we are getting and according to his own statement we are paying the girls more than the union wages if we join the union we would lose Mr. Hirsh and we would lose the girls how do you
- 830 -
like it Matty said we would have to close the shop.
About one hour later I got a phone call from Johnnie Dio's office and the guy who called said that is the way to do it run them out of the shop. He told me that the two guys went and complained to Johnnie Dio but don't worry Johnnie would take care of them they won't be over to your shop any more and I thinked him and I never had any trouble any more. It wasn't long after this and Matty got sick and he died with that famous sickness cancer. The tax people took over the shop and they sold the machines for whatever they could get for them. They sent for me and I told them that I had sold my share of the shop to Matty some two years before he died as they can check if they wanted and they told me that they knew it but they wanted to make sure, so I lost my original investment but with all the money that I dfew from the shop in the years that I was with Matty I did not lose anything. Could had been later than what I said I really don't remember the exact year that Matty died.
Now is something that I almost forgot but I have so much on my mind and I am off the streets almost five years that I do overlook one thing or another.
The time I met Solly Shields on First Ave. when he introduced me to his wife I was with a guy from the Bronx, his name was Willie and he owned a bar somewhere in the Bronx not long after I introduced Solly to this fellow. Solly was up
- 831 -
to his place and he borrow three thousand dollars off Willie as Willie was a well-known shylocker. After Solly got arrested for the counterfeit money Willie came over to my place and he told me that he was stuck about ten thousand dollars with Solly as we were talking Pat Pagano came over at the Lido as Willie and I were talking. We remembered that Solly had mention a Dominick in France, I'm pretty sure that the name of the town in France was Marseilles. We started to scheme and we come to a conclusion that Pat will take a trip to Europe. I don't remember where Pat got the money to go to Europe but all I know is that Pat went to Europe and when he came back he said that he had met Dominick in Europe and that Dominick was a millionaire and that he Pat made very good friends with Dominick and Pat had also met Dominick's wife and in a few months Dominick's wife will be here in the United States just so that Dominick's wife can have her baby born here in America because Dominick and his wife were born here in this country before they went to France and they wanted their kid to be a citizen of this country. A few months after Solly went to jail Dominick's wife came here in this country and she got in touch with Pat as Pat had left his phone number to Dominick. Pat called me and he told me that Dominick's wife was here for a moment I had forgotten all about it. I asked Pat what Dominick and he reminded me that it
- 832 -
was the guy's wife that he met in France. Oh I said go and see her I said.
Pat said that he had an appointment to meet her that night in mid-town some where, I don't remember. Pat calls me the next day and I meet him and he tells me that Dominick's wife wants eight thousand dollars. Pat asked me what shall we do now. So I told Pat just let me think. I had to think. What I was thinking was that there is a law passed in 1948 that none of Frank Costello's boys are supposed to fool around with junk. I was thinking about going and see Tony because that is my only chance because I knew that it will be hard to sneak. Pat don't understand so I had to do the thinking - now I was thinking if I go and see Tony Bender and if Tony should refuse then I'm stuck I'll be stuck because if Tony should refuse he would tell me to forget all about it and I can't take the chance because of Pat he don't understand and if they should question Pat I'll be hurt and I won't ever know where it come from so I thought it best if I go and see Tony, if Tony Bender is involved then I won't mind, in other words Tony would have to stand by me so I go to Tony Bender's house in Fort Lee, New Jersey. I tell Tony that I got a proposition and I need at least nine thousand dollars and I tell him that I got others involved with me and he asked me who so I tell him that Pat Pagano is one of the guys and he Tony asked me if I had any outsiders in on it. I told him no I did not want to tell him
- 833 -
about Willie as Tony won't know Willie anyway. I figures that I would take care of Willie because I felt sorry for Willie because I felt that I made Solly meet Willie. Tony gives me the money and he tells me that we go fifty-fifty with the deal. He tells me that I'll take care of my guys and he would take care of his guys whoever he had. He told me that he would let Pat Muccio take care of everything. I was glad because I did not want to handle it. I see Pat and I give him the eight thousand dollars and a few hundred dollars so that he can entertain Dominick's wife. I knew she must be high class because of her husband being a millionaire. I see Pat the next day andhe tells me that he met her and that he was with her all night as she wants him to keep her company until she 50es to the hospital and have her baby. I tell Pat that it was a good thing that I used my head and I was keeping the extra money because I figured that Pat would have to entertain Dominick's wife so I tell Pat to meet her as much as he can. Pat could not understand why Dominick wanted us to give his wife the eight thousand dollars. I tell Pat I could understand why. He Pat asked me what did I think I told him that Dominick figures that when he is got eight thousand dollars in his hand the stuff that he would send over would be paid.
How much do you think that the stuff would cost Dominick. You know I tell Pat Dominick makes his own stuff it probably cost him less than five hundred dollars
- 834 -
a kilo-for the benefit of someone who won't know what a kilo is I'll tell you it is thirty-five ounces of junk. Well I'm staying in the Lido and Pat is entertaining Dominick'w wife. Now I don't know if Dominick's wife was still here when fifteen kilo arrived here. Now it cost one thousand dollars a kilo to get it off the boat but the seaman gets it off the boat but the seaman gets it off the boat and he waits for his money. I had nothing to do with any of this doings, Pat Muccio had all this responsibility now when it is off the boat and the stuff is safe in Pat Muccio's hands Tony Bender sends for me and he tells me that he put in nine guys so that they can make some money. Gee I remained dumbfounded. I said to myself that Tony is taking advantage because he knows that I know that we ain't supposdd to fool aroun d with any junk. Well I could not say anything but I thought it was funny that Tony was so nice in the beginning now that the stuff got here safe he laid out the law. I did not know how I was going to tell Pat I knew well enough that Pat won't understand.
Well I did not say anything as I figured that I would talk to Tony later but when I did talk to him he just did not want to do anything about it there is no sense putting down the nine names on the record because I found out no one got anything except Tony Bender and Vito Genovese of course. I was thrown a piece of bone. I was going to pull out the balance of the money that Dominick had coming - it would had amounted to $29,500 but if I paid Dominick I would
- 835 -
have to continue to do business but I had no intention to do any more business so I talk to Pat. I sit Pat down and I tell him what Tony had told me about the nine partners. He got awful mad. I told him the best thing to do is don't pay Dominick and we quit. He said the guys is got my, his, phone number. I told him why worry about the phone number when I am explaining to you what it is all about as Pat was not a member yet at this time I tried to tell him that I can't say much because we are not allowed to fool around with junk that is why I am explaining everything to you. All I see, Pat said, that they treat guys like dogs. Well I can't say too much to Pat as these guys are like the weather I understand the move but I don't want to tell Pat the move is to let me look bad so that Tony will steal Pat. That is the way they work but a young boy like Pat can't see it. On top of it all, Tony calls me again and he tells me that Vito Genovese owes Frank Costello twenty thousand dollars that Vito had borrowed from Frank Costello when Vito came back from Italy and Vito ain't doing any too good, Tony said. I just look at Tony and I told him give me some money for Pat and I don't want anything. Well Tony said I'll tell you what I'll do I'll pay it I will take the money from the other guys. Well I had to be careful as to what I will say now. Pat Muccio comes over and he said that they were all through they had enought stuff left to cover my share What do you want
- 836 -
Pat Muccio told me the cash or the goods. I told him that I'll let you know so I talk to Pat Pagano and I asked him what shall I do because Fiore and Joe Pagano were bothering us for some stuff. So Pat said if we take the cash then we would have to give my brother and your nephew some money and then for real we won't get anything so the best thing to do is get the stuff and we would give it to the kids at cost price and we would tell them that we are giving them the stuff at cost price so that they can make some money for themselves. Gee that is a good idea I said so I call Pat Muccio and I tell him that I want to see him and when I did see Pat Muccio I tell him to give the stuff to Fiore and Joe Pagano. Not realizing that Fiore and Joe were in a jam because they owed money to the connection from whom they got the hundred thousand dollars counterfeit money that they gave Solly Shields. Pat Pagano finds out that Fiore and Joe Pagano are paying off the money that they owed for the counterfeit money. I call Fiore Siano and Joe Pagano and I asked them if they are paying off with our money and they said that they are paying off with their own money so I tell them you ain't paying us why are you paying them guys first so they said the guys want to put them on the carpet because they found out that we got stuff you know how it is right away they find out because they are giving the stuff to the guys in Harlem and word gets around. Well I be a son of a gun I said I could had got all cash for the stuff I give it to you guys so that you can make
- 837 -
some money now I got to worry about getting our money. Don't worry Joe said you would get every dime. On top of it all I'm told that Vito wants to see me there is an appointment made for me in Yonkers at Dom the Sailor's house so I take Fiore along with me so that he can hear what it is all about. I get the address of Dom the Sailor's house and I go there at the time that I am supposed to be there and there is Vito Genovese and Dom the Sailor and I introduce Fiore for the first time to Vito Genovese. I don't remember if Fiore knew Dom the Sailor or not remember Fiore Pat and Joe had worked on the Gene affair but they were not members yet. Vito talked very nice. He asked me if I had made a junk deal. I said, yes, and he, Vito, said did you know that you ain't supposed to fool around with junk. I said that I did so he said OK don't let it happen again. I said, I won't and he said OK you can go now. So I tell Fiore OK did you hear with your own ears he said he did but I don't tell Fiore that Vito hot his end of the deal and from the looks of things if Tony gave him the right count he got plenty but I dare not tell anyone now here is the way I found out that no one else got anything. I asked Pat Muccio how did he make out. Hey Joe, he said, if I tell you and he stopped I said what is the matter and he said you asked me how did I make out I said yes then he said who did all the work. I told him that he did then he said if you promise that you
- 838 -
won't say anything I'll tell you so. I swear to my kid that I won't say anything.
