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[ Transcript for: Open City: True Story of the KC Crime Family, 1900-1950 ]

Open City: True Story of the KC Crime Family, 1900-1950 Video Transcript



MR. WILLIAM OUSELEY: Thank you. Thank you very much. It's a delight to be here tonight and see such a nice turnout on such a lousy night. And the last -- last part of my bio security ref for the NFL probably should have been in my bio as working organized crime.

Anyway, organized crime, if I were to ask every one of you to take a piece of paper and write down what you think organized crime is as I've done with some classes I've taught, you'd be amazed at the responses. Because much of what you've learned and much of what you've heard about and seen is from the silver screen and from the Sopranos, and T.V. and CSI and things that have no touch with reality at all. Not at all. Not at all.

1:27 Organized Crime 101

So very briefly, because I think it's important that you have a concept of what we're talking about here tonight, a little 101 organized crime. Organized crime is not one Mafia or one organization or one major Domo who pulls all the strings. Organized crime is simply a form of criminality that has specific and special characteristics. It's structural. It has organization. It has membership. Many of them have initiation rites. It is long-term in its view. It spreads out its tentacles into other forms of crime and business and politics. It has the special characteristics that separate it from all other crime.

So out here in Jefferson City you have Joe Smith and a band of burglars and he's the, quote, the leader of this band of burglars and they run around burglarizing. That's not organized crime. That's not organized crime.

So gangs are not organized crime. The Crips and the Bloods and MS13 and the Nuestra Familia and the Aryan Brotherhood. They're getting there. They're getting there in that they have started to spread their wings into other -- into other areas. Now, within this big concept of organized crime you have many entities and even individuals.

For example, you have motorcycle gangs. They run chop shops. They do drugs. They have adult bars and they steal motorcycles. So they have membership. There's a rite that you have to go through. So they -- they fit the criteria and they are considered organized crime and worked by organized crime investigators.

You have the Orientals. The Tongs, the Triads, the Vietnamese. These people have organized crime characteristics. Now, within that major -- or that overall group of organized crime there is one group that is so special that we consider it by even another name. It is traditional organized crime. And that group is La Cosa Nostra, in Italian "our thing". It is the American version of the Mafia.

The Mafia exist in Sicily, doesn't exist over here. They don't call themselves the Mafia. They've never used that term. They are Mafia-like or Mafia lite, L-I-T-E, you know, either one. They have taken from Sicily the best of what an organized crime family and it's an organized crime society and that raises it even above the other forms of organized crime.

These are people who strive for power, for influence within our community. These are people who have influence over our daily lives even though we don't know it. These are people who infiltrate the political system and therefore they are a societal element although quiet, submerged underneath, not very visible.

5:24 Kansas City La Cosa Nostra

So, anyway, that's what we're talking about here when we talk about organized crime. Now, in Kansas City and St. Louis had a family, Kansas City had a family of La Cosa Nostra there are some 26 - 28 families that make up this national organization. They have a commission that oversees the entire deal. So if we go back to the NFL think about NFL headquarters oversees the franchises with certain rules and regulations that apply to them all. All right?

But within the Kansas Chiefs they decide: who's the coach, who they pay, who they don't pay, what their stadium looks like, who they draft, who's the quarterback. All of those are locally within their preview, but above them is the NFL. That's the same with La Cosa Nostra. There is the commission that oversees certain elements of this national organization, but at home in Kansas City and St. Louis they run their own shop; who they're going to kill, what business they're going to infiltrate, what -- how much bookmaking. That's all internal.

So you have an umbrella organization and then these separate franchises. Now, one last little vignette here for you. To give you an idea of what these different crime families are like because even though they're all part of this -- this syndicate, they're different. So think about General Motors. Okay?

Now, think about the fact that in Kansas City, well, I'm General Motors. Okay? Now, General Motors has pickup trucks, the have little cars, the got big cars, they got SUVs, they got this, they got that. Think of each one of those things as a criminal activity. So the SUV is gambling. The small car is loan sharking. The other car is labor racketeering. Now, some families have the SUV, but they don't have the small car. Some families have a truck, but they don't have this. So what we're talking about here is they have different aspects to the family. There is not a general menu that the Kansas City family will do X, Y, Z. It's all -- they go -- they have the propensity and the ability to involve themselves in almost anything, but local conditions will have an affect on which of these cars are affective in my city. Okay?

