In 1971, the Chicago mob, known as the Outfit, sent an enforcer to Las Vegas to keep an eye on its casino interests. When he wasn’t busy taking action against threats to their cash-skimming activities, he ran lucrative street rackets that included loan sharking, robbery, burglary, and fencing stolen goods. For the next 15 years nothing happened in the Las Vegas underworld without his knowledge and approval. His name was Tony Spilotro. In the 1995 movie Casino, Joe Pesci played a character based on Spilotro.
This book tells the real story of Tony’s time in Sin City and the law’s efforts to remove him. It was compiled from many sources, including books, public records, and newspaper archives. But in large part it is told by the former Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detectives and FBI agents themselves; the men that actually conducted the investigations, and the current and former reporters who covered the organized crime beat.
In the pages of this book, the commander of Metro’s Intelligence Bureau tells what strategies were put in place to combat Spilotro and his ruthless gang. The reader rides along with a pair of Metro detectives as an evening of routine surveillance turns violent and deadly, and joins FBI agents as they track bags full of unreported cash from mob-controlled casinos in Vegas to the crime families in Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Kansas City. It contains the inside details of the night Spilotro’s burglary crew broke into a business expecting a $1 million score, but instead walked into a joint Metro and FBI ambush. It also explains why one of Tony’s once-trusted lieutenants switched sides, sending shockwaves through organized crime families nationwide.
The adulterous relationship between Spilotro and the wife of his long-time pal and mob associate, Lefty Rosenthal is delved into. Rosenthal was considered to be a sports betting genius, and had been a major power in the Vegas gaming business until Tony arrived in town. After that, what could have been a panacea for both men turned into a nightmare. The affair between Tony and Geri Rosenthal was more than likely a contributing factor in the Outfit’s decision that Tony was expendable, resulting in his being beaten to death and buried in an Indiana cornfield in 1986.
An intriguing mix of people are unveiled as the author takes his readers back in time to the mob days in Vegas : Lawmen that were heroes, and other cops that were rogues. There are gangsters who robbed and murdered; rats and informants who played both sides, crooked hotel and casino employees, dedicated prosecutors, and journalists that had to walk a fine line to maintain credibility with both the lawmen and the mobsters.
The Battle for Las Vegas: The Law vs. The Mob, contains many photos and insights that won’t be found elsewhere.
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