Then he tells me that he did not get a dime. He tells me that Tony Bender was taking all the money as it was coming in and when the end came and I told him that there was no more stuff and that I had given the last two kilos to you I asked him if I can get some money do you know what he told me. I did not answer then he said, Tony told me that he gave Vito all the money. I just walked away and I said don't worry I ain't like you guys you can tell me something and I forget about it but I can't tell you guys anything because you run like a deer the way you went and tell Tony Bender that I was bothering you for money. He said that he did not. I said don't lie Vinnie told you in my presence that you did. Tony was going to call me, he did not call me because Vinnie stopped him. You heard Vinnie tell you up at Champ Segal Hotel house, why lie. He did not say anything and he walked away looking worried because he had bought a house and he depended on this money to pay for it. I go and see Tony Bender and I tell him that Vito called me and I told him what Vito told me and he said that is the act I know he called you so don't worry about it. If you have another deal see what happened Tony I told him there be no other deal I had enough. Now if I could trust Pat. Pagano I would had asked for the money that we owed Dominick but I can't trust these kind of guys because
- 839 -
they are always looking to get close to the Boss, especially that Pat Pagano met Tony a couple of times and here is the way Pat Pagano would talk. Hey Joe I think that Tony Bender likes me - if he only knew how disgusting he sounded he would had not said it twice as I am on this story I might as well finish it now as I must tell you that I met Pat Pagano in Atlanta in 1960 and he was kind of cold so I was twice as cold. He ain't nothing to me. I took him off the streets and I at least put him in a position to meet some people. He was a bum from the neighborhood and the best that would had happened to him would had been that he would had gotten his head broken because he was a cockey boy. One day in Atlanta he told me that all he knows that he made a deal with me and he got the worst of things. I told him the old man is here do you want to talk about it now you are a member you can talk. He said no he did not want to talk about it. I asked him why he did not answer me. I said, hey Pat you know what you are doing you are taking it out on the weak guys like you one can buy them a dime a dozen. He said how do you make that out. I'll tell you I said now you are in a position to know right and wrong you know that I did not have much to say. The guy that gave us a bad deal was Tony and all I hear you see, Gee I think that Tony likes me. Then he said again all I know is that I done business with you. Yes I know, I said, but you just don't want to hear anything do you think that I need you for anything. As soon as you
- 840 -
guys get in the mob I forget you because I know that you are going to see who is important and that is the guy you are going to try and make friendship with.
I'm trying to tell you if I make a beef that is what they were looking for I can't tell you anything because you are big shot crazy. I can see you how you act in here you get all excited when you see Frank Costello. Go ahead take a walk I told him I went through a lot of guys like you, I'm used to it. I said I want to ask you one more question, how much did the kids pay us for the stuff, they were supposed to give us twenty thousand dollars, how much did they give us Pat said about fifty-three hundred dollars. I said what was their balance he said fourteen thousand seven hundred dollars. I said is that right. He said yes.
How come you not mad at them. He did not say anything you see what I mean Pat over here you see Frank Costello and Vito act cold with me and what do you do kick a guy when he is down you see what I mean. Now don't you? The other day you were talking to me and Frank passed and what did you do, leave me flat and you ran to him and here you are trying to impress me. I'll tell you again guys like you can be bought for a dime. Why don't you want to talk to the old man about it, don't you think he the old man did not notice it that you are acting cold, let's go and tell him why you are acting cold he knows all about the deal you know what I told him. If I cared I will go and tell the old man but as I said who care
- 841 -
how you feel I'll tell you again you ain't nothing. He said, Joe I'm sorry that you got 15 years. I'll tell you what I told him I don't care do you know why because I'm tired of living out in the outside world with guys like you, Fiore, Joe and yourself. Again I tell you, now let me go about my business and do my time and we broke it up and I never spoke to him again. I want to explain why I had no respect for Pat or Joe his brother. Fiore I give to the Indiana.
You can see how much heartache all three of them gave me. Before I tell you a little more about these three guys let me tell you how much money Tony Bender and Vito Genovese made on that junk deal. They made clear $91,500.
Now I must say that I am surprised why did they not kill me after the deal. I want the boys to know why they the bosses, especially Vito, enforced the mob law that the soldiers cannot sell junk just put your boss in on it and you can sell all the junk you want and if your boss calls you after you made money for him and he gives you a bawling out, pay no attention to him because he is only letting you know that it was a privilege for you. Now I'll tell you why I had no respect for the three kids. In my time we had respect for the one who vouched for us at all times but the kids of today look to advance themselves at any cost.
After I lost all that money with Joe Pagano and his partner Fiore, Joey brings any deals that he gets to Tommy Rye. I'm not mad because he brings the deals to Tommy Rye but the way they walk the chalk line. When I was on the lam and
- 842 -
I gave Joie my keys to my juke boxes to take care of them for me he was stealing from one hundred and fifty dollars a week to two hundred dollars a week it was not enough what he stole on the junk deal, the crap game, and money that they borrowed from me personally, and then testify against me in the underworld trial that Vito Genovese had Tommy investigate for him while he Vito Genovese was in Atlanta. I know what went on because Frank Costello told me in Atlanta he, Frank, had told me that Vito was madeat me because he got a bad report about me from the outside. He Frank tells me that Fiore worked for me on the outside. I told Frank that it was a lie and I ran right over to Vito and I told him what is this that I hear that Fiore worked for me.
He Vito said I don't know that is what Frank is trying to tell me. Well I'll be I said. Who can keep up with these guys. Frank tells me something that Vito said and then Vito tells me that Frank said it, that was enough for me. I said to myself that this guy have everything going fine on the outside and they have nothing else to do but agitate. I'll tell nore later on.
Around the end of 1953 Tony Bender sends for me and he tells me that the State Liquor Authorities are being bothered by the junk agents. They advised Tony that I should sell the Lido Restaurant but we have nothing to worry about as I will be alright as long as they whoever it was that Tony had on the
- 843 -
A. B. C. Board would be there Tony had very good connection on the A. B. C. Board but I never took time out to find out who they were as I was not interested just as long as he kept me open, that was all that mattered. Now I get word from Tony Bender that the Gap is in town as he came here from Italy and while he was in Italy he the Gap got arrested for passing counterfeit money in Italy and that the Gap had made a deal with the boss agent. He Tony sent word to me that he came in on one of the Italian boats and he the boss agent Siragusa and how did Tony know - well one of the Italian mob boys came in on the same boat as they did and as the boat landed everyone got off the boat at the same time. The Italian mob guy was put on the boat in Italy just so that he would come here and he would warn the mob about it. Now Tony said that I must be careful because the Gap made a deal in Italy with the agents that he is going to set up Vinnie, Pat Muccio and myself. Tony said that the Gap is sure to be in my place and when he does come he would tell me that he the Gap jumped the boat but I should not believe him and I should be careful that he may have a minature tape recorder on his person. After I was told all this about the Gap one thing for sure that I was making up my mind no matter how the Gap was out to set me up I was not going to have a hand in having anything to do as far as I getting the Gap. Now I remember how they gave me a hard time in the Gene affair. In other words I did not want to do anything anymore.
- 844 -
I also remembered how they gave me the rap for calling the Gap a rat about a year before this information came to me.
The Gap did not make an appearance in my place until three weeks after I got the warning. One night as I was sitting at the bar a guy opened the door of the Lido Restaurant and he shouted if Joe is here. I said, Yes here I am - with that he called outside and he told the people outside Joe is here. The Gap walks in and there was four more guys with him all cock-eyed drunk. The Gap comes over to me and he kissed me. I asked him how come you are here and how come you are walking around so freely. He said that he just come in and that he was twenty-seven days in a hatch of the ship. He said he ran away from Italy. I asked him about his wife and he did not answer me he just kept on talking about the hard time that he had on the boat and he said that he just came down from Tommy Milos joint in Yonkers and that Tommy had gave him five hundred dollars so I told him that I had no money but in a few days I would have some for him. Now he tells me that we are going to get rich. I asked how. He said I must call Vinnie and Pat Muccio in face he said call them now. I told him that I did not bother with Vinnie or Pat. He told me I must get them. I said I don't know where to get them. Well he said I'll be here Thursday night make sure they are here. I asked him what do you want with them. He said we are going to get rich. I asked who is going to get rich
- 845 -
He said all four of us. What doing I asked. He said that he has fifty thousand dollars worth of base. I asked him what is base. He said you are with those guys and you don't know what base is. Is aid I am not with those guys. He said that's right they are with Tony Bender but I want you in on this he said.
Gap, I told him, are you aware that we cannot fool around with junk. He said since when you worry about what you ain't supposed to do. I said Gap things changed around here since you were deported to Italy. Yes, he said, so I heard. Then he hesitate and he said in a very low voice that he and I are going to Cuba. I opened his coat and I said, Gee you lost weight. I meant his jacket I saw no sign of a taperecorder so I whispered go to Cuba tonight but he was so drunk that it went over his head. While all this was going on we were drinkly freely and I was not letting anyone pay. By base he meant the stuff that makes the junk and one must be an expert to do it and I really did not know anything about it but what I was thinking was that they are out to give us ninety-nine years as making junk in this country is a very serious rap that is why hardly makes it in this country and that is why they get it here from Europe. Now the Gap asked me for Frank Luciano's phone number or his address. I asked him why he wanted it. He said that he wanted to kill him. What did he do I asked. He said he clipped my wife for some money he told her that he had a connection
- 846 -
to get me back in this country. Gee Gap, I said, I swear I don't have his phone or address, but I did. He said that he will get him. I'm trying to get him to talk about his wife but he would not talk about her so I figured that he must know that I was on the carpet for calling him a rat a year before. I said to myself I'm not going home until day light as I knew that it won't be long before they get him. Well everything points just the way I warned I was told that he was out to set up Vinnie, Pat and I and that is what he kept talking about now. I know I got the right tip. Well I was trying to help him as I owed him a favor as he saved me when he brought me to Brooklyn in 1931 and kept me out of Harlem all that day but he gives me no choice and besides I give him a hint and he is too drunk to catch it. The other guys were to themselves while all this was going on. Now I asked the Gap if he ever sent me a letter from Italy as one day about six months before the Gap came here a guy came in the Lido and he brought me a letter telling me that he hadjust arrived from Italy and that the Gap wanted me to do business with him and that the letter would verify it.