So, for example, just talk about violence. Kansas City, well, under the leadership of Nick Civella was a very reasonable guy. Up in Chicago it's kill anybody and everybody. That's the answer first and last. That's their characteristic. So -- so these families have the ability to operate in any manner, shape or form they feel like or what conditions allow. Some things, for example, in the east coast garbage hauling taken over entirely by the Mob not so in Kansas City. It just wasn't something they had the ability to get into.

9:10 Scrutinizing Organized Crime

All right. So, now, what I wanted to do is I want to go backwards because what will happen when I start talking to you a little bit here I will -- I run out of time. So let me finish the story that begins in the 1900s. And that story was basically finished during my tenure with the organized crime squad. What happened here and this is very, very briefly a summation. Number One, the dividing line here is 1957. Okay? Prior to 1957 there was no activity scrutinizing on a regular basis of organized crime activity. There were no laws. They had their own run of the mill.

There wasn't an organized crime realization even, many doubted it. In 1957 up in a little town of Appalachia, New York, 100 of the La Cosa Nostra bosses and other family members of influence gathered at an estate in this little community. An alert state policeman got onto it. They uncovered the Mob conclave. They arrested -- well, they rounded up about 70 of these people and that was the dividing line because from that point on law enforcement, legislatures, Congress, newspapers, scholars could no longer doubt that there was some sort of national syndicate. This many people couldn't simply get together for a barbeque without there being some meaning to it.

Mr. Hoover jumped in and he had not really recognized that there would be a national syndicate as many did -- he wasn't the only one. And he formed the organized crime program. Legislatures jumped in, the Department of Justice jumped in, local departments formed intelligence units to look at organized crime. So from 1957 on, that was the purge or the probe where there was a definitive 24/7 scrutiny of organized crime as organized crime. That had never been done before.

And in the beginning it was extremely difficult because there were no laws. We had a squad with no laws. We had -- we had -- if they robbed a bank, if they kidnapped somebody, if they stole shipment off an interstate truck, yeah, we had jurisdiction, but Mob guys don't do that, especially not the bosses.

So we had no -- there was even a question if we had jurisdiction to work organized crime, but we did. We got around it. And from that point on gradually day-by-day we learned, we got better, better laws came into effect and we became more able to cope with this crime family that had had their way for 50 or 60 years.

Now, as we became experts in the field, as our brothers in law enforcement were out there, we had a community of people looking at these guys everyday, everyway. Our day finally came. And what had happened, very briefly, is in the 1970s there was the River Quay, a violent take over by the Mob of this entertainment area that led to murder. At the same time, there was a renegade, brothers, by the name of Sparrow who had taken on the Mob. It was David and Goliath, of course, but there were bodies that were laid out on the street. There were people being bombed. There were buildings going down. It became an extremely violent era.

13:40 Electronic Surveillance and Las Vegas

We, in an attempt to solve these murders, we relied on court authorized electronic surveillance. And we put a microphone in a restaurant up on Independence Avenue that was Mob controlled and Mob frequented. We were looking for evidence of murder. What happened is we got a conversation about their hidden illegal interests in Las Vegas.

This one conversation set us off on a six-year odyssey while all this other is going on. And we were successful with an extraordinary amount of electronic surveillance. One, installation taking us to somewhere else, to somewhere else, and pretty soon, we had more than we could hardly handle. The end result was a case was prosecuted against the entire hierarchy of the Nick Civella crime family. Nick was indicted for his illegal, hidden interest in Vegas along with his top people.

Nick skated the hard way. He passed away. He had been suffering with cancer. The others were convicted and then we had a second trial that included not only our top people, but the Mob bosses from Chicago, Milwaukee, Mob figures from Cleveland, from Las Vegas; an enormously influential prosecution, at the time, one of the primary prosecutions against organized crime in the history of the FBI.

And the other sideline of it was that with that prosecution that was pretty much the end of the reign of Cosa Nostra and other Mob figures that had dominated and owned Las Vegas. And very briefly I'll give you the theme of how this all worked. The key thing was Nick Civella in Kansas City owned Roy Lee Williams the head of the teamsters in Kansas City and a major figure, a vice-president of the central states conference.

In Cleveland they owned a guy that was a teamster. In Milwaukee they owned a guy. In Chicago they owned a guy. And, of course, there was Jimmy Hoffa who put the whole thing together whereby the central conference would have a pension and welfare fund for its members and employers had to kick in.

