The Chicago Syndicate: Bugsy Siegel

Showing posts with label Bugsy Siegel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bugsy Siegel. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Mafia Legends

Friends of ours: Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel

Biography Presents Mafia Legends is an iffy grab bag of Biography profiles on three of organized crime's most notorious gangsters: Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and Bugsy Siegel. A bonus fourth disc, Mob Hitman comes from A&E's American Justice series. Quickly edited, with a nice selection of archival footage and stills, these glossy but essentially superficial bios certainly move well enough, and hit the highlights of these infamous mobsters. But there's a certain nagging sense of romanticism to two of the bios which makes this collection a questionable purchase.

There are quite a few genuine historians out there who have nothing but contempt for channels like The History Channel, A&E, and The Biography Channel – as I find out every time I praise one of their DVD box set releases. But I would imagine that most viewers of those channels and their programs understand that, as with all historical studies, interpretation of facts – and the crucial omission or inclusion of certain facts – largely determines the worth or value of such an exploration. Unlike the studied historians who may occasionally email me, chiding me for recommending series like Lost Worlds or Dogfights when even the tiniest factual errors are found, most viewers of Biography documentaries such as Biography Presents Mafia Legends understand that these are entertainments first, meant to gather an audience, and serious education second.

That being said, there still appears to be a slightly disingenuous slant to two of the docs presented here – Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel – that make them less-than-stellar inclusions for this themed box set. Not being a big fan of romanticized tales of real-life thugs, criminals and murderers, the tone of Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel left a somewhat bad taste in my mouth. It's not that the documentaries go out of their way to re-write history and say these psychotics were in reality good guys, but there's a persuasive feeling of almost grudging hero-worship, if you will, that illustrates a sloppy (and dishonest) approach to the filmmakers' (or the network who may have had final cut) vision.

While each documentary chronicles in full a wistful, almost fatalistic approach to these two vicious criminals, they spend almost no serious time chronicling their ugly crimes. Watching Lucky Luciano: Chairman of the Mob, one might get the notion that Lucky Luciano was really nothing more than a patriotic American businessman who helped keep the New York docks free of sabotage during WWII, and who gave the Army instructions on how to invade Italy safely – only to be "stabbed in the back" by the ungrateful U.S. government who deported him. Expert after expert testify to his brilliance and genius, while the documentary ends on a sad note, with Lucky's final, lonely days in exile in his fabulous Italian penthouse. The filmmakers even pull out a picture of Lucky with his dog to tug at your heartstrings – I guess if he was good to his dog, he was an okay guy, right? But almost no time is spent on the early part of his life, where he earned convictions for pimping, extortions, theft, and almost nothing is said about his role in numerous murders. As well, the dubious notion that Luciano "loved" this country above all else is put forth without any serious questions, such as perhaps, as some theorists believe, Luciano and the mob were behind the dock sabotages in the first place during WWII, and they used it as extortion against the government. As with almost any philanthropic endeavor that Luciano supported, it was usually to cover his illegal activities.

Watching Bugsy Siegel, the same kind of romanticized approach is used, with Siegel coming off as some kind of starry-eyed dreamer who should be remembered as the "inventor" of Las Vegas, and not for the psychotic killer who terrified those around him. Again, almost no time is spent documenting the actual crimes that Siegel committed, including murder, extortion, white slavery, and assault, that earned him his place in organized crime. But plenty of time is spent discussing his sartorial splendor, his charm, his good looks, his Hollywood connections, his "epic" love affair with Virginia Hill, and of course, his dream of the Flamingo Hotel out in the desert. For all purposes, Bugsy Siegel may as well be a documentary on a movie star, and not a real-life vicious thug and criminal.

The other two documentaries fare much better here in the Biography Presents Mafia Legends box set. Al Capone: Scarface is brought in straight down the middle. It's factual, and dispassionate in showing not only the fame that came to Capone, but also the unrelenting violence and murderous impulses that led to his downfall. It doesn't sugar coat his life, and it certainly doesn't glamorize or romanticize it. Capone is portrayed as he was: a well-organized criminal who murdered and extorted his way to the top of an empire, and who died insane from the aftereffects of syphilis, contracted from one of the many prostitutes he frequented. It's a sobering, insightful look at a criminal who's received far more "fame" than he deserves – and almost all of that fame for the wrong reasons (the final shots of a gift store in Chicago, which has an audiotronic Al Capone, speaking like one of the Presidents in Disneyland's Hall of Presidents, is pretty mind-blowing after seeing what the guy was all about).