The Gap said that he did not send anyone with a letter, in fact he the Gap said that he was in jail in Italy six months ago. So I was right I told the Gap he asked me what was I talking about so I told him about six months ago an agent walked in here and he was Italian and he told me that he had just left you in Italy and
- 847 -
that the letter said that you wanted me to do business with him but I refused to let him read me the letter and I threw him out of the joint. The Gap said good for you as I did not send anyone to you. So I waited and hoped that the guy would come back but he never did. Well now the Gap leaves and he tells me that he would be back Thursday and I should make sure that I have Vinnie and Pat over here in the Lido. I said OK. After the Gap left I made a call as I was to call while the Gap was in the place but as I said that I did not want any part of this affair and in fact I don't want any part of any affair after the experience I had in Highlands in Jersey. When I did make the call here is what I said, Tony the Gap was here, and Tony asked me if he the Gap was still there. I said no then I told him that the reason why I'm calling you now that he left is because I don't want any part of it. He asked me where did he go. I said I did not know and I told him that it is not our affair and I don't want to get into any trouble butting in other peoples business. He said that he did not blame me. Well he said how does it look to you. I said the information is right. Of course I did not call from the Lido. The next night I was told that if I get a chance I should stop at the Del Rip up in Yonkers as it was opened all hours of the night. I went up there late when I got in the place Tommy Milo called me over to his table and there was a couple of the boys there and
- 848 -
Tommy asked me if the Gap came in my place last night. I said he did and Tommy told me that he left the Del Rio and that he was headed for you joint. I said yes he told me and he also told me that you gave him five hundred dollars. Tommy said yes that is why I sent for you. Well I said what's on your mind. Tommy wanted to know if it true what he heard. I said Tommy if you want to know anything please get in touch with down town I don't want to be involved in anything any more I'm just fed up with everything and I ain't interested in anything. Everytime we opened our mouths it is a carpet. It looks as though they want to think for you too. Tommy said Joe I like the Gap and I know you were brought up with him and I was hoping that it is not true. Now if you were told anything save me a trip from going down town. OK I'll tell you just what I was told. OK he said I know if you tell me it would be solid that's why I want to hear it from you. Yes Tommy I was told so be careful I don't want my name kicked around. Tommy felt bad. I had a drink or two and I left I went back to the Lido. Now when Thursday came around I did not go to the Lido. I called during the night and the bartender told me that the Gap called and he wanted to know if I'm coming in. I told the bartender that's why I called to tell you that I won't be in the Lido tonight I'm all tied up down town so if he calls again tell him that I won't be there tonight. I stayed out of the Lido all night I did not want to make too many calls as the bartender was Irish.
- 849 -
I had put him to work because he was an honest man and he had his own following.
About three days or four, I don't remember just when, I was home and about four-thirty in the morning two detectives come over to my house and they were surprised to find me home they came in my room and they asked me what are you doing in the house. I told them that I was sleeping. They said to me you are sleeping and the Gap just got killed so I asked what am I supposed to do. Well one of them told me that they are going to take me in. OK I said do you want me to dress. No he said I'm just thinking I don't know why the junk agents want us to pick you, Vinnie and Patty Muccio up. They said that you three guys knocked the Gap off. We rush over here thinking that we not going to fine you home and here you are. Your wife said that you came in about three o'clock in the morning and the Gap got killed at ten minutes to four. One of these detectives I know so I asked him again if he wanted me to dress up. He said no get Vinnie and Patty and yourself and you call me at the police station and I would let you know if I want you and the other two guys to come in. Let me ask you something I told the detective who told you to pick up up. He said the agents. Gee I said they really use you guys as bobs. He said what do you mean. I said the agents make all the trouble and they they want you to make an arrest.
- 850 -
In the meantime I had asked my wife to make a cop of coffee so we sit by ourselves and I tell the detectives that the agents brought the Gap in from Italy and he is supposed to set me, Vinnie and Patty up. The underworld gets a tip from they own kins I mean other agents tip off the Mob. Now things don't go right for them and they come and tell you to lock up the three guys that they the agents were looking to frame and you guys like suckers rush over here thinking I was not home and if I was not home you sure would had thought that I was killing the Gap but you find me home and you are stuck. One of them said to me Joe if what you telling me is true I would tell it to my boss and I'm sure that my boss would pick up no one. Now if you make me do a thing like that and then it ain't true you and I would be bad friends. OK I said if you think that I am bulling you then you take me in I am so sure I'll even tell you what agent brought the Gap in and you would find out that the Gap did not jump any boat he came in with the boss agent, his name is Siragusa and when you check you would see that I am telling you the truth. Now the detective asked me if the Gap was in my place about four or five days ago. Yes I said I was waiting for you to ask me that question. See I said how they know that he was in my place you know why they know because they the agents sent him in now it kickback on them and they are sore at me. It is too bad they work so hard trying to frame us and when it don't
- 851 -
work out they blow their top. In other words the detective told me you know or expected the Gap to come in your place. I said sure I did the Gap is here three weeks. All they do, I mean the agents get someone killed and then they come running to you guys and let you think that they know everything OK the detective told me you have those guys ready and you call me at four o'clock this afternoon if the Boss wants you in you come in if he believes this story then he won't want you in OK I'll call you at four o'clock. That afternoon I had the other two guys ready and I called at the police station when the detective got on the phone he said don't bother coming in he said that he would see me at the Lido at about eight o'clock that night so that night he came to the Lido and he told me that when his boss heard the story he got mad and he ain't going to call in no one. He said the police department did not know that he the Gap was in the United States. The detective told me that he is going to check on everything and when he finds out he would come and let me know. He said I hope your story checks OK I said you will see. In about a week the detective comes back in the Lido and he tells me he found out that it happened just the way I told him. Gee he said where did you guys get the information. I said I told you the tip came from others in Italy and the boys there in Italy sent a man here to put the mob wise. Am I right that the Gap was here a couple of weeks not the way the agents said a couple of days. Yes you are right and besides you made me look good in
- 852 -
from of my boss. My boss said to me where did you get that information. I told him that I have friends too so the boss told him well whoever this friend is he certainly knows what he is talking about. The detective got up and he thanked me and he left. Now I find out that when the Gap came in and he went home his wife jumped out of the window when she heard that it was her husband knocking on the door. Then I heard that he caught up with her and he gave her such a beating and force out of her if it true that I had called him a rat so I was right in not going home until it was daylight. He must had wanted to get me alone in his car. I suppose but I was kind of hip as long as he was around I kept going home nine or ten o'clock in the morning and sometimes I did not go home at all. Especially when I heard that he was going in a certain game in the Bronx that was operating at that time - it was a card game that was in the heart of Forham and it was in this game that he spent his last hours and in fact he won about one thousand three hundred dollars that morning that he died one of the guys that was in the place that night told me that the boss of the bar took all the money out of the Gap pockets and he put it all in a drawer behind the bar when the cops came as they searched all over the place and when it was all over and they took the Gap away the boss of the bar went to look for the money and it was all gone so he blamed the cops for taking the money as the cops themselves
- 853 -
heard that the Gap had made a win just before the guy walked in the bar he knew the follows that killed him because as I was told as soon as the Gap saw them come in the place he the Gap ran in the backroom and there is where the cops found him. He the Gap tried to get out of the bar but the windows had bars so he was stuck. The Gap was killed in Maurullo Bar. It was somewhere in the Forham section of the Bronx near Third Ave. around 187 Street somewhere.
I never was in the bar. Mauriello lost his license because of the killing. After everything quited down one of the guys came over to the Lido he was the guy that spent his last few hours with the Gap. I could tell you his name but I must protect him as he is just a guy that hangs around. I asked him to describe to me just what happened. To begin with he said just ten minutes before they the killers came in the bar Gap was talking to himself. I asked him what was he the Gap saying. He said the Gap was saying that he tried to get you all of Thursday night but you were not in the bar. I told him to go on and try to remember everything so he tells me that the Gap realized that you were trying to tell him something. He said that you told him to go to Cuba the night he was in your joint. That is right I told him. Now I feel better I know I tried but he was so drunk that he did not hear a thing that I was trying to tell him. Yes he said the Gap said it to me what made him come in your joint drunk. I tell the guy can you understand it. Then the guy tells me that the Gap's last words
- 854 -
were that the Gap told him you know what we are going to Cuba as he the Gap mentions Cuba a car pulled up and we saw it through the windows Gap recognized them and he the Gap ran in the backroom but they saw him run in the backroom and there is where they got him. I asked was there a lot of guys in the joint. He said the bar was full but most of the guys ran out of the joint but I stayed there he said hoping the Gap had a chance but he was in bad shape to tell you the truth he said his brains were shot out of hie head. I said yes I know the cops told me the same thing and that is the story about the Gap.
Now all there is left for me to do is stay in the Lido and I started to drink heavy every night. I find out that the agents are mad at me because they think that I killed the Gap but that did not bother me as the police knew different. They the police knew that they found me home that night so I did not care what the agents thought.
One night a garbage dealer came in the joint and as I knew him since we were kids. He tells me that he paid Jimmy Squllanti, alias Jerome, twenty-seven hundred dollars, nine hundred dollars a truck. He tells me that Jimmy collected two hundred and seventy thousand dollars from all of the bosses of the garbage business. I told him that I would check and when I did check this is what I found out. Sqillanti obtained from private truckers a nine hundred dollars
contribution from each which was put into a fund to obtain a private franchise so that private truckers could dispose of the garbage in the New York area. Squillanti was unable to obtain the franchise but collected from the truckers approximately two hundred and seventy thousand dollars which was turned over to Albert Anastasia. The money was not returned to the truckers after the franchise was not obtained and Albert kept all the money and he did not give Squillanti a penny so I told this guy to forget all about the money as a friend because Albert was a bad actor. I said to myself now I know why Albert Anastasia made Squillanti his god child. I will tell you some more about Squillanti later on, but right after this deal Squillanti and about seventeen others were put into the mob. Some of these guys also paid to get in the mob. During the years, 1953 and 1954 Frank Scalice, alias "Cheeck," who was Albert Anastasia's underboss, began making button men or soldiers out of a great number of Italians in New York. He made many of these soldiers in the Forham Section of the Bronx, as well as the 106 Street mob under Vincent Squillanti, alias Jimmy Jerome. Scalice took many sums of money by making himself partner with these individuals and actually never returning their share of the operation. In many instances he obtained sums in the amount of forty thousand to fifty thousand dollars from these individuals to make them mob members.