Pretty soon the amount of money was staggering, was staggering the amount of money that they -- this pension fund had. Well, Jimmy Hoffa decided, why should I have some legal institutions like a bank managing this money? You know, this is my money and this is my friends' money and my friends, was the Mob. So the system was if you wanted a loan from the pension fund you didn't go up to Chicago and enter an application with your asset sheet. You had to have a recommendation from one of these people either Chicago, New York, well, not New York so much although they had influence, but the Midwest.

And Nick was specifically powerful because Roy Williams was such a big man. And so he became a national figure. Our little city of Kansas City guided our work. I was the Kansas City general in Nick's intelligence file, no idea in those early years what we were dealing with.

So what happens is I get a recommendation from the Mob, they grant me the loan and in return I kick back money and I give them the control of the casino. So in our case, they had the Tropicana Hotel and they had the Stardust, Freemont, Marina and Hacienda Hotels. So by getting that loan to buy those four hotels, the Trop (sic) was separate, they got a kickback and they put their men, they call it a crew. They put their crew in the casinos and they simply go into the count room at two in the morning, three in the morning, and it's three for us, one for the state. Three for us, one for the state and they skim millions, millions of dollars and so that's how they had hidden interest. And this had been going on for 20 – 25 years. Most of those casinos out there were built on teamster-fund money. And that was the nexus of this case.

19:05 The End of the Civella Era

So that ended the Civella era. Now, the question there is -- or not the question, but the state of affairs is: This didn't come to pass all of a sudden in 1957 or 1961 or 1947. They didn't just form a group like these drug guys do. This is -- there's a long, long history and that's what I write about in this book and we'll go through here briefly to give you a flavor of what it's all about.

19:40 The Mob and Politics: Big Jim Pendergast

Now, Number One, you may think that the Mob's greatest asset is a shotgun. Its greatest asset is politics. It is a societal criminal organization. And in society you need politicians. So the story begins not with a guy with a shotgun, but with a guy by the name of Big Jim Pendergast who came down from St. Joe in 19 -- 1890-something and he settled in the bottoms area and he opened a saloon and boarding house. And he became the central figure of this Irish conclave that settled in that area.

The Irish were the first to come to this area in numbers. And as all immigrant populations do, they settle together because they want -- they feel like -- they feel that they're foreigners. They are treated as foreigners. So they're comfortable amongst their own. And they are insulated. And since they're insulated, they don't understand everything that goes on in our society. How do you get a license? How do you do this? What's a good lease? What's a bad lease? How do I get help or whatever it is? So they go to Big Jim Pendergast for help.

And he became the center of the Irish community. And his boarding house and saloon, the saloon became the community center down there. You came and you warmed yourself in the winter. You read the paper, letters were translated for you if you were -- didn't speak the language. And he was the major Domo of the Irish community. And as a result he now had a basis of people that relied on him. Big Jim, who do we vote for? Where you can see where that was going to take him. It took him into politics and he became an alderman, a city alderman. And he had the support of the first and second wards down along the north end of the river and the bottoms.

So Jim was now an alderman in a community that was a frontier community. This was the Wild West still in this era. There were cutthroat riverboat gamblers, prostitutes, conmen, the James Gang, they used to hang in Kansas City, renegade Indians, after the Civil War you had displaced soldiers. This was a wild and woolly community. And there was a let-it-be-type of atmosphere.

Gambling and prostitution and drinking and fighting and what have you. And this was exactly Big Jim's chemistry for governing. Let everything go, let it go. There wasn't a gambler or vice lord that he met, he didn't like. And what began in this era was a dynamic that was repeated around the country and one that would last into the '60s and '70s of Kansas City and other cities' history. And that is a dynamic of the politician uses the criminal element to get votes any way that they can get them. It doesn't make any difference. Any tactic, any ruse, any anything, just bring in the votes for me. And I'll get into office you are protected. So you'll have protected gambling, protected prostitution, drugs, whatever it was.

So that was the dynamics. Scratch my back, I'll scratch yours; very simple, but very affective. And Big Jim used it to the fare thee well. So that was the beginning of the Pendergast Machine; Big Jim getting into office, consolidating his voting block and working with the criminal element.

23:55 The Italian Connection

Now, move ahead to the 1900s the Irish flow has ebbed. And, now, it's the Italians that are coming in to the community, mainly from southern Italy and Sicily because that was the poorest part of the Italian boot. These people, especially in Sicily, had lived under the domination not of a -- it was an uncaring government that allowed the Mafia in Sicily to run the country. They were the de facto government. You didn't go to the mayor unless he was the Mafia boss, which often happened. But you didn't go to the mayor or to the community organizer.

