"He must have done something. They don't kill you for nothing." - Chicago Gangster Ted Newberry. Rubbed out January 7, 1933

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Joe Is Now The Boss

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 A Mafia war came to an abrupt end on this day back in 1922 when Joe "Soon to be the Boss" Masseria managed to put rival mob boss Umberto Valenti on the spot. Since the previous spring when Valenti and some gunmen bumped off Vincent Terranova, lower Manhattan was up for grabs. 

Three days previous, Valenti gunmen had managed to corner Masseria after the latter had exited his apartment. They fired at him numerous times but missed. It is believed that afterwards Masseria contacted Valenti and set up a peace conference. However, the meeting was a ruse to lure his enemy into the open. When Valenti showed up on at the designated meeting place a number of gunmen opened fire on him. Hit in the chest, he tried to return the fire but barely had the strength to make it to a taxi where he dropped dead on it's running board.

Umberto Valenti

Monday, August 10, 2020

Goose Island Goose is Cooked

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Thirty-five-year-old Joseph "Big Rabbit" Connell was proprietor of the Island Tavern, a "Whoopee" joint, on Chicago's Goose Island.  In the early days he was a slugger in the taxi wars. His record consisted of small time infractions. The previous spring he ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the state legislature. 

As owner of the Island Tavern, Connell was paying $55 for a barrel  of beer. The price set by the "Syndicate". Not satisfied with the profits, Connell started brewing his own stuff for only seven dollars a barrel. Soon he branched out and started to sell to other North Side saloons charging only $30 a barrel. 

The competition responded just before eleven on the night of August 10, 1932. Connell stepped out of his saloon for a breath of fresh air when a small sedan pulled up. Someone from the car called to Connell and said that they wanted to speak with him. As the tavern owner approached the car, automatic shotgun(s) came out  the window and went off. Hit by sixteen slugs, Connell staggered to the side of his bar and dropped dead.

Joe may have been friendly with North Side gangsters, as his younger brother, George "Little Rabbit" Connell was said to be friends with deceased North Side gang leader Dean O'Banion. At the time of Joe's murder, Little Rabbit was serving a term in prison for stealing a truck load of whiskey from a pharmaceutical and chemical company. 

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Joseph "Big Rabbit" Connell

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Is it Better to Burn Out then Fade Away?

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 Gene Moran was a Jack of all crimes. He took part in a high profile jewel heist in the early Twenties that sent him to the slammer. He worked for Arnold Rothstein and he was part of the hit team that failed to knock of Legs Diamond's brother Eddie in Colorado in November of 1928.

Early in the evening of August 9, 1929, a couple of sedans pulled up to Moran's New Jersey bungalow. His moll Anna, heard him tell the men that they need to hurry because they were already late for the job. He entered one of the sedans and the crew took off. 

A few hours later, the night watch man of a Newark dump saw two sedans pull in. Two men got out of a Packard and doused it with gasoline then put it to the match. They all left in the remaining car. A few hours later one of the men returned to Moran's bungalow and told his moll that Gene was dead and that she should beat it.

By the time the fire was doused, Moran, who had been shot to death, was burnt beyond recognition. It wouldn't be until early 1930 that he was identified through his dental work. Since he was one of those involved in the failed attempt on Eddie Diamond, Legs Diamond is credited with the murder. It's also possible that he was killed at he bequest of Dutch Schultz. The Bronx beer baron had paid for the assassination crew to travel to Colorado to kill Eddie. Moran and another Schultz man were captured and took a powder, leading Schultz to be out the thousands he spend for Moran's bail.

Eugene Moran