- 856 -
They were brought in solely for the money making abilities, The older element of the Cosa Nostra were displeased with these new men and felt they were not qualified and were misfits by the old rules. This was around the time that talk was getting around that this thing of ours is going to the dogs. One day I was in Forham and I met Frank Scalice and I was talking around the bush I was afraid to talk right to the point. I asked Frank Scalice what is this all about making all these guys members. I was trying to tell him in a round-about way that most of these guys are outcast. He said Joe when are you going to wake up these are not the old days, people want to be important so we make them important, do you understand. Yes I understand I said but these are the guys that make all the trouble. Now I explain to Frank that these guys have been looking up to guys like myself is that right. He said yes Joe don't worry about them as I told them all that if they don't walk the chalk line that I'm going to slap them right in the face in front of everyone. OK Frank I told him you ought to know what you are doing. What can I tell you then me made me understand that this was not all his doings remember Albert is got a very bad habit he likes to play the horses. What can I tell you. I see I told him I knew Frank from the old days when I used to be with Managano. I could afford to have a few words with Frank Scalice. Well that was enough for me I figures that I would mind my own business from hereon. I left Forham and I went to the Lido.
- 857 -
Now I was starting to hear the same old talk that there is going to be trouble. Things did not look so good as it was around this time that Vito Genovese sent word to us guys to stay away from Albert's men. They told us that we shall not do any kind of business with Albert men. I knew quite a few of Albert's men in fact I knew all the boys in Forham. I did not stay away from them I stayed away only from the new ones most of them were coming over to the Lido but we would never talk about anything. Now my friend Vinnie comes and see me one night in the Lido not long after I had a talk with Frank Scalice, I'll say a few days later, he seated me down and he tells me that everyone is making new men so I tell him so what and he goes on to tell me that Tony Bender wants to put in the boys that you have because they have a couple of more down town so they want to put them in all together. I tried to explain to him that I am not ready with these guys. I told him that you don't know what I am putting up with these guys. I said I would like to leave them alone for a couple of years yet he said they would close the books in a few months. I tell him let me worry about it. Well ke kept insisting by closing the books he meant that they may close them for another twenty years as before this the books were closed for twenty three years. I suppose I must explain what I mean by books closed and opened when the books as they use the expression are opened it means that they
- 858 -
are making new members and when they closed it means that no one can make any new members unless he goes out of town and lives there for six months and then he gets himself transferred back in New York, this is done because the rules of the books in New York City does not conform to the rules of other cities. Well I tell Vinnie as long as you insist and you think you can control them go ahead and make them members. Joe Pagano was in jail at this time so all he can bring down town was Pat and Fiore. Vinnie asked me if I care to be there when he brings them down town. I told him that I did not care to go. Vinnie was new himself I'll say that he was in no more than a few days because Tony made it a special case and he had Vinnie made all by himself. Right then I made up my mind that I am used to being alone so it is best this way. I'll stay to myself and I'll stay away from them all. I can see already Vinnie is trying to tell me what it is all about. Now I find out that they put in the mob a couple of hundred new men all over the city. Most of the old timers were talking to themselves for these kind of men that were being introduced here and there. Fiore came over to the Lido one night and he told me that Joe Rao was mumbling in the after-hour joint that the only guy that made real good men was Joe Cargo once he breaks them in you can bet they are good men. Well Joe I'm sorry I ain't a good man any more I have had it for thirty years they have
- 859 -
been agitating against me. I could not hold a friend because of their agitating. How do I know, I'll tell you, for instance someone from Harlem or the Bronx would meet Tony Bender it could be anywhere in a cabaret or at his house. He Tony would make it his business to bring up my name or the wife's name. He would say something against either of us. He Tony did not know that some of the guys or their wives would tell me or the wife. Naturally we would keep our mouth shut but I did not hesitate to tell the party that we felt the same way about him. This is the way they would express themselves. Gee that ain't fair for Tony to talk that way I don't blame you that you don't go down town he is got a lot of nerve expressing himself about one of his boys. Sometimes I would ask how did his wife Edna react the party would tell me that Edna would tall him to shut up. I figured that she would because Edna was very well educated. Well I dare not tell Vinnie of these stories that we were hearing about how Tony would talk about us because he thought that he knew it all because he Tony would talk good about me in front of Vinnie. Everytime Vinnie would try and bring me over to Tony's house I would duck the issue but one Sunday night Vinnie managed to bring me to Tony Bender's house but along I would never go there with the wife and Edna will tell me why don't I bring the wife over sometime. I would say yes I would sometime but it dod not happen - not ever. As I was sitting in the lawn a couple
- 860 -
walked in and Tony introduced me to the couple I knew both of them the guy's wife I knew from the Rainbow Garden, the dance hall that I talked about in the early part of this story. I made believe that I did not know the wife but Vinnie caught us talking as she the guy's wife was thanking me for not mentioning that I knew her but I told her I ain't that kind of a guy. The idea was that Tony thought who the heck he was associating with but both the guy and his wife were fine people and when the guy started to talk to me Tony said, Gee I did not know that you knew Joe. The guy told Tony that he knew me a long time who don't know Joe up in Harlem so I would give a faint smile. After we left Vinnie and I he Vinnie asked me if I knew the guy's wife I said I did and he asked me where did I know her from. I told him that I did not remember and he laughed. Vinnie came from the Bronx but no one knew him he was not brought up in any special neighborhood. I don't know where Gene met him but it was Gene that brought Vinnie around in Harlem that is how I met Vinnie he was a nice kid until he met Tony Bender then he got to be just like Tony that was the time that I took off on him. I used to tell Vinnie some old stories but Tony did not like it when I would tell Vinnie the facts of our life. Tony wanted to keep Vinnie dumb so that he can tell him what a great guy he was. Vinnie did not want to listen to me when I used to tell him that Vito Genovese made Tony what he is and it would be Vito Genovese who would take him down anytime he wants to. Now Vinnie
- 861 -
comes and see me in the Lido Restaurant and he tells me that I was right about these guys. I asked him what did he mean. He said that their word ain't worth a dime. He told me that I should keep them out of the joint especially Fiore he said he is the hottest thing around. I know I said the cops told me but not Pat because Pat went to work and he would take over the union pretty soon. Vinnie asked me what union. I said his cousin's union I meant Local 59 but I don't know what it is all about as I said I never did bother with any union. I told Vinnie not Pat Pagano is a big guy no one would be able to hold him he Pat was looking for me to give him fifty dollars a week out of the Lido. See guys put men in the job just so that they can make money with them the guys that I get want to make money on me. Now they think that they done me a favor by them getting in the mob you see what I mean I told Vinnie now I'll be a bad guy because I did not put him in on the pay roll from the Lido, he don't know that I am paying Tommy Milo two hundred and fifty dollars a week because I borrowed seven thousand dollars from Tommy to buy the house in Yonkers and when I borrowed it the kids were with me and they asked Tommy for a thousand dollars loan because it was near Christmas as Tommy did not know them. He Tommy asked me if it was OK well I was put on the spot and I Ok it. Now Joe Pagano went to jail do you think that Fiore will pay it in order to get any money out of these guys, especially Fiore one has to be mean and search
- 862 -
them everytime I meet them I am paying my loan and their loan to. Hey Joe Pagano do you remember all these things. Of course you do you remember the $14,700 from the junk Pat and I gave you. You remember the crap game at 144 Street at Second Ave. with Joe Lanza, of course you do. You remember the seven hundred dollars that you bet on a horse and the horse lost but you never paid me the seven hundred dollars and you remember the numbers how much did you make me lost you remember the thousand dollars that I gave you to put a jukebox in your club after you came out of jail. Tell me Joe you remember the tab you had at the Lido before you went to jail - it was over fifteen hundred dollars. Joe I can't remember how much more. Oh yes I forgot how much did you take from the jukeboxes in 1959 for about six months you and Dom took two hundred a week and you broke my family. Then you wonder why I got mad when you had a chance to make some money you bring it to other people and you robbed Millie out of the few dollars that she had you think you are going to have any luck. Yes maybe for a little while but not for long you and that other mutt you see if hard luck didn't hit the other mutt already I know what both of you did to me Joe they use you guys to get at me guys that I picked off the street so you are a very sensitive fellow when someone yells at you the way I did well let me get away with all the thousands that you got away with and you can yell at me all daylong. Vinnie thought that he could had got you guys for
- 863 -
himself and Tony Bender but I knew that he was wrong because I told Vinnie that Vito Genovese was bigger than Tony Bender and knowing you and your brother I knew just as soon as Vito would put his eyes on you guys you would dump Tony Bender and run on Vito's side. I was going to laugh at your brother Pat in Atlanta do you know what Vito told your brother Pat in Atlanta, he told him that he Vito Genovese ordered Joe DeMaraco's death because of you Pat told it to me he said like a little boy that Vito got rid of Joe DeMarco because he Joe DeMarco gave Joe Pagano an argument. I'll bet you got to laugh yourself, eh Joe? You know different Joe don't you remember how Vito gave it to Tony Bender and I or did you cross me and lie behind my back. You know what Iam talking about don't you Joe the time when Joe DeMarco came in the club 115 Street and he wanted to shoot you and I stepped in and I chased Joe DeMarco out of the club. You see Joe Pagano Vito thought that I was ganging up with Tony Bender but you knew different you remember when you used to tell me that you are a hundred per cent with Tony Bender and I used to tell you not to talk that way you remember don't you Joe tell it to Tommy Rye how you felt about Tony Bender I'll bet you won't hey Joe tell your brother Pat that if it was that I had to worry about guys like your brother Pat I'll run N.Y.C. In the end of this story I'll tell you why I am telling you this and you can tell Tommy Rye I feel the same way about him -
- 864 -
another dog. Now he thinks that he is a tough guy too. Gee Vito makes tough guys over night like he made Tony Bender over night but I had a double crossing dog like Bobby Doyle with me so I was helpless. Well Joe I'll tell you rather than to live with you dogs I rather be where I am and at the end of this story I'll tell you some more and I'll tell you a lot more about your boss Vito Genovese. As a dog as Fiore is at least he stays to himself and I am sure that it won't be long before you sell him out. Hey Joe how much did you get for that seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars worth of meat that you swindled, tell me how much did Vito Genovese and Tommy Rye get, come tell me that the case that you are now out on bail is the case I am talking about. Vito knew about it in Atlanta. Your brother Pat told him all about it he was very proud of you Joe Doll I hope you get twenty years, then you see Vito come to the front for you.