You looked up the local Don. The local Don could do it all. And this was their way of life.

And as a result, they built up a resistance to the outside world. Any government official, policeman was not to be trusted. And these were good, honest people, but that's how they were raised. That's how they thought things were supposed to be. That was the bill of goods sold to them by the Mafia bosses, you know, you worked -- you're with us. If you're with us we protect the government doesn't. And the government proved that they didn't.

So in that old world the Mafia was everything. It was everything. I can't get across enough to you the influence. A policeman was quoted as saying, "The Mafia owns the stones on the ground." That was the domination they had.

So when these Italian and mainly Sicilian, southern Italian and Sicilians came over they were the good, honest, hard-working people trying to find a way of life beyond slavery. But amongst them were the elements, the criminal elements, the predators. Some who had been Mafia members, many who had been associated, all who understood how the Mafia worked. So down in the north end these guys took on what they knew best. They were going to dominate the area, but in the beginning they were nobodies. They couldn't go outside the north end. They dressed different. They didn't speak the language. They didn't know our customs. So they were relegated to the north end. And they preyed on their own people. They sent them letters with the Black Hand on it asking for money.

26:46 Black Handers and Ward Heelers

And so this era from 1900 to about the First World War was called the Black Hand Era and you either paid or you paid a price. There were beatings, there were killings, there were bombings, there were arsons if you didn't pay the Black Handers. There was no unity here. This was not a Mafia family from Sicily. They were clicks. They were sects. They were guys who banded together, sometimes from their old community at home. All the guys from the same hometown got together. You had individuals making out they were the Mafia trying to make money.

So there was no organization here. There was no crime family. There was no Mafia family. These were predators using the Mafia mentality. Now, one of the things that went on at this time, getting back to that political dynamic is that Pendergast people, his ward heelers, captains and all that ran the politician machinery of the north end; had to rub shoulders with these guys, these want-to-be Mafioso who soon, as Big Jim did in his community, became men of influence who could help you. Not only take your money. They took your money from this hand, but you'd come to them and ask them for help and they would take care of you.

So they started to gain stature as the Mafioso did in Sicily. And so those were the people that Pendergast ward heeler went to, to complete the dynamic of you get us the Italian vote, we'll protect you.

And so they worked with these burgeoning Mafioso and that dynamic started to grow in the north end. Now, this group, as I say were nothing to -- nothing within the formula for big time racketeers at that time. If it weren't for one thing they may never have graduated beyond what they were. They were a seed ready to bloom if they had the fertilizer and the water. Anybody know what that fertilizer was?


MR. WILLIAM OUSELEY: Prohibition. There you go.

29:21 Prohibition

Now, prohibition a well-meaning –- a well-meaning statute; we're going to get papa John out of the bar and home. We're going to be able to use that money to have better food. We're going save the young of our community. We're going to stop the drunks, but all it did was create organized crime. That is the unintended consequence of a well-meaning law. And history will tell you if you follow this along, today we are still passing well-intended laws without considering the unintended consequences. That's another story.

But anyway, so they pass prohibition. Now, you take this group of predators out of the north end, you give them a product that everybody wants even those who don't drink want it, because you're not going to tell me I can't drink. And the speakeasies became the most popular place in town. And so these people revolted against law enforcement. They rubbed shoulders with the Mobsters who were now semi-heroes, you know. They got us the booze. They can't be all bad, you know, but the guy coming in and smashing the barrels of liquor, oh, you know, that's bad. So you had -- you had a very -- a disastrous dynamic coming out of prohibition. Not only the millions of dollars that were made for criminals and put criminals together in organizations that never existed before, you know, we had the Irish up in Chicago plus the Capone people.

Now, down here there was no real competition. In St. Louis, you had the Syrians you had the Lebanese groups, but in Kansas City there was just the Italians. So they had it made. And they dominated the liquor industry, the bootleg liquor industry.

Now, they were not together yet, you know, they were not a family yet. This -- there was this group over here stealing from that group over there. There was this group over here undercutting the prices of that group over there. There were people being shot down. There was violence and true to their nature is said, there must be a better way. They never went to Wharton School of Business, but they knew economics. And economics told them we are better off together than we are what we're doing now.