Even more gritty and deglamorized, Mob Hitmen, the final bonus disc in the Biography Presents Mafia Legends box set, comes from the frequently compelling A&E series American Justice, hosted by Bill Kurtis. Featuring interviews with real mob killers, and using archival surveillance footage and audio samples, Mob Hitmen plays like a junior-league Donnie Brasco, and it's a welcome, if minor note contribution to this DVD box set. While it's an intriguing documentary, it's scope is somewhat narrow in conjunction with the oversized subjects of the previous three docs, so its inclusion is not the best fit here in Biography Presents Mafia Legends. If a bonus doc was needed with a more modern slant, perhaps one discussing a major mob figure from more recent days, such as John Giotti, would have been more appropriate. Still, the always professional, low-key, and most importantly serious delivery of host Bill Kurtis is a most welcome relief from the totally inappropriate, jovial, smiling smarminess of host Jack Perkins, who hosts the other three documentaries ("Bugsy, as he was known, liked to kill people!").

Here are the 4, one hour documentaries included in the four disc box set, Biography Presents Mafia Legends, as described on their hardshell cases:

Al Capone: Scarface
In the thrilling underworld of speakeasies, Tommy guns, and turf wars, Al Capone was the undisputed emperor of 1920s Chicago. "Scarface" -- a nickname born from the consequences of a violent encounter in his youth -- was many things to many people: a ruthless and vindictive murderer, a generous patron, and a glamorous impresario. Capone's legacy, however, will forever be marked by his role as the most notorious gangster in American history. In this in-depth biography, follow Capone's journey from the immigrant Brooklyn neighborhood of his youth to the glittering circles of Chicago's powerful elite, and finally to his years of imprisonment and his death at the age of 48. Al Capone: Scarface reveals rare photographs and exclusive interviews to paint an extraordinary portrait of the rise and fall of America's ultimate anti-hero.

Biography - Bugsy Siegel (A&E DVD Archives)
He was handsome. He was glamorous. And in a seedy underworld of ruthless murderers, he was the most vicious of them all. Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel first made his mark as a hitman on the gang-run streets of Brooklyn, New York. Yet, his fame was solidified amid the Hollywood hills where his unique gangster/playboy image made him a legend. In this fascinating portrait, see rare footage of the dapper mobster and witness exclusive interviews with acquaintances and enemies alike. Examine Siegel's greatest legacy as the founding father of glittering Las Vegas, Nevada, and listen as mob insiders reveal the details of Siegel's ultimate betrayal at the hands of his best friend.

Lucky Luciano: Chairman of the Mob
He wrote his name in blood and made himself the Boss of Bosses. Arriving in America at the age of nine and embarking upon a life of crime at 14, Charles "Lucky" Luciano rose through the ranks of the New York Mafia like a shot. By 34, Lucky ran the Sicilian mob like a major corporation: diversifying rackets, organizing gangs, and running his own political candidates. Lucky Luciano: Chairman of the Mob investigates Lucky's 30-year career as the CEO of Murder, Inc. through rare interviews and extensive archival footage. Listen as mob insiders reminisce about meetings held in Luciano's Waldorf-Astoria headquarters and witness the top-secret war efforts that earned Lucky parole from a 50-year sentence.

Mob Hitmen
They are the most feared figures in the business of organized crime -- the triggermen whose job it is to eliminate contentious witnesses, rivals, and fellow mobsters in accordance with their bosses' orders. Today, the modern mob hitman – or woman -- is a different breed than the Tommy-gun-toting stereotype of popular Hollywood gangster films. He or she may wear several different hats in the organization, killing when ordered, but performing more mundane tasks in the interim. In this chilling expose, American Justice ventures inside the bloody mob wars that have scarred Philadelphia over the past decade. In addition to interviews with some of the mob's most notorious triggermen and women, Mob Hitman features footage and news accounts of the city's recent brutal mob hits, and introduces viewers to the police and prosecutors who have devoted their lives to catching these shadowy killers.