I will go back to Tony Bender. I happened to be down town and I tell Tony Bender about Frank Scalice telling me all about those new guys that he Frank Scalice put into the job. The first thing that Tony asked me was whether I knock any of them. I said no so Tony told me its good that you didn't because he was to find out from you what kind of guys they were Tony asked me if I meant the guys from 106 Street in Harlem and I said yes. Well Tony said that is what he was looking to find out see how you felt about them. You know Tony said grease
- 865 -
balls are very cute. As I was talking to Tony he reminded me to talk to Fiore that he Fiore should not go around freely trying to sell junk as they are getting very tough on it they are talking about speaking to Albert Anastasia about Albert allowing his boys going around so freely by they Tony meant other bosses. I found out later that the bosses got together they spoke to Albert Anastasia and Albert told them the other bosses of which I know as a face one of these bosses was Frank Costello and Vito Genovese backing Frank but Albert told them that he would do as he pleases because he told them that he is taking his own chances and no one can tell him what to do as they have no right to tell him and if anyone thinks that they are getting hot because of the junk all they need to do is resign since when he Albert wanted to know that we got to tell our people not to do this and not to do that as long as they are hungry and they want to take their own chances and we have nothing to do with them that's their business just like I am about to tell you he Albert said that he was selling junk and that his boys can sell junk as long as I am boss all you need to do is tell your boys to stay away from my boys so that they won't get hot and that was the way the meeting ended. Now we knew why us guys that were told not to hang out or do business with any of Albert's men. Lots of soldiers gave Albert a lot of credit for his decision. The cost nostra was allowed to make laws if everyone agreed but in this case
- 866 -
Albert was the spokeman but he had other bosses back him up the only ones that I knew that enforced the law was Frank Costello and Joe Profaci, everyone else in the New York area were selling junk until Vito Genovese took over and I would tell you about it when I get to it. Of course by now you know how he operated as long as he got his end he would overlook it as I already explained. After Tony Bender warned me especially about Fiore he Fiore came to me and asked me about a certain prize fighter. I think the fighter's name was Terry Young. I asked Fiore what did he want to know about the fighter. He Fiore wanted to know if Terry Young was OK so I told him did you ever hear of any fighter that is any good and besides I told you what Tony Bender told me and now you are not on your own anymore. I tried to tell you before you got in and besides now that you are in the mob you can't go around and do business with Tom, Dick and Harry, anymore. So I leave off with Fiore that he is not going to bother with the prize fighter about a week later I hear that Fiore gets arrested and his partner Lefty gets away and that Fiore is held in twenty thousand dollar bail. Some of his friends come and see me and I tell them that I don't want to know anything and they tell me that Fiore is in. I tell them that I don't believe them and I still don't want to know anything they tell me that they have the money for the bond but they have no collateral, I still don’t want to know anything. I tried to get in touch with
- 867 -
Lefty and no one knew where he was as he Lefty was on the lam. There was a girl that used to come in the Lido one time and I introduced her to one of the boys in Harlem, his name was Joe. I did not introduce her for her to go out with Joe I only introduced her because she was drinking at the bar when these fellows happened to come in the Lido and this fellow had a lot of money so they became sweethearts end I did not know anything about it but anyway Joe had an argument with his girl and Joe hit her. She called the cops and when the cops went up to the apartment they found Lefty in the apartment as the girl did not know that Lefty was wanted by the police. Now Lefty is arrested and he gets a small bond and he comes out and he comes and see me and he tells me that Fiore hed aothing t do with whatever he Lefty was doing. Lefty being not a member be did not need to account to anyone. Well he convinced me and I OK Fiore’s bond. After three weeks it was Al Newman that bailed out Fiore, the same bondsman thet I had. Now Fiore comes out on bail and I had not seen him yet Joe DeMarco walks in the Lido and he was drunk and he started to talk and he was telling me that he did not blame me for not wanting to OK Fiore’s bail so I got around to Joe DeMarco and I tell him if he knew that Fiore had come and asked my advice before he went on the deal I figured that Joe DeMarco would know as he to was one of Fiore's partners but he was left out of this deal
- 868 -
and he was mad. He tells me why does he come and see you for advice and then he does what he wants to do I can't understand this guy. Joe DeMarco said he Joe was talking about Fiore. Joe DeMarco did hardly finish telling me until who walks in the Lido, Fiore and I have a mad look on my face I can't hide it. He takes one look at Joe DeMarco and he Fiore takes a rap on Joe DeMarco's face. Fiore says I knew you come up here to squeal on me. Oh I said you get mad besides how do you like that I said well do you know what you do go away as right now. I don't want to lose my head so he walked out and Joe DeMarco asked me to take him home so I drive him to 114 Street and Second Ave. The next night Joe DeMarco comes to the Lido again and he tells me that the agents were over to his house and they the agents tell him Joe DeMarco that if he Joe would set me up they the agents would allow Joe DeMarco to sell junk and they the agents would not bother him. I asked Joe what did you tell the agents. He said that he told the agents what do you want me to get killed so I say to Joe that was a bad answer that you gave them. I say to Joe are you doing anything with me and he said no so why do you tell the agents what do you want me to get killed you make them understand that you are doing something with me. Why didn't you tell them that I ain't doing anything. Boy I said you guys are all smart in your own way you see I am mad at Fiore most of all everything that he does reflects on me both with the underworld and with the agents I am going to ask
- 869 -
you please don't come up here any more you see the way the agents think that you are doing something with me just because I drove you 114 Street and Second Ave. 114 Street and Second Ave. is where Fiore was hanging out. The time comes that Fiore is about to go to trial. He comes and see me and he tells me that the guy who is going to testify against him is not going home. I asked him what was on his mind. He asked me if I knew someone who can tap a phone. I asked tap a phone. He said yes tapping phones cost money, I tell him he said that he would pay. OK I said I'll get in touch with this guy and I'll ask him how much does he want a week to tap a phone. I know that this guy does it but I never used him for anything come around tomorrow night and bring me the guy's phone number that you want taped and tell me what do you want this guy to find out for you. Fiore said I'll tell you now and I'll give you the phone now too. OK I said tell me so he hands me the phone which he had already written on a piece of paper and he tells me that the guy that is going to testify against him is not going home nights but he is a guy that can't stay too long without calling his mother so the first time that he would call his mother I want this guy to get the phone number from where this guy is calling from, I asked him if this guy is the fighter that he is looking for but he would not answer me so I did not want to rub it in so I did not bring it up any more. Then I asked if what did he intend to do with this guy because I want to
- 870 -
warn you before time that once this guy gets the name or phone number you can't do anything because the first thing this guy would ask me if there is any serious trouble involved and I can't take a chance by anything that would bounce back to me. I'll tell this guy that this guy ran away with someone's wife. OK I said. OK Fiore said I won't do anything if this guy finds out where I could find him as I am pretty sure that if I can talk to him he would take off and he would not come to court. OK I said be here tomorrow night and I would let you know how much it would cost. I got in touch with this guy and I explained everything to him and I asked him to give me a break on the price. We talked a little while and I agreed to pay him sixty dollars a week. I thought it was very cheap when Fiore came up the following night I told him the price and he was very happy at the price. Well I'll say that the guy had the phone taped for about a month and the guy never called his mother and to this day I don't know who the fellow was. When Fiore gave up then I asked him before he went to court if he wanted to tell me the evidence they had against him. Its done now I told him so he said that he, Fiore was siting in the bar at 114 Street and Second Ave. and this guy came in the joint and he had a tape recording in his picket and I done business with him so I asked very slowly was that the fighter. Fiore said yes. Well I told Fiore if it is that way there is no sense standing trial he
- 871 -
Fiore said that if he can't make any contact with anyone he is going to plead guilty, he and Lefty. When Fiore went to trial he pleaded guilty and he was put off for sentencing for two weeks and he was still out on bail. The night before he went for sentence he came up the joint and he spent the last night in the Lido. Fiore received eight years and so did Lefty. Then some of Fiore's friends came up and they said that they thought that they can get a cut for Fiore for five thousand dollars. I told them that I did not have the five thousand dollars and they suggested that we would run an affair for Fiore and that they had two months time to do it so there was plenty of time not realizing that the agents would hear about it. I asked them to have the tickets printed and it would be a three day affair. While I am waiting for the affair I want to remind Frank Costello that this is the case that caused Fiore to receive the eight years that he was serving at the time when you met him Frank and you went and told Vito Genovese that Fiore was working for me at the time he received his eight years. Now you see how he Fiore worked for me I want you Mr. Frank to know that the agents that arrested Fiore never came to the Lido Restaurant any more they were convinced that Fiore was doing things on his own. If I had a hand in it I would had been arrested if Fiore told you that he was working for me now you know what a liar he was and everyone in the neighborhood knew all about this
- 872 -
case and I was the last one to find out what it was all about. I can remember only one agent that was involved in the arrest of Fiore and Lefty, his name was Dougan. The affair is about to start and I only make twenty-five hundred dollars and I need five thousand dollars so I figured that I would borrow the balance if Fiore gets the cut in his sentence but he was turned down and now that I don't need the money I took out what it cost me for the food and whiskey and believe me it cost quite a bit because I gave out steaks for free there was no charge on the tickets anyone who came drank and ate for free and they left whatever they felt like leaving and believe me there wasn't many peoples that came because the guys did not want to make an appearance because they figured the place was being watched. Now I took the balance of the money and I paid for some of the money that I borrowed for Fiore as at this time I was only living on whatever the Lido Restaurant earned for me as I had lost the horse and the shop and it was quite a blow. Now if Fiore felt hurt because I paid out some of his debts well it was just too bad because he owed me too much that I cannot keep track only what he owed for the stuff that Pat and I gave to Fiore and Joe is enough to keep him quiet. Well as long as I was talking about a rule that Frank Costello and Vito Genovese were trying to put through and they were overruled I might just as well tell you about the rules that are in effect the very first and most
- 873 -
