Boardwalk Gangster: The Real Lucky Luciano
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For the first twenty-five years of his career, Lucky Luciano was a vicious mobster who became the king of the New York underworld. For the next twenty-five, he was a fake, his reputation maintained by government agents. Boardwalk Gangster follows him from his early days as a hit man to his sex and narcotics empires, exposing the truth about what he did to help the Allies in World War II, and revealing how he really spent his twilight years.
Drawing on secret government documents in the United States and Europe, this myth-busting biography tells a story that has never been told before―in which the American Mafia becomes entangled with foreign war and Cold War conspiracy.
Rosi movie. Valachi, Lansky, and Bonanno quotes from previously cited sources. Monzelli quotes from D. Hanna, Vito Genovese, New York: Belmont Tower Books, 1974. Bonanno’s Palermo Mafia conference is described in Sterling, C., Octopus: The Long Reach of the International Sicilian Mafia, New York: WW Norton & Co., 1990; see also P. Arlacchi, Addio Cosa Nostra: La vita di Tommaso Buscetta, Milan: Rizzoli, 1994. But Sterling gives too much weight to Buscetta’s claim that Luciano set up the
York. Called Madges, it was so well known in the area that local politicians frequently joked about it in public and even used it to entertain business associates. Madges had been around for twenty-six years, said the local informant, and was very well protected by the local police and a few state troopers. In fact, those state troopers were on a “free list” who got taken care of by the girls in the brothel and even recommended out-of-towners to it. Local bartenders and taxi drivers all got a
possibilities of graft are said to be great.” A letter dated March 6 from FBI Assistant Director A. Rosen said the newspaper stories about Luciano’s assistance to navy and army authorities “might be laid to a fraudulent affidavit on the part of Commander Charles Radcliffe Haffenden.” In the same letter, Rosen said that despite Haffenden receiving a Purple Heart for wounds in combat, Special Agent Conroy said that Haffenden had received no such wounds and was “hospitalized as a result of a large
There are some references in contemporary newspapers to Luciano being involved in smuggling narcotics from Europe to America, but it is certainly not on the massive scale of either the Communist Chinese or the Mexicans. In January 1948, the New York Daily Mirror reported that federal authorities seized the biggest cache of contraband opium since 1941—fifty pounds of opium in raw gum form and ten pounds of opium with a value of $300,000, but with a street value when cut of more than $1 million.
wanted Costello to remain in charge of affairs, but recognized Genovese’s seniority by letting him take over the business while Costello paid back Las Vegas money to the Mob. Costello—ever the great politician of the syndicate—also worked hard to pay full respect to Genovese, but this wasn’t clear enough for the wannabe boss of bosses. “Vito should have understood that from the way Frankie handled a charity dinner he gave at the Copacabana in 1949,” recalled retired mafioso Angelo Torriani.