Friedman's Astonishing True Story
is Captivating and Memorable with
...a Touch of Humor
THE BUILDING OF THE LAS VEGAS STRIP WAS FINANCED
BY ELEGANT ILLEGAL CASINOS & SMUGGLED CARGOES
Members of four major organized-crime gangs made up 80% of the principal developers of the Las Vegas Strip during its Golden Era from the opening of the Flamingo in 1946 to the opening of Caesars Palace in 1966. Bill Friedman’s speech highlights the remarkable careers of these four gangs’ leaders during the three decades prior to their moving to Las Vegas.
“45 years of research is just one-part of the ‘Untold Story.’ The most signiﬁcant part is the many hours and years I spent with ‘The Four Gangs’ as they described to me their incredible journeys to become the pioneers of the Las Vegas Strip’s casinos.”
Three of these gangs were Prohibition’s largest and most successful by far. The smallest of these three elite gangs smuggled more than 100 million bottles of the world’s finest and most expensive liquors into this country every year during the Roaring ‘20s and the early Great Depression years of the 1930s. They faced serious threat from violent robbery the moment their oceanic freighters stopped at sea near the U.S. territorial boundary to transfer their valuable cargoes to fleets of high-speed boats. These raced to isolated shore enclaves while attempting to avoid the Navy destroyers’ powerful lights and large guns and the pursuit of fast Coast-Guard cutters and pirate craft. On shore they loaded their cargoes into long truck convoys. As they crossed the countryside they remained vigilant for possible ambush by hijacking gangs lurking along the route.
During the 1930s and 1940s after Prohibition, these four gangs operated illegal casinos across the country. Just like today casinos were wide-open to the public, but these gambling rooms were much more elegant than today’s Las Vegas Strip casinos and they attracted large numbers of high-end players. Each gambling room was fronted by the locale’s finest restaurant or leading nightclub. Some casinos required men to wear tuxedos in order to gain entry, and one even insisted men be in all-white tie and tailcoat tuxedos. The gamblers’ wives were adorned in their finest gowns, furs, and jewelry.
THESE GANG LEADER’S CONTROLLED POLITICS &
FACED VIOLENT TURF WARS
“This is the story of the Strip pioneers’ amazing and challenging three-decades that led them to Las Vegas.”They controlled a number of powerful big-city political machines which allied to support mutual interests. The leaders also cooperated in the surprisingly complex politics of the underworld that more than once drew the major gangs across the country into wars that drove the members into secret hideouts.
Bill Friedman’s previously untold unique stories cover these men’s business challenges, competitive conflicts, underworld political intrigues and battles, law enforcement prosecutions and persecutions, and threats by powerful and unscrupulous politicians with Machiavellian personal agendas. These seven gang leaders, along with some legitimate businessmen in various fields, became bigger-than-life heroes as they courageously tried to fend off the appalling actions of the most dastardly underworld gangsters and ruthless overworld politicians.
When these seven were young men they became gang leaders at the inception of organized crime and went on to become the most powerful criminals in history. They topped off their careers by pioneering the Las Vegas Strip resorts which accorded them legitimacy and respectability for the first time. Bill Friedman spent
his adult life researching these men because, “They were the most fascinating men I ever encountered and led the most incredible lives of anyone I have read about in history.”
YOU WILL MEET INCREDIBLE CHARACTERS & DISCOVER
THE UNBELIEVABLE EVENTS OF THEIR UNIQUE LIFESTYLES
These seven key underworld leaders committed just two types of crimes - liquor importing and gambling – both victimless. They choose their primary crime specialty of gambling because like everyone in organized crime they wanted to separate people from their money but they wanted to do it without physically hurting anyone. To paraphrase a Damon Runyon quote: “Much as they are opposed to law-breaking, they are not bigoted about it.”
“Nobody ran the Strip casinos like the mob. They knew how to take care of customers!”
These men were a most unlikely group to become leaders of the underworld because they rejected the core values of organized crime and the Mafia. They spent their careers preaching against violence except in self defense and against territorial monopolies. Instead they advocated peaceful resolution of conflicts, wide-open competition, and cooperation. It is absolutely amazing how many times these seven convinced competitors across the country to stop fighting and work together.
These seven rose to the top of the underworld and were highly successful in many legal and illegal businesses and also in politics because each was the epitome of integrity and was a consummate negotiator and compromiser. They were the most highly-respected men of their times in both the underworld and overworld.
To this day old Las Vegans talk about the town’s mob with fond memory because these seven men had extraordinary integrity and ideals rarely equaled in the overworld. What is even more impressive about these men is that none ever violated their principles even though they regularly dealt with and had to face off against the most dangerous and vicious criminals in this country.
These three gangs’ seven leaders always cooperated with the Chicago gang’s succession of leaders, partnering in illegal and legal businesses, allying in politics, and working together to develop the resorts of the Las Vegas Strip. Their collaboration was based on mutual interest but it brought together the most incompatible values possible. Chicago’s plug uglies were the greediest, expansionist, ruthless, and murderous in the underworld.
THE UNLIKELY ALLIANCES BETWEEN THE BEST &
THE WORST OF THE GANGS
It was inevitable that the wanton violence of the Windy City gangsters would eventually come into dramatic confrontation with the ideals of the leaders of the other three gangs. This relationship is best illustrated by the remarkable fact that the three tight-knit leaders sat alongside each other across a table from Al Capone to sanction him in a way the law never could and force him to end his long gang war of attrition with Chicago’s North Siders.
“The inside scoop on how four gangs came together to build the Las Vegas Strip.”
The nation’s three premier gang leaders humbled Big Al that day, but this did not shake his great admiration for them. For decades to come he and his successors would continue to partner in various businesses and ally in politics.
It is an incredible irony that both the most dangerous gang leader in history and the most murderous leader committed their large gangs to backing the peace policies of these seven men. Both gangsters did pay a price for adhering to these seven men’s goals and compromises instead of acting out on their own violent instincts, but their personal loyalty never wavered.