important rule is not to expose the secret of the Cosa Nostra - it means death without hope of ever being forgiven. After this rule the Cosa Nostra comes first with our blood family and our country second. I must explain exactly what it means for instance the Cosa Nostra calls for a member he must drop everything and do whatever it may be if they order the members to go into a police station he must go, of course, that never was done, it is only to explain the importance of the order. Death is the penalty for violating another member's wife. Death is the pelanty for telling wives anything about the Cosa Nostra, it has been a long standing rule that no kidnapping is allowed in the Cosa Nostra. It is against the rules to hit another member with your hands, however this rule has been relaxed over the past dozen years and many violations have occured for instance at the time that I hit Frank Luciano as I already mentioned. I was given a trial before Albert Anastasia and my own Lt. Tony Bender and also Frank acting Lt. Charlie Brush from right I was wrong but Frank Luciano stole so much money in the Lido Restaurant that I was forgiven and also awarded the Lido Restaurant and had to pay Frank three thousand dollars but if I did not hit Frank he would have been in serious trouble. Actually Frank benefited by me hitting him. Another rule - all orders passed from the boss to Lts. to soldiers have to be followed without question. Death is the
- 874 -
penalty for disobeying such an order. Bosses can in certain circumstances relieve a Lt. from his duties and make him a simple soldier. An example of this occurred when John Montana, who attended the Apalachin Meeting in 1957, was demoted from Lt. to a plain soldier. After the meeting he got in touch with his boss and requested the Cosa Nostra to make no contacts with him, the boss granted his request and relieved him of his duties as a Lieutenant and made him a regular soldier. There is rule against procuring but this rule was violated frequently within the Cosa Nostra. I recall an incident when Bobby Doyle was running around with a wealthy woman in Connecticut who was giving Bobby Doyle Cadillacs, money and letting him manage her affairs and in return for his loving, that is the time when Vito Genovese slapped his face in front of quite a few boys. He Vito called him a pimp and ordered him to break off with the woman. This is one of several incidents that Genovese asserted his authority by slapping faces. Bobby introduced the woman to me at the race track and he had a couple of more rich woman in the party. Bobby was mad at me because I was running all over the race track. He knew that I was not a good entertainer with those kind of people and I could not put on a phony act especially when he asked me to drive a friend of Bobby's woman friend. I don't remember what kind of excuse I used but I got out of it. Bobby called me on the side and he tried to tell me how rich that
- 875 -
woman was that I refused to drive home. I told Bobby that I don't know how to act with those kind of people what can I do. Then he mumbles that I was young girl crazy but I did not pay any attention to him. He never caught me at the track any more after this happened. As far as I was concerned I can't look up to any rich woman. I can't explain how I feel I just don't know how to act and that is all there is to it. Now as far as rules are concerned there are so many of them that it is impossible to mention them all but these other rules are not serious rules. They are rules that I must say are mostly to show respect for one another, for instance we would talk about a number runner if any number man wants to quit the bank that he is turning his business and he wants to come with me I can't accept him and if he don't go back to his former Bank he would not be able to pick up numbers for anyone and if a man quit the numbers business and he decides to go back in the business and he goes with someone else and I find out about it I can claim that man as long as I am in the numbers business. In other words to lose a man he must quit forever, that goes for any kind of business also the guy who picks up horse bets. Now if a man is in any kind of business and he goes partner with a member no one can touch that man he must have the same respect as a member as long as he is partner with a member. Now these are the kind of rules that I was talking about if these
- 876 -
kind of things get a little out of order they are easily straightened out. All a member has to do is get in touch with his Lt. and His Lt. would get in touch with the other guys Lt. but one must not lie if he is caught in a lie then the trouble can turn out to be serious for the one who is caught in a lie. It happened but not often because it is very bad and after he is caught in a lie then no one would take his word any more. These are members that are pretty rotten to business men they have no heart at all, a business man puts his trust in one of these guys and he gets a bad deal how does he get a bad deal by the members well he would find some kind of a way to bloodsuck his partner, these are the kind of guys that make it bad for everyone and the payoff is that the poor sucker can't go to any other member for any help because if another member tries to do something for the guy he the other member would be told that it ain't none of his business because he is partners with so and so. Now these kind of meets are held every day. Some guys just get a kick out of tables after a while when everyone catches up with him no one pays any attention to him any more. To show you how many carpets there are day after day there are about four to five thousand members in New York City alone that includes young and old one can imagine how things go smooth without killing themselves every day but they manage to keep peace until one
- 877 -
of the bosses goes crazy and he wants to rule all the families. I don't know too much about Brooklyn but I want to say one thing about Brooklyn they are even crazier than in the 1930's. I never heard anything like it. They are really growing them wild out there. I know very little young members out there I only know some of the old timers. I don't know how Johnnie Roberts wound up in Brooklyn but one thing I know if he Johnnie Roberts don't go and hang out in Brooklyn he would be alive today. I never met anyone so easy going than Johnnie Roberts. I don't know of a man that had a bad word for him. If ever I felt bad to hear of Johnnie being killed I did not sleep all night when I heard about it and the payoff was that I could not go to his wake as things were very hot.
I'll take the reader back to around the forties. I am reminded of an incident that happened in the Hollywood Restaurant -- one night as I was about to leave, in fact I was putting my coat on, when a fight started between Pip the Blind and Johnnie Roberts. Johnnie was behind one of the coat rooms and I saw Pip take a whack on Johnnie's jaw. I ran over and I got in between and I tried to stop the fight but a couple of more guys came and jumped in on Pip and before anyone knew what it was all about everyone was grabbing either Johnnie or Pip and more guys started to swing on one another. For instance, Frank the Bug got in a jam with Pip the Blind. All of a sudden it was all over as Pip
- 878 -
left the Hollywood and everything quited down. Pip the Blind is with Mike Cappola and at this time Johnnie Roberts was not a member but is a partner of Tony Bender and naturally I am supposed to stick up for Johnnie Roberts but Pip is also a friend of mine as we were brought up together in Harlem and in a case like this I would like to see everything end up in a peaceful way so I was happy that no one got hurt. I was about to leave and go home when Bobby Doyle came over to me and told me that a phone call came in the Hollywood that Pip is outside and waiting together with a couple of guys for us to leave and that Pip has got guns. So I tell Bobby Doyle that I could go out and talk to Pip but Bobby said I dare not so I take my coat off and I sit down with the rest of the guys. Another call comes in the Hollywood and this time the caller wants to me I get on the phone and the caller tells me that he is Charlie and that I should wait and that he is on his way. Charlie is a friend of Pip and is also with Mike Cappola. I tell him that I will wait for him. When I tell the boys that Charlie is coming down the great brain Bobby Doyle started to corrupt everyone by saying that by Charlie coming down to the Hollywood Restaurant it meant trouble and they sneak one of the help in the Hollywood out to go and get some guns. I tried to talk and tell Bobby how could it mean trouble Charlie is coming down because he wants to straighten out everything, Bobby tells me that there
- 879 -
is going to be no straightening out. OK, I said, you handle everthing. By the time Charlie gets down the help that worked in the Hollywood gets back and he has about three or four guns and Bobby hands me one of them. Now Charlie arrives and he is knocking on the door of the side entrance and I tell Bobby to let him in we have guns so what are you worrying about. Johnnie answered and he said, Joe is right let him in, what can he do. OK, Bobby said so I opened the door and I let Charlie in and he is alone and we go in the backroom and Charlie said that he could not find Pip outside. Bobby said that Pip is outside and Charlie says that he would go out again and he would look again but Bobby says, no, now that you are here you stay here so Charlie stayed and we are all drinking and having coffee. Another phone call comes in the Hollywood and this time it was an Acting Lt, as Mike Cappolo is not in town, I don't remember who the Acting Lt. was but he comes. Of course everything gets straightened out at least temporarily. We all go home and the next day I go to the Hollywood Restaurant and I was sitting with one of the show girls when Sanadina walks in and he tells the waiter that he wants to see me. I excuse myself to the girls and I go over and sit with Sandina and he starts to question me about the fight that took place the night before in the Hollywood. I started to tell him the story the best way I could of course. I tell him that I was just
- 880 -
about to go home when the fight started and the reader must remember that I already mentioned that Johnnie Roberts was a personal friend of mine. I got along with Johnnie from the first time I met him. After I got through telling my story Sandina asked me if I saw a knife in Pip the Blind's hand. Well in the name of God I did not see a knife in anyones hand. If a knife was pulled I did not see it I assured Sandina. He, Sandina, tells me that Bobby Doyle said that I saw a knife in Pip the Blind's hand. I tell Sandina I don't care what Bobby says and I ain't going to say that I saw a knife in anyone's hand if I did not see the knife. I asked Sandina if everything was straightened out at least I thought that it was. He said that I made a poor witness. I tell him that I don't understand and he tells me that Tony Bender will come in any minute and that Tony Bender is going to talk to me. I tell Sandina that if they are going to have a table and I am called I am going to say just what I saw and nothing else. I am tired of making bad friends I tell Sandina and he tells me if I did not see a knife then say that I did not see a knife but don't say I said so. Tony Bender comes in the Hollywood and he starts to question me and I tell him the same thing that I told Sandina but to Tony I tell that I am a knife hater and I pull up my shirt and I show him where I was cut in Sing Sing Prison by Peter LaTampa as you all know by this time that Peter LaTampa was murdered in Raymond
- 881 -
Street County Jail. He was poisoned while in the custody of detectives. He was supposed to be a witness in a murder case against Vito Genovese. I received thirty-eight stitches. What I was trying to tell Tony was that if I saw a knife I would had grabbed something and hit the guy on the head because as I said I am a guy that hate anyone who uses a knife. When I got through with Tony Bender he told me that he was not going to use me as a witness. I thanked him and I reminded him that Bobby Doyle is always trying to make trouble for me. Tony shook his head and he asked me again if I was sure that I did not see a knife. I told him again that I swear I never saw a knife. They had a table and no one ever called me and I found out that Pip the Blind was given the benefit of the doubt because the witnesses all came from downtown and they all were raised in the same neighborhood. Of course the reader must know by this time that a table is a carpet just like a trial that is held in any court room. This kind of trial the authorities call a Kangaroo Court. If I had said that Pip the Blind had a knife it would had been bad for him because I was raised in the same neighborhood that Pip was raised. I found out later on that Pip the Blind did not pull a knife at all. They were trying to frame Pip the Blind. I never talked to anyone about this as I was afraid that it would had gotten in Tony Bender's ears and besides it was the truth that I did not see any knife but I was
- 882 -
told once by one of the boys in Mike Cappola's outfit that I saved Pip the Blind the time that they had a fight in the Hollywood Restaurant. I did not comment on it. I made it pass but I did give the guy a smile as if to say that no one was going to put words in my mouth. Now this fight I wanted to tell the readers as to make them understand how the mob handles carpets almost every day if it ain't one thing its another and they are always having tables.