32:17 Sugarhouse Syndicate

So in 1928, the big shot factions that existed came together. They handed out points in what they called the Sugarhouse syndicate. Sugarhouses because that's what they all ran; sugar being the main basic for the bootleg liquor being made in every north end house. So the Sugarhouse syndicate brought together the major criminal factions of the north end and at that time the Kansas City crime family was born. This is 1928. There's no La Cosa Nostra yet. This is simply a crime family of Italian, Sicilian ethnic origin.

So, now, they are together. The next step, again, you know, these are guys with very minimal education, but they're brilliant. They're brilliant in what they do and that's why they had that special, traditional organized crime. They took it to the best, highest level. A guy named John Lazia became the superstar of the north end. Now, the way Kansas City was formulated is these old timers from the old country they called "Mustache Pete's". These were the Sicilian guys. They never sought any kind of notoriety. So they stood in the background. Two major guys, Big Jim Balestrere and Joe DiGiovanni. They were the main focal point. They were the board of directors so to speak, but they always had an out-front guy who everybody thought was the boss. Someone's the boss, but he had to run it through the big guys. That guy was John Lazia. The first guy that they put out front; young, good-looking, spoke English well enough, dressed well, was able to come out of the north end and press the flesh with society.

And during prohibition, of course, was the perfect -- the perfect ambassador for the north end, you know, and they in that era were out there on the street in their $1,000 suits parading. Everybody knew who they were. There was no hiding it. Nobody cared about organized crime.

So John Lazia understands, we're doing pretty damn good. We're making big money, but they didn't get enough because we're about power. We're about influence in this community. In fact, if we can we'll take it over like they did in Sicily. And he understood that to do that it wasn't going to be the shotgun. He understood that it's the political dynamic. So in about that same time as they formed the family, he ran out Pendergast people in a city election; kidnapped, beat them, intimidated them, just ran them out of the north end and took over that entire voting block.

35:41 Tom Pendergast

And with that power he was able to go up to see the new Pendergast boss, Tom, who had taken over from his brother, Jim, and had raised the level of power of the Pendergast Machine even higher and would become a national figure in politics and in notoriety. Tom Pendergast was known throughout this country.

And "The Machine" here was known. They considered 19th and Main in that era where he hung out. If you're ever up in the city, that little building he headquartered in is still there at 19th and Main. That was Jefferson City, really. That's where everything happened, you know, that -- that was -- that was the center of the political universe was 19th and Main.

And the people would line up outside that little building. There were the homeless. There were the professionals. There were the politicians. There was every walk of life lined up around the block to come up those steps and get an audience with Boss Tom. What do you want? What do you want? I need a job. I need this. And that's where all the jobs came from. You didn't work in the city of Kansas City or the county unless you went up to 19th and Main. And he'd write on some note and you got a job.

And all those people kicked back parts of their salary to the political machine. Now, here comes John Lazia up to 19th and Main and he says to Boss Tom, you know, we're partners. Now, Boss Tom didn't take this very well. This was not something you did to Boss Tom, but he was also a realist. And he understood that not only did they have this political block of votes now, but they were the big gorilla on the neighborhood block. These were dangerous people. He understood where they came from and what they could do and if he didn't they would tell him what they would do.

So an unholy alliance was put together in 1928 – '29 right about that time and this did not bode well for Kansas City. Now, you have a criminal organization that is growing in wealth, in power and influence teamed up with the most powerful, corrupt, political machine in the country. So the city had to be the victim. The city was what was going to be the entity that suffered the cost of this alliance.

And -- so this needed just one more nail in the coffin to complete the takeover of Kansas City and that came in 1932 or '31 thereabouts when the Supreme Court up here in Jefferson City opted to give the authority to appoint the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners the authority had been with the State, with the Governor, now he's going to say, no, it goes with the local politicians. Well, therefore, the Supreme Court gave the police department to the Pendergast/Lazia alliance because they appointed the police commissioners as they appointed everybody else and every moving object in the political machine.

39:36 Lazia and the KC Police

So, now, they have the police department and literally have it in the sense that John Lazia would be at the chief of police office. If you called, you might get him as well as you might get the chief. He answered the phone. He made policy. He hired 140 or 150 ex-felons to be police officers, you know, the chief had been selling used cars; brought him in as chief, you know, rather than they having a scrutiny of gambling and vice and what have you; they now were dedicated to protecting it.