Thanks to Paul Mavis

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Goodbye Fellas

Friends of ours: Joseph Valachi, Bugsy Siegal, Frank Sinatra, Sam Giancana, Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, Carlo Gambino, Paul Castellano, John Gotti

The perspective on organized crime that Thomas A. Reppetto developed from his career in law enforcement and more than 20 years as president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, tempered by a Harvard Ph.D., paid off handsomely in his 2004 book, “American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power,” which described the mob’s growth to its pinnacle in the mid-20th century. The writing was lucid, concise and devoid of sensationalism, rare qualities in the plethora of books by turncoat mobsters and their ex-wives, journalists, cops and aged Las Vegas insiders. This equally well-written sequel, “Bringing Down the Mob,” chronicles the Mafia’s near demise over the past 50 years. Following this specific thread of American history, general readers will benefit from Reppetto’s cogent examples of how changes in the culture at large affected both the mob itself and the tactics employed by law enforcement. Organized-crime buffs will be familiar with much of the material, but unaccustomed to seeing it assembled into so big and coherent a picture.

In 1950 and ’51, the Kefauver Senate committee’s televised hearings on the Mafia introduced mobsters into American living rooms, the lasting images being close-ups of Frank Costello’s manicured hands — he did not want his face on camera. The public outcry was short-lived and the Mafia cruised comfortably until 1957, when, in Apalachin, N.Y. (population 350), more than 60 Mafia notables attended a conference that was raided by the state police. As Reppetto says, the media have often presented the raid as “some hick cops stumbling on a mob conclave.” He debunks that interpretation and shows how the publicity moved the resistant J. Edgar Hoover to action, so that “from Apalachin on, the United States government was at war with the Mafia.”

As attorney general, Robert F. Kennedy led the next sustained attack on organized crime. He focused obsessively and successfully on Jimmy Hoffa, who was allied with the Mafia while serving as president of the two-million-member Teamsters union. Kennedy also brought before the TV cameras Joe Valachi, a low-level Mafia soldier who, with some coaching, provided extensive information “without revealing that much of it had been obtained through legally questionable electronic eavesdropping.” A new name for the Mafia emerged from the hearings — La Cosa Nostra — which allowed Hoover to say he had been right all along: there was no Mafia; there was a Cosa Nostra organization, exposed by the F.B.I.

In the 1960s and ’70s, Las Vegas provided a battlefield on which the F.B.I., armed with bugging equipment (and caught using it illegally in 1965), defeated the mob, which had been involved from the start of significant gambling in Nevada in the 1940s. Bugsy Siegel put up one of the first casinos on the Strip, the Flamingo. Las Vegas was designated an “open city,” in which any mob family could operate. As Reppetto writes, mobsters “secured Teamster loans to build casinos that they controlled through fronts, or ‘straw men.’ ” (Frank Sinatra lost his license as owner of a Nevada resort for allowing the Mafia boss Sam Giancana, reputedly his “hidden backer,” to frequent the hotel.) These casinos had overseers appointed by the controlling family to run “the skim,” cash siphoned off before the casino take was put on the books for tax purposes. The poorly chosen overseers played a large role in bringing down the mob in Las Vegas, generally being far too violent and unsophisticated to operate in a milieu that demanded a veneer of respectability. Reppetto points out the factual basis of much of Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese’s script for the film “Casino ,” including the chilling scene of Joe Pesci squeezing a victim’s head in a vise until an eye pops out (although that incident actually happened in Chicago). The mob’s management of Las Vegas turned out to be “a disaster,” Reppetto says. “Once it was the Mafia that was well run, while law enforcement plodded along. ... The situation was now reversed.” In the 1980s, corporations began to take control of the casinos.

One of the great hurdles the government had to clear at the start of its war on the Mafia, Reppetto says, was that the approach required to bring down a criminal organization ran “counter to general principles of American criminal justice”: “The usual practice, investigating a known crime in order to apprehend unknown culprits, was reversed. Now the government was investigating a known criminal to find crimes he might be charged with.” The most potent weapon was developed in 1970 — the RICO statute, to which Reppetto devotes a full chapter, pointing out that it took its creator, G. Robert Blakey, a decade of proselytizing before prosecutors would employ it.

