Read Rothstein Online

Authors: David Pietrusza

Tags: #Urban, #New York (State), #Sociology, #Social Science, #True Crime, #20th Century, #Criminology, #New York (N.Y.), #New York, #General, #Criminals & Outlaws, #Criminals, #baseball, #Sports & Recreation, #Nineteen twenties, #Biography & Autobiography, #Crime, #Biography, #History

Rothstein

BOOK: Rothstein
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Also by DAVID PIETRUSZA

Teddy Ballgame: My Life in Pictures (with Ted Williams)

Judge and jury: The Life and Times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis

The Roaring Twenties

Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball (co-editor)

Baseball: The Biographical Encyclopedia (co-editor)

Lights On! The Wild Century-Long Saga of Night Baseball

Major Leagues

Baseball’s Canadian American League

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DAVID PIETRUSZA

To Cathy Karp Who I look up to.

The Players in Our Drama-ix

CHAPTER I • “I’ve Been Shot” • 1

CHAPTER 2 • “Nobody Loves Me” • 15

CHAPTER 3 • “Everyone Gambled” • 23

CHAPTER 4 • “Why Not Get Married?” • 41

CHAPTER 5 • “I’ve Got Plans” • 52

CHAPTER 6 • “He’ll Crucify the Big Feller” • 66

CHAPTER 7 • “Let’s Go Looking for Some Action” • 92

CHAPTER 8 . “Take Any Price” • 104

CHAPTER 9 • “Chicken Feed” • 123

CHAPTER I0 • “I Never Take My Troubles to the Cops” • 136

CHAPTER 111 • “AM WIRING YOU TWENTY GRAND” • 147

CHAPTER I2 • “I Wasn’t In On It” • 169

CHAPTER 13 • “The Chic Thing to Have Good Whiskey” • 193

CHAPTER 14 • “The Man to See Was Arnold Rothstein” • 209

CHAPTER 15 • “I Can’t Trust a Drunk” • 219

CHAPTER 16 • “I Don’t Bet On … Boxing” • 232

CHAPTER 17 • “I’m Not a Gambler” • 244

CHAPTER 18 • “I Will Be Alone” • 268

CHAPTER 19 • “Will I Pull Through?” • 284

CHAPTER 20 • Coverup: “A Decenter, Kinder Man

I Never Knew” • 294

CHAPTER 21 • “Tell Me Who is Using My Money for Dope” • 316

CHAPTER 22 • Aftermath: “A Wonderful Box” • 330

CHAPTER 23 • Case Closed: “I Did It, You Know”’ 343

CHAPTER 24 • Epilogue • 357

Notes • 388

Bibliography • 450

Acknowledgments • 465

Index • 467

NICKY ARNSTEIN

Debonair international con man. Multimilliondollar bond thief. Wandering husband of Fanny Brice. Arnold Rothstein’s admirer, partner, and fall guy.

ABE ATTELL

Featherweight champion of the world. A.R.‘s gambling buddy and bodyguard-as well as his indiscreet henchman in fixing the 1919 World Series.

GEORGE YOUNG BAUCHLE

Wastrel heir to the YD’S licorice fortune. A.R.‘s front man at the Partridge Club, Manhattan’s poshest floating card game.

LIEUTENANT CHARLES BECKER

Crooked and brutal police vice squad chief. His downfall paves the way for Rothstein to begin his career as the great middleman between the machine, the mob, and the cops.

HENRY “KID” BECKER

The Kid conjured up the idea of fixing a World Series. Too bad he didn’t live to enjoy it.

AUGUST BELMONT 11.

Millionaire high-society sportsman. Erstwhile racetrack partner of Rothstein, but he eventually demanded A.R.‘s expulsion from New York’s tracks.

FANNY BRICE

Broadway’s “Funny Lady” found husband Nicky Arnstein’s illegal schemes with A.R. no laughing matter, nor the collateral he demanded to provide bail for her incarcerated spouse.

LEPKE BUCHALTER

New York’s most vicious labor-union racketeer got his start with A.R. He got the chair from District Attorney Tom Dewey.

SLEEPY BILL BURNS

A.R. fixed it for Burns and his partner Billy Maharg to take the fall if anything went wrong in fixing the 1919 World Series. It did.

ASSEMBLYMAN MAURICE CANTOR

A.R.‘s last attorney and the thief at his deathbed.

GEORGE M. COHAN

Broadway’s “Yankee Doodle Dandy” knew when to bet and when not to bet on a World Series.

STEPHEN CRANE

The bestselling author (The Red Badge of Courage) who risked his reputation, his physical safety, and his friendship with Theodore Roosevelt to expose police corruption in 1890s New York.