They protected the drug dealers and the gamblers and all of those. The police department was at the behest of the criminal organization to do certain things; run security for them and what have you. So as a result Kansas City, and that's where the name comes from of the book, was an Open City. Lock, stock and barrel open to every -- anything and everything you could possibly think of. There were prostitution -- bloody houses up and down the streets.

Just as it is in Amsterdam, as I understand I've never been there, but the girls sit in the window and they tap on the window with coins, you know, luring you in; wide open, wide open stuff. They had restaurants where the waitresses wore practically nothing and would complete tricks upstairs after lunch. They had, of course, in these places they had the gambling machines; slot machines and any other kinds of gambling devices. Bookmaking was wide open, gambling of all sorts; dice, cards, Blackjack, whatever, wide open. One national reporter talked about coming to Kansas City and he said, if you want -- whatever it is you need, if you need a girl or you want to play blackjack or you want liquor or whatever it is ask the local policeman.


MR. WILLIAM OUSELEY: He'll not only tell you where it is, but he'll probably walk you down there and make sure you get there all right.

So I can't get through this particular city -- I mean, this particular era. You're going to have to read the book. It's just -- it was just an enormously mindboggling situation. And I don't know of any city at that time in the United States. They all had criminal groups, but I don't know of any that was run by the organization.

42:20 Crook's Vacation Spot

And it also, unfortunately for the city, it became an R & R place for every crook and roaring '30s guy like the Bonnie & Clyde's of the day. The -- you know, the Dillinger. Those people were all wanted for something; murder, rape, whatever it was. They were all being chased and fugitives. They could come here, check-in with John Lazia and they had free reign of the city. They would not be hassled. They would not be arrested.

Once in a while the feds would pick up a fugitive where they didn't have control of the federal people, but generally speaking they operated here freely; played golf, lived on the plaza, the whole -- the whole thing. And so that backfired in 1934 whenever it was because of these people being present in this era -- in this area we had the Union Station Massacre.

43:42 Union Station Massacre

They were transporting one of the notorious bank robbers. Pretty Boy Floyd happened to be here; they decided they're going to free him and they had the shoot out at the Union Station. A federal agent, FBI agent was killed. A detective and an Oklahoma sheriff were are killed in the shoot out. And the fugitive that they were trying to free was killed, too. So -- so that -- that was the hype, that was the hype.

44:12 End of the Pendergast Era

Now, in a few open this for questions in a minute. Just this will be the summary part. As I said, I always run out of time in this history. You couldn't continue to do this though. The elections were bloody. The elections were fraudulent; 50 – 60,000 ghost votes in one election. People killed at another election. It just eventually had to -- the balloon had to burst. And in 1939, Roosevelt personally sic the dogs on the Pendergast crime family alliance, sent in agents from every different FBI, the IRS and special agents of other organizations. And Pendergast was prosecuted -- or indicted on a fraud case along with Charlie Carrollo, the then out-front boss of the crime family. And they went to jail.

This was the impetus for the 1940s reform movement that swept all the Pendergast people out. And ladies it's a fascinating era, because the main thrust in that election of 1940 was a women's organization. They wore broom pins and took brooms to the rally. That was their symbol of sweeping everybody out.


MR. WILLIAM OUSELEY: And -- and so they -- they played a huge part in the resurgence of the reformers who had been hiding in basements. They couldn't meet publicly. They would be harassed and assaulted. So in 1940 the reformers came in. The Mob now had to submerge. People thought that they were gone, but they never were gone. They simply wait their time because they're in it for the long run.

46:23 Civella Joins La Cosa Nostra

That organization joined in 1932 with all the 26 other families became part of La Cosa Nostra and under the leadership of Nick Civella who took over in 1953. He ran it until his death in 1983. He was -- unfortunately for him and fortunately for us, he was the boss when that dividing line came of 1957 prior to that from '53 to '57 and for a number of years after that because we weren't affected right away.

You know we were catching up. We didn't have laws, we didn't have -- but Nick Civella in the tradition of those who went before him politically involved, involved in the labor racketeering, took over Roy Williams. Ran his organization with an iron hand and was the most influential organized crime figure in this city and as I mentioned had national stature. So this organization continued on from that day that they were formed actually from the day they came over on the ship and that seed was planted and they continue on in some aspects today. Not very strong certainly, but there is still that generation that this is all they ever knew.

47:56 Wrap up

So that's -- that's an overview of the -- of the history and -- and how the most powerful, pinnacle of organized crime in that -- in this era was taken down in 1983. After that with Civella dead all of his leaders in jail it became a shadow organization.