A minor quibble: I think the book gives short shrift to the effect of the witness protection program, without which far fewer mobsters could have “flipped” over the years. As to Reppetto’s belief that the Mafia is in serious decline? At any time in the past, asking an average American to name major mob guys might well have elicited several of the following: Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, Carlo Gambino, Paul Castellano, John Gotti. Who comes to mind today?

Thanks to Vincent Patrick whose novels include “The Pope of Greenwich Village” and “Smoke Screen.”

Monday, November 20, 2006

Johnny Stompanato Development

Friends of ours: Johnny Stompanato, Mickey Cohen, Bugsy Siegal

Currently under development, Stompanato is a movie based on the true-life love affair of actress Lana Turner and gangster Johnny Stompanato.

While Sharon Stone had been associated with this project on and off, Catherine Zeta-Jones has recently been chosen to play Lana Turner. Supposedly, after the announcement that Catherine Zeta-Jones was cast as Lana Turner, a miffed Sharon Stone threw a fit. According to Stone, the late Turner tapped her as the actress to portray the screen legend's life. Whether that is true or not, I was never a fan of Sharon Stone at all. The biopic will detail the notorious murder of Turner's gangster boyfriend Johnny Stompanato (played by Keanu Reeves at the hands of Turner's daughter. Stone was attached to the film for years with projects falling through left and right. The bosses for the project wanted a younger actress, hence casting the 36-year-old Zeta-Jones over Stone. Scarlett Johansson is in talks to take the role of the daughter.

Johnny Stompanato and Lana TurnerStompanato was a small time hood who became the body guard for Mickey Cohen, the head of the West Coast "Mickey Mouse" mob. Cohen was the protege of Bugsy Siegal and took over Siegal's Hollywood operations after Siegal was whacked. Throughout their relationship, Stompanato was physically abusive to Turner, including beating her on the night of the Oscar's in 1958 where Turner was nominated for best actress. It was this abuse that led to Turner's daughter to defend her mother.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Induction Nominees for Las Vegas Mob Museum

Friends of ours: Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, Bugsy Siegel, Tony Accardo

Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro

Known as the Chicago mob's overseer in Las Vegas, Spilotro, 48, was brutally slain in 1986 along with his brother, Michael. Their bodies were found in an Indiana cornfield and the slayings were part of the movie "Casino."

Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel

The boss of West Coast gambling for the crime syndicate and an original member of Murder Inc., he came to Las Vegas in 1945. A year later, Siegel opened the Flamingo hotel on a dusty stretch of highway that soon would become known as the Strip. A shrewd businessman with an explosive temper, Siegel was executed in 1947 in Beverly Hills before he could see his Las Vegas dream come to fruition. More than 40 years later, Warren Beatty brought the gangster back to life in "Bugsy."

Anthony "Big Tuna" Accardo

Accardo rose from Al Capone's bodyguard to become the reputed boss of the Chicago crime syndicate. Under his leadership, the Chicago mob was the secret power behind Las Vegas casinos, skimming millions. He also was known as "Joe Batters," apparently a reference to his prowess as a mob enforcer. Though he had a long arrest record, he was never convicted of a felony and boasted that he had never spent a night in jail. Accardo died in 1992 at age 86.

Proposed by Michael Martinez

Las Vegas Godfathers to Get Mob Museum

Friends of ours: Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro, Jimmy Chagra, Nick Civella, Vinny Ferrara, Meyer Lansky, Natale Richichi, Nicky Scarfo
Friends of mine: Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal

Las Vegas' mayor gained fame and fortune defending mob titans. Now he wants a museum celebrating their role in building Sin City.

flamboyant, gin-sipping, sports-gambling, showgirl-squiring Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman gives a thumbs up to a Mob MuseumMayor Oscar Goodman, the flamboyant, gin-sipping, sports-gambling, showgirl-squiring executive of Sin City, is caught in a contradiction. For years he had told the world, "There is no mob." That was when he was a defense lawyer who represented mobsters and even had a cameo playing himself in Martin Scorsese's "Casino." Goodman said there were no mobsters--just alleged mobsters. Now, as mayor, he wants to take a National Historic Landmark, the old federal courthouse where he tried his first case, and turn it into a mob museum--and there's no alleged about it.