NICK THE GREEK DANDOLOS

America’s most fabled gambler-and Rothstein’s favorite pigeon.

MARION DAVIES

Model, Broadway sensation, film star, William Randolph Hearst’s longtime mistress, and the target of Bill Fallon’s greatest courtroom scam.

WILL DAVIS

He drifted in from California, tried to rob A.R. at gunpoint, made A.R. a fortune in horseracing tips, and departed just as mysteriously as he arrived.

JACK “THE MANASSA MAULER” DEMPSEY

Heavyweight champion of the world in the Golden Age of Sports. Did A.R. plot to cheat him of his crown?

BIG BILL DEVERY

Being New York’s shadiest police commissioner, didn’t stop Big Bill from becoming the first owner of the New York Yankees.

LEGS DIAMOND

Strong-arm artist. Thief. Labor goon. Bootlegger. Speakeasy operator. A.R’s merciless (and seemingly bulletproof) bodyguard.

DRAPER DOUGHERTY:

The attorney general’s alcoholic son on the Big Bankroll’s payroll.

MONK EASTMAN

The original dim-witted but brutal East Side hoodlum. When A.R. wanted a loan repaid, he used the thuggish Eastman to collect.

NAT EVANS

A.R.‘s partner in Saratoga and Long Island gambling houses; his underling in fixing a World Series.

BILL “THE GREAT MOUTHPIECE” FALLON

The Roaring 20s most flamboyant and successful criminaldefense attorney. Rothstein and Fallon did a lot of business together, but that didn’t keep the duo from profoundly despising one another.

BRIDGET FARRY

The hotel chambermaid who knew too much. A spell in jail eventually made her forget much.

NAT FERBER

Manhattan’s premier investigative journalist made life uncomfortable for A.R.‘s cronies.

BIG TOM FOLEY

Powerful downtown Tammany district leader and Governor Al Smith’s mentor. Protector of the city’s crooked Wall Street firms. A.R.‘s go-to guy at Tammany.

EDWARD M. FULLER

Mastermind of Wall Street’s biggest con operation. Even A.R.‘s connections and Bill Fallon’s skills couldn’t keep this miscreant out of Sing Sing.

WILLIAM JAY GAYNOR

New York’s irascible reform mayor. He battled Tammany, took a bullet in the head, and did his best to “preserve outward order and decency. “

BILLY GIBSON

He managed boxing champions Gene Tunney and Benny Leonard and made sure he remained on Arnold Rothstein’s good side.

WAXEY GORDON

A.R. bankrolled Gordon ‘s bootlegging operations, but only if Waxey did it Arnold’s much more profitable way.

WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST

The controversial press lord who tried to break Tammany. Instead, he found his own private life on the front page.

INSPECTOR DOMINICK HENRY

An honest cop. He dared question why A.R. got away with shooting three other cops.

JIMMY HINES

Tammany’s powerful and wealthy boss of West Harlem. He netted a fortune from Prohibition and the numbers racket and spent a good part of it covering up the facts of A.R.‘s slaying.

MAXIE “Boo Boo” HOFF

Philadelphia’s gangland boss who helped A.R. win $500,000 on the first Dempsey-Tunney fight.

MAYOR JAMES J. “RED MIKE” HYLAN

Jimmy Walker’s obtuse and Hearst-controlled predecessor at City Hall. He battled Rothstein, but to no avail.

SHOELESS JOE JACKSON

Baseball’s greatest natural hitter. Joe pocketed A.R.‘s ten grand to throw the 1919 Fall Classic, then complained he didn’t get more. Say it ain’t so, Joe.

ALBERT “KILLER” JOHNSON

He thought Arnold would never go to the cops after he robbed A.R.‘s highstakes poker game. He guessed wrong.

BYRON “BAN” JOHNSON

The most powerful man in baseball thought he had a deal with the man who fixed the World Series. You can’t cheat an honest man.

PEGGY HOPKINS JOYCE

Actress. Showgirl. Gold digger. Joyce augmented her income by steering rich suckers to A.R.‘s Times Square gambling house.

DOT KING

The murdered Follies showgirl. She was A.R.‘s tenant. Was she one of his drug runners?

FIORELLO “THE LITTLE FLOWER” LA GUARDIA

East Harlem’s crusading congressman. He hoped to win the mayoralty by exposing Tammany’s Rothstein connections.

AARON J. LEVY

Majority leader of the New York State Assembly. Wily defense attorney and fixer in the Rosenthal murder case. He graduated to the bench and to protecting A.R.-connected gambling clubs.

LEO LINDY

Gangsters, entertainers, newspaper people all made his Times Square restaurant their unofficial headquarters. But no more than did Arnold Rothstein.