Now I'll go back to the time when I got it on the radio that Willie Moore Morelli was killed in Jersey next door to Duchess Restaurant. I remember I was at some girl's house but not that the girl was a girl friend of mine. I was at her house because this girl was a waitress and I stopped at her house to see if she was working. It was sometime in the afternoon, anyway the girl was already working so when I got the news I went out of the house as fast as I could get away. The first thing that I did was to call Tony Bender even though it was no surprise as I have been expecting it for the last six months as I already told you that Vito Genovese was building Willie's death right along. I caught Tony Bender on Thompson Street and all I asked was if it was OK to be walking around as he would understand what I meant and he told me that everything was fine and that I had nothing to worry about. Well I said to myself Vito Genovese is off and running. Willie is the first one to go and it seemed that he Vito has
- 883 -
put over his point that Willie is sick and cannot be trusted as he was really talking a little too much to newspaper reporters and the way I understand it that Willie was willing to go on the radio and preach crime but as I said Willie has been sick before and he was so bad that they had to take him to Col and he was there a couple of years so Vito could not sell his story to the old timers and even though I did not get along with Willie because of the war in 1930 he was a very liked fellow and as long as Willie was alive he had plenty of power not that his men were happy over his death but they had nothing to say because Willie was sentenced to his death by the Councilmen and according to the underworld life it was legal so anyone could had taken part in slaying him so it was no surprise to me when I heard that Johnnie Roberts was in the Lido Restaurant to celebrate Willie's death because he Johnnie knew how I felt about Willie or anyone that I did not like as I said I used to be close to Johnnie Roberts. He was in the Lido with another guy but I'm not sure who the other guy was so I'm not saying it. I only want to mention something that I am sure I do not want to guess whenever I must mention any names. A few days later I was invited to Patty Muccio's house as Patty's wife had come out of the hospital and had a new born baby and I was told that Tony Bender was going to be there when I heard that Tony Bender was going to be at Patty's house now I knew what the detective had told me was true
- 884 -
that Tony Patty and Vinnie were partners in the junk business as long as Tony Bender gave Patty the honor by he, Tony, going to his house. Patty will work for nothing as he was a new member and only to be seen with Tony Bender, he Patty would be thrilled and I could not help but notice it. Anyway as we were sitting at the table the TV was on and they showed Willie's wake and they were carrying Willie's body to the hearse and they showed all the flower cars and all the people that were attending his funeral. Tony looked at me with a smile but I did not respond as I did not trust him as to my feelings.
Now the D. A. in Jersey was questioning almost everyone I knew, including myself. The detective in the Bronx sent for me and I went to the two hundred and fourth Street Police Station and the detective asked me if I care to go to Jersey for questioning. I told them that I did not care to go to Jersey if they the detectives cared to question me I would answer them as to whatever the question may be so the detective told me that I must wait for the detective from Jersey before they are able to question me so I told them that they can call me on the phone whenever they were ready. A few days later they called me on the phone and I went to the police station. At the time they asked me to go. When I got there I found some of the detectives came from Jersey so I answered their question and they were trying to get me to go to Jersey but I refused because I found out that they
- 885 -
were pretty nasty once they got us in Jersey. They asked me how did I know that they were nasty out in Jersey. I told them that I knew because some of the guys that already went to Jersey told me. Well they got ready and they question me at the 204 Street Police Station. They asked me where I was on such and such a date and they asked me if I knew Johnnie Roberts as Johnnie was already arrested for Willie's murder. I told them that I did not know Johnnie Roberts and they laughed right in my face. Well I told them you asked me a question and I answered you, what do you want and then I had told them if there was an order for my arrest so they said no. Then I told them to go on with their questioning and I also told them that I am talking to them because of the detective on the New York side or I would tell them to take off so why laugh. They told me that they know for sure that I know Johnnie Roberts so I just looked and I did not say anything. Well it was all over and they asked me that if they want to get in touch with me where would they call me so I told them that they can get in touch with the detective in the Bronx and they would get in touch with me so they said OK. I never heard from them again. About six months later I read in the papers that Willie's brother, Sol, died in jail from sickness as he was doing a year but I don't remember why. Gee I said to myself that Vito Genovese thinks of everything what could Solly Moore do without his brother but Vito leaves no stone untouched.
- 886 -
I just shook my head to myself and no one dare to pass any crack. Boy, even though I did not care for Solly Moore I had to give him some thought -- I thought to myself how they are on top of the world today and down in the gutter tomorrow.
I had borrowed some money from Tony the Bum and I went to Boston to the race track and instead of staying there a few days I stayed there about ten days so when I came back I was in the barber chair where Jimmy Marino had got killed in 1931 and as I already told you Jimmy Marino was one of the guys that got killed the same day that Mr. Managano got killed. Tony the Bum comes up in the Bronx looking for me and as he found me in the barber chair he kiddingly tells me that he has me cornered in the barber chair referring to the death of Jimmy Marino. Now all through the years the boys in Harlem have been raised and told that I was against them in the war of 1930. I could understand by the way they used to talk to me but I could never pin point them. In other words these boys are being brought up and being corrupted against me as if I started the war in 1930 so I was always on the lookout to catch anyone who may make the mistake of talking about it. Even though I was a good friend of Tony when he mention the barber chair I told him that I was sorry that I was going to put him on the carpet for what he said. I told him that some day he would understand. Gee Joe, he
- 887 -
said, I was only kidding. Yes, I said, I know but remember Tony, I said, I want to know where did you get the story of the barber chair you were only a kid in 1930. Why should you guys be brought up hating me. I was only 26 years old in 1930. Why should I get the rap that I started the war in 1930, especially all you guys owe it to us for the freedom that you are enjoying today, the people that we fought in 1930 were greaseballs and it did not have anything to do with the boys on 116 Street and I want to know why they are making themselves so important. No wonder no matter how I treat you guys I can't get any where because you all are brought up hating me. I'm sorry Tony I told him here is your money that I borrowed from you - it amounted to about five or six hundred, I don't remember exactly. I got in the car and I went away the next day I was on my way down town and as I was passing in Harlem I saw Tony standing on the corner so I called him in the car and I tell him that I am on my way down town and I tell Tony do you know what I want you to tell those guys on 116 Street - tell them that they were around in 1930 and if they were what they let you believe, how come I'm still around and Mr. Tony, I said, and if the guys in 1930 were like you I'll be king so stop knocking yourself out. He Tony said, Gee Joe can't you give me a chance and forget about it. No Tony, I said, I have been laying out for anyone of you guys to make a mistake because I don't like
- 888 -
the way you guys carry yourselves and I want to teach you guys a lesson once and for all. Again I told him that someday you would understand. I went down to Tony Bender and he said after he heard my story that he was going to talk to the people in Jersey and he Tony said that I had a good argument and that he was glad that I caught up with someone as he himself has been hearing stories. Well Tony if I got to live with this kind of stuff going around I rather that I don't live at all, after all if it wasn't for us guys in 1930 you yourself won't be in the position you are today so why should they raise boys hating me and it is not the truth what they tell them. I won't mind if it was the truth, even Mike Capollo won't be where he is today - Tony was one of Mike Capollo goys. Tony Bender said that he would give me a ring when he sees who he is got to see. Tony Bender called me a few days later and he told me that the Bosses that he said were thinking of throwing out of the mob the last couple of hundred of guys that they put in the last couple of months as they the new guys are kicking this mob around by using the expression of calling themselves Button Men and he Tony asked me if I ever heard that expression. I told him that Willie Moore asked me the same thing some time ago and I also told him that even the kids use that expression. Well Tony said I might as well tell you that Mike Capollo was down to see him and that Mike asked for a favor and he Tony went on to tell me what kind of favor. Mike asked for. He
- 889 -
said that if we do not go any further with this and let him handle it he would give me all the satisfaction in the world. He said if I do this favor for him some day he Mike will return the favor to me. Tony left everything to me so I tell Tony I don't want to put Tony the Bum on the carpet it is only to make them understand and stop thinking that I am always against them. Tony said that I should go 116 Street and I should explain everything to Mike and Mike would take care of everything so I went 116 Street and I saw Mike and Mike sent for Tony the Bum and there was a couple of more boys around and we sat at a table at a bar at 116 Street and Mike started to tell Tony the Bum that it was a bad crack that he passed and that this is your last chance for you and I don't want to hear one more word about you and I want you to know Mike told Tony that Joe did not want to put you on the carpet he only wants you guys to stop talking about what happened years ago. There has been trouble going on for years and when it is over it is over so why talk about it twenty-five years later so shake hands with Joe and tell him that you are sorry and that there is no hard feelings. So we shook hands and I left at least I figures it will get around and the guys would stop talking once and for all. Now as I was writing I learned something very important happened first I must talk to Mr. Biggio of the Police Department or retired from the Police Department, I do not really know some few months ago he got on TV and told the American people that there is no mob. The way I understand it he comes
- 890 -
from my neighborhood and he felt that I hurt the Italian people by saying that they the Italian people have a mob and it is called Cosa Nostra. I want Mr. Biaggio to know that I am Italian also and that is the way it is I can't say that they are Germans if they are Italians and I don't mean to belittle the Italian people I am only saying what it really is. It is an Italiam mob and that is it. I can't say one thing for another there was another guy that came and see me and he also is Italian and he also felt that he felt bad because I belittle the Italian people but I'll tell you again it is an Italian mob and that's all there is to it. I can't say black is white if it is black. Now I want to ask Mr. Biaggio if he heard about the latest murder in Harlem. They have killed my nephew for fear that he will join me for trying to break up the mob. Mr. Biaggio I am going to give you his name maybe you can find him after all you know everything. His name is Fiore Siano and he comes from your neighborhood. Now come on let's see what you can do he was in a certain joint in Harlem and three guys walked him out of the joint and they buried him Mr. Biaggio. I'll tell you who ordered his death and who carried out the order as you are a Dick Tracy I figure that being you have medals and you are great you may be able to solve the murder. Well Vito Genovese ordered it and Tommy Rye and the Paganos carried out the orders. What are you going to tell the American people that some German came over here and took Fiore Siano away.