Many of Goodman's constituents and some former FBI agents are appalled by the idea, but Goodman insists he's just recognizing Vegas' founding fathers. Or godfathers. "The mob founded us, and I never apologized for them because I represented them, and they made me a rich man," he said.

Goodman, 67, who recalled representing an alleged mobster at Chicago's criminal courts complex known as "26th and Cal," is winning all verdicts in the political arena these days. He was re-elected in 2003 to a second term as mayor of Las Vegas with more than 85 percent of the vote.

If Goodman wants it, he gets it. And he wants a mob museum. "As long as I'm mayor," Goodman asserted, "we're going to keep on smiling at ourselves at how the mob founded us."

One of the most prominent founders was Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, a maverick underworld mastermind who was the boss of West Coast gambling for the crime syndicate and who opened the Flamingo hotel in 1946 on a forlorn patch of highway that eventually became known famously as the Strip.

Some wonder whether the museum will end up as a monument to Goodman's legal career and his extensive list of old clients: Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro of Chicago, Jimmy Chagra, Nick Civella, Vinny Ferrara, Frank Rosenthal, Meyer Lansky, Natale Richichi and Nicky Scarfo.

That compilation was made by author and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith, who wrote a book about Goodman, including how he despised mob snitches, in "Of Rats and Men: Oscar Goodman's Life from Mob Mouthpiece to Mayor of Las Vegas."

"Oscar's client list would fill any mob museum," said Smith, 46. "You know, he has represented members of various organized crime families literally from coast to coast. He's most known locally and in Chicago, of course, for his representation of Tony Spilotro."

Spilotro allegedly crushed the skull of one victim in a vise and later turned up dead in an Indiana cornfield in 1986. "Most locals here know him as a killer, but [Goodman] says he was a gentleman. . . . Of course Oscar never went on any long rides with Tony Spilotro, or he wouldn't have come back," Smith said.

The notion of a mob museum annoys the FBI agents who were Goodman's legal adversaries. "In my estimation, his purpose would be to glorify them," said Joe Yablonsky, 77, who retired as agent in charge of the FBI's Las Vegas office in 1984. "The only reason that he gets away with this is that he's in Vegas. If he was in some normal American city, he'd never make it."

Yablonsky, who spent the last four years of his FBI career in Las Vegas and now lives in Lady Lake, Fla., said many Vegas residents don't remember the violent days of mob-influenced casinos because most of them weren't living there then. The population of Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County is 1.8million, four times what it was in 1980. "If it were told truthfully, it would be OK, how we ridded the place of them and what they were really like," Yablonsky said. "They milked the place for all these dollars they took in the skim and . . . Spilotro was a hit guy, and we figured him for 22 whacks and that was supposed to be his role as enforcer. How is [Goodman] going to make him look good?"

The museum, which doesn't have a formal name yet, would be housed downtown across the street from City Hall in the old federal courthouse and post office, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, said Deputy City Manager Betsy Fretwell.

The city awarded a $7.5 million contract this month for an architect to design temporary and permanent galleries. The museum and cultural center is expected to cost $30 million.

City officials have yet to decide how the museum, which would open in 2008, will depict the Mafia, but Fretwell said it will be entertaining enough to hold its own against the stiff competition for which Vegas attractions are renowned.

Logo125x125buttonCity officials now refer to the building as the POST Modern, a word play on how they want a modern use for the old post office, which opened in 1933. The building's sole courtroom is perhaps best known as one of the sites used in 1950 for the U.S. Senate's televised Kefauver hearings, in which suspected crime figures were interrogated.

Because the museum is to address the history of organized crime in Las Vegas, exhibits could very well bear upon the mayor's career as a defense lawyer. "The mayor has a rich history as an attorney and may have things to contribute in terms of collections or oral history," Fretwell said.

An advisory board including local media members, a former chief of the Las Vegas FBI office and tourism officials has been formed, and a panel of historians also is being assembled, Fretwell said.

While a recent city-commissioned survey showed that out-of-town visitors preferred a mob museum in the old courthouse, locals more often preferred a museum devoted to "vintage Vegas," its architecture and entertainment evolution.

One resident, Wayne Haag, 45, a garbage collection driver, thought the mayor's idea cast a negative light on Las Vegas. "A Mafia museum--in a way, he's related to it. It's an old post office. Why [a Mafia museum]? To me, it's m-o-n-e-y," Haag said.