CAPTAIN ALFRED LOEWENSTEIN

The “World’s Richest Man.” Was Loewenstein also A.R.‘s partner in the world’s biggest drug ring?

LUCKY LUCIANO

A.R. picked this cheap little hoodlum off the streets and turned him into an elegant, rich hoodlum.

MEYER LANSKY

Rothstein recognized “Little Man “‘s talents and helped make him into the next Rothstein.

JOHN J. “THE LITTLE NAPOLEON” MCGRAW.

Baseball’s greatest manager. A.R.‘s partner in his popular Herald Square pool hall.

GEORGE “HUMP” MCMANUS.

The Times Square gambler indicted for A.R’s November 1928 murder. Did the big Irishman actually pull the trigger?

JIMMY MEEHAN

Small-time professional gambler. His apartment witnessed Broadway’s biggest and deadliest poker game.

WILSON MIZNER

The Times Square wit (“Be nice to people on the way up … you’ll meet the same people on the way down. “) who tried and failed to trim A.R.‘s ego.

CHARLES FRANCIS MURPHY

Tammany Hall’s savviest, most powerful, and resilient boss. He relied on Rothstein to deal with Gotham’s emerging mob.

INEZ NORTON.

A.R.‘s last mistress. She thought they’d live happily-and luxuriously-ever after.

COL. LEVI P. NUTT

The federal drug czar with a secret to hide.

NIGGER NATE RAYMOND

The swarthy West Coast gambler who took A.R. for $300,000 in a single card game, but never collected.

GEORGE GRAHAM RICE

Inventor of the racing tip sheet. Pioneer stock swindler. Even he could learn a lot from Arnold Rothstein.

TEX RICKARD

Boxing’s greatest promoter and a man who sensed the great Rothstein ‘s demise was just around the corner.

RED RITTER

The filthy street urchin whom A.R. tried to befriend, but failed.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

His skillful handling of the scandals that followed A.R.‘s murder helped lead FDR from the governor’s mansion to the White House.

HERMAN “BEANSY” ROSENTHAL

A fatally indiscreet Times Square gambler. Being Rothstein’s friend couldn’t save him from being rubbed out.

SUBWAY SAM ROSOFF

The rags-to-riches construction magnate whom even A.R. feared at the gambling table.

ABRAHAM ROTHSTEIN

Arnold Rothstein’s upright, intensely religious, and longsuffering father.

ARNOLD ROTHSTEIN

King of Manhattan gamblers. The Big Bankroll. Criminal genius. Mastermind of the 1919 World Series. Moneylender. Drug kingpin. Bootlegging pioneer. Gambling house and casino operator. Fencer of millions in stolen jewels and bonds. Labor-union racketeer. Broadway angel. The ultimate political gobetween. Mentor to a whole generation of New York thugs, hoodlums, and felons.

BERTRAM “HARRY” ROTHSTEIN.

Arnold’s jealousy of his older brother helped propel him into rebellion and a life in the underworld.

CAROLYN ROTHSTEIN

Arnold Rothstein’s former showgirl wife. She faced the agony of with highstakes anxiety, lonely nights, murder plots-and her husband’s string of younger showgirl mistresses.

DAMON RUNYON

Fabled chronicler of Arnold Rothstein’s Broadway, author of Guys and Dolls. He shared whispers with A.R. just before Rothstein walked up Broadway to his violent end.

ABE SCHER

Night cashier at Lindy’s. He took the call that summoned A.R. to his death.

JUDGE SAMUEL SEABURY

The patrician politician who brought down Rothstein’s pals in Tammany Hall.

WILLIE SHEA

Greed and booze cost Shea his share of Rothstein’s lucrative 46th Street gambling house.

ALFRED E. SMITH

New York governor. The first Catholic presidential candidate. Protege of A.R.‘s pal, Big Tom Foley, and sworn enemy of William Randolph Hearst.

SIDNEY STAJER

Drug addict. Petty criminal. And one of A.R.‘s closest friends.

CHARLES STONEHAM

Highstakes gambler. Owner of the New York Giants. He depended on A.R. to protect his crooked Wall Street operations from the law.

HERBERT BAYARD SWOPE

Legendary journalist. Adviser to presidents-and best man at A.R.‘s wedding.

JOSEPH J. “SPORT” SULLIVAN

The Boston bookmaker who helped A.R. pay off the 1919 Black Sox.

BIG TIM SULLIVAN

A.R.‘s earliest patron. State senator. Congressman. Tammany boss of the Lower East Side. Theater and amusement-park baron. Protector of vice. Father of gun control-and accessory to murder.

CIRO “THE ARTICHOKE KING” TERRANOVA

BOOK: Rothstein
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