- 891 -
Mr. Biaggio it is guys like you that encourage crime. I am trying to break it up and you think that I don't know what I am talking about but I hope that someday your words will hit you square in the face and I must say that you will deserve it. OK Pat Pagano and Joe Pagano now you both are real killers you know dam well that he Fiore Siano was harmless as you know he was drinking himself sick. Big deal I hope to live and see the day when we the law would catch up with you it would come don't worry you see the reason why I am telling you is so that the people will know what traitors you both are. Surprised that I know about it well pretty soon I will have someone more on my side and that is the time that we would come after you. We got a few but just as soon as we will get one that would have nerve enough to come to the front like I'm doing then we would come after you and we will see how much you can take it. I suppose you guys killed him because he was a rat like you tried to make me one well as long as you and the rest of the dogs wanted to make me one now I am one and at least if I go to my death I will go for something not for nothing. You made me one now I am one and I hope to get you all some day as soon as the law will realize that the laws are too good for all of you. How does it feel to be a tough guy Pat instead of a bricklayer - come on tell us all about it, you dog. Hey Pat what did you all do give up on getting me so you went and got Fiore? You think I don't know that you spoke to Tommy Rye on the
- 892 -
phone before I did what I am doing and you told Tommy that you want to give me a shot in the head. What do you think you would take me at a bar like you took Fiore. Boy Pat, I'll tell you one thing you sure will have trouble on your hands if I were Fiore so stop bluffing you ain't nothing. In fact I think nothing of all of you. I got some respect and believe me it ain't for you and your bums down town. You remember when you used to tell me that Tony Bender liked you now that Tony Bender ain't there anymore, tell me who likes you now? Tell me is it Tommy Rye or Vito or Patty Rye. Patty is your Lt. Pat you see I know everything. Tell me how much they like you. How is the union coming along, I mean Local 59? Are you still Boss? When are you going to be the big boss and take all the unions. When Vito comes out well I hope he Vito will never come out he is going to die in jail and he is not going to enjoy none of that money that is coming in by the barrels full the way Vito told me in Atlanta that he did not know what to do with all the money that is coming in. Are you getting any of it or are you making more for him. I know he won't give you none. He never gives anything away.
Now I go back to the Lido Restaurant and I might as well tell you that in 1956 I lost my license and I was running the restaurant for about eight or none months without the license and I must say that I was doing better without a license until I got arrested and put in a conspiracy. I was arrested and put in the same case
- 893 -
as Pat Pagano and Patty Muccio and I came out on bail and that was the time that I was running the restaurant without a license until we went to trial. I thought so little of the case that I started to build another restaurant at South Broadway in Yonkers. Every cent I was making I was putting in the new restaurant at South Broadway in Yonkers. I figured that I would get out of the Bronx and I would stay away from everyone. I did not know what I was arrested for but when I found out I almost fainted - it was the case of Solly Shields when he got arrested in 1952 and now they arrest me in 1956. I was put in the conspiracy with four other guys and my brother-in-law was one of the guys and as I said Pat and Muccio were two of the guys and the other guy I did not know at all. We were charged for a conspiracy but the evidence was to each his own. My witness against me was the famous Pierre LaFette, the same guy that sent Solly Shields away in 1952. The evidence against me was that Pierre LaFette said that in 1952 he came to the Lido Restaurant with Solly Shields and that he stayed in the car and that Solly got out of the car and that Solly spoke to me on the sidewalk and that Solly was supposed to had told me that the last stuff that I gave him was a little weak and I was supposed to have answered that I would make up for it some other time which was the biggest lie. I ever heard in my life. I never saw Pierre LaFette in all of my life. The Judge promised to throw me out at the end of the trial but when the end of the trial came
- 894 -
the Judge said that I was one of the mob so he was going to make the jury decide the evidence was so strong against the other four guys that the jury convicted all five is us. I was given five years and I was sent to Atlanta Prison. I was in Atlanta five days and I came out on bail. When I came out on bail I had lost the restaurant because I had to sell it for a couple of thousand dollars. When a restaurant loses a license it loses all its value. I had to pay the lawyer more money for the appeal so I got mad and I went and sell junk to a couple of colored guys so that I can get on my feet, and I gave up the restaurant in Yonkers because I did not have the money to go through with it. I wasn't selling much junk just a little at a time just so that I can pay the lawyer and keep going until I start to do something. I had to borrow some money just as soon as I got out on bail from Atlanta fourth of July was a few months away so I got together with some guy and we sent and get a load of fire crackers out of town and when the load comes in we sold the fire crackers and we sent for another load we done it a couple of times and by the fourth of July came we had made at least ten thousand dollars between us and I started to pay everyone that I owed any money to. I was out about eight or nine months when the case was argued in the circuit court and I was thrown out. In other words I beat the case and as soon as I beat the case I went down to the jukebox people and I started to buy jukeboxes and I started to put them out on
- 895 -
locations. I was buying a couple of jukeboxes at a time without putting a penny down for a down payment. I had about 12 jukeboxes when the FBI came over to my house and see me. They asked me if I would be kind enough to give them the real low down on the jukebox operation. First they asked me how come I don't go and see anyone anymore. They told me that they had been watching me for the last four or five years and they the FBI wondered why I do not go down town much. I told them that I did not have an interest in anyone. I told them that I want to be alone. They asked me if the jukebox business had any special territory. I told them that there was no such thing as territory and I told them that I had 12 machines and they told me that they knew that I had 12 machines but they wanted to know that when I built up the route if I have to give Tony Bender any part of my earnings. I told them that I did not need to give Tony Bender or anyone else any part of my business. Some boys do I told them and they do it just so that they can go around and tell people that they are partners with so and so but not I. Then they asked me how could they go about it as they want to check and see what is what with these jukeboxes so I told them that if they would check by the storekeepers they would get the lowdown on everything that they want to know. I told them that the storekeepers are the racketeers today. The time has passed when guys like myself go and try and force a storekeeper to take my machine all that stuff
- 896 -
I told them is gone with the twenties. I told them all they have to do is sent a policeman to every store in the whole five boroughs and in no time they would find out that the storekeeper is the shakedown artist here is what they do they borrow money from me and then they try to borrow money from another operator and they make trouble because I ain't going to take my machine out of the store unless he gives me my money so what do we do to protect ourselves we give them say a loan of five hundred dollars then we make them sign a contract that reads like they cannot borrow any money from anyone else for a perior of five years and when the five hundred is paid and they the storekeeper needs any more money the same operator will give it to him. Now the FBI leave me and they told me that in a month or two I would read the outcome in the newspapers. They said that they were going to do just what I told them to do before they left I told them that if they find any trouble it will not be much but whatever they find they would see for themselves that it would be nothing but a couple of punks that are not in the jukebox business. Sure enoughtabout a month later a bit write-up appeared in the Daily News and it read like this: There are 11 thousand jukeboxes in New York City including Staten Island. 11 complaints in Manhattan, 4 complaints in Long Island, 19 complaints in Brooklyn and 7 complaints in the Bronx and the paper went on to explain that in all five boroughs there was only 41 complaints and these complaints
- 897 -
had nothing to do with the operators. It was just a couple of punks here and there that had nothing to do with the operation at all, they were just kids trying to bluff storekeepers. They the storekeepers told their troubles to the man who had the jukeboxes in the store and he the operator took care of these punks and the storekeeper told the Police that they had no trouble at all with the operators so the paper went on to say that everyone is happy in the jukebox business. Now the FBI had told me that if I steer them wrong they will be back if we don't come back they said that means that everything is OK. Well they never came back and now that I am in a position to talk to them every now and then we talk about how they came to my house and they asked my advice how to go about getting the low down as to the jukebox operation and up to now they were satisfied that I told them the right thing.
Now I forgot to mention that when I got the five years and I was at West Street now West Street is the Federal House of Detention, in other words it is like a county jail. They hold us at West Street while we are waiting for trial if one does not get out on bail and from West Street if one gets a sentence they send you to different prisons so I meet Frank Costello at West Street and I was trying to make friends with him but he Frank was very cold so I said to myself the hell with you. I was trying to get close to him for a reason. I wanted to tip him off that there
- 898 -
was talk about him and the talk was that he was going to be killed but when I saw him act cold I forgot all about it. Personally I always liked Frank he was always a gentlemen. I knew that I would never do any good down town and I had a feeling for Frank because he was brought up in the same neighborhood I came from but I guess Frank thought that I was looking for something. I hope the reader does not misunderstand me, I don't mean that the talk was very loose it was something that I knew because I was close with the people that were talking about it. If Frank Costello reads this what I am saying I am sure that he would understand what I am saying. I wasn't trying to double cross anyone it was only because I thought that Frank was a better man than Vito Genovese. It just happened in life that somehow through the years that I never had a chance to meet Frank so that he would be able to know me better. He Frank was under the impression that I was a troublemaker because I got in trouble at least a half dozen times. What he did not know was that I was fighting for my respect. Well Frank should know if I was in a position to know something I glad you make it Frank but only I know why I tried to get close to you. Well its too bad that you misunderstood me. Now Mr. Frank as long as I am on the subject I might as well tell you about your friend Johnnie Dio. When Johnnie Dio and I were in the ANO in Atlanta we had a talk about you. He Johnnie Dio dod not know that you had made up with Vito Genovese
- 899 -
so he Johnnie Dio was telling me that he did not know what to do when he will meet you because he had instruction to give you the cold shoulder because you were on the outs with Vito Genovese so he Johnnie asked me what I was going to do when I met him. I told Johnnie Dio that we are in jail and in jail one must forget the outside world. Well anyway we find out that you make up with Vito and when we met you Johnnie Dio fell all over you and you gave me the cold hello. Well Frank I don't know if Johnnie told you but I felt like giving you one good rap in the mouth believe me. You remember how I spoke to you the second time that I met you at West Street I told you that I did not care about the old man. I knew all the time that he Vito was a phony. I'll tell you some more later. Think about it Frank. By the way I meant to tell you that if they don't make a raid on the ABC Board in 1956 I never would had lost my license. Tony Bender had good connections and the authorities in the ABC Board will tell Tony that the Narcotics Agents were always coming up there and wanted the Lido Restaurant closed but the ABC Board would ignore them but when they got in a jam two of them committed suicide by throwing themselves out the window. After the new board took over the agents were successful in closing the Lido Restaurant even though the Lido Restaurant was not doing anything wrong. When the agents used to come in the Lido one could notice that they were envious. They tried in vain to catch something in the restaurant