Thanks to Michael Martinez

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Saturday, September 10, 2005

From Al Capone, to a Mayor Richard Daley special:

The other big city with questionable alliances between the underworld, and the men who officially run things, is of course Chicago.

When I think of the Chicago mob, I think of Al Capone, as would anyone. As far as big hitters are concerned, he was definitely right up there at the top of the mafia tree, along with his old New York pal, Charlie 'Lucky' Luciano.

Post-Capone, there is the legacy of The Big Tuna himself, Tony Accardo, aka Joe Batters - allegedly handed the moniker by Capone after he bludgeoned a man to death with a baseball bat upon his boss's order.

From streetwise young hoodlum to boss of arguably one of the most powerful La Cosa Nostra families in the United States, the Chicago 'Outfit', Accardo, up until his death in the early nineties, controlled organized crime in 'The Windy City' for the best part of four decades. He was a man adversely disposed towards publicity. Certainly no John Gotti, he. Accardo preferred the shadows, and is considered one of the most astute, and organized of all mafia chieftans. A legend in mobdom, the Carlo Gambino of the midwest.

Accardo, with his top lieutenants, saw to it that Las Vegas, a gambling mecca launched by New York mobster, Ben 'Bugsy' Siegel, in the fifties, would over the next several decades, become almost exclusively controlled by Chicago, with other mafia families like Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Kansas City, operating under Chicago's solid umbrella.

Though capable of ordering the most vicious of murders - I recall a bunch of thieves whom had made the mistake of robbing the Accardo home in plush Forest Hills, Illinois, and who were later found horrifically murdered all across the city, stabbed, and beaten, shot and strangled (all mercillesly tortured, naturally) - Accardo, having worked his way up in the organization as a proficient hitman himself, often allowed those close to him to assume the ultimate mantle of boss, at least superficially, but it was always Accardo as the man behind the scenes, running the show, the real power.

When the brash, and high-profile Sam Giancana rose to the top spot in the late 50‘s, and his much-publicized exploits with Marilyn Monroe and JFK (many believe that Sam put Kennedy in the Whitehouse, by securing votes in Chicago) elevated his status, particularly with the federal government, exponentially, came and went with several bullets in his head, he was replaced with a succession of other bosses, from Joe Ferriola - believed to be the man whom sanctioned the hit on Tony Spilotro, one-time Vegas enforcer for the mob - to Joey 'The Clown' Lombardo, whom despite a recent arrest on murder and racketeering charges (what else) is suspected today of occupying the top spot.

Only in the city of Chicago has organized crime enjoyed such strong relationships with law enforcement and upper echelon politicians, for so many years. It is a city that has long been associated with unprecedented corruption, stemming back to before even Al Capone, when Big Jim Colossimo ran the scene, with more crooked politicians in his back pocket than he knew what to do with.

SoBoss Richard J Daley of Chicago, moving away from these more overtly unsavoury characters, and onto City Hall, we come to the mayor of that fair city, Richard Daley, whom was questioned last week by none other than the U.S attorney's office. The two hour grilling session revolved around various scandals, alleged to have taken place in Daley's offices. Daley is likely to have been the first Chicago mayor to face this kind of questioning. Going back over the last half a century, to when Daley’s father was mayor, none have come under such scrutiny by the FBI. Now, they have.

Daley was questioned on Friday by the U.S. Attorney's office in a two-hour session about the alleged scandals that surround him. Talking sparingly with the predicted throng of reporters outside his offices, Daley commented that he would be avoiding specifics pertaining to the matter, though he did concede to answering his questioners in a frank, and honest fashion. Would we expect anything less, one is bound to ask?

Describing questions posed to him as: "very serious," Mayor Daley reinforced that his current predicament would not impact upon his responsibilities in running his city. And contrary to recent speculation that he might not run for re-election, Daley remained more than optimistic about continuing in his role as mayor, all this despite the fact that two city officials have been charged last month with allegedly rigging the city's hiring system to flout a court order that bars City Hall from considering politics when filling most city jobs. The ensuing federal investigation encompasses bribery also.

Well, at least ostensibly, the mayor of Chicago's empire is a respectable, and of course, law-abiding one.

Excerpted with thanks to Steven Morris at New Criminologist

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