Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books.
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Monday, June 16, 2014
Mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was shot to death - June 20, 1947
What happened on this week in crime history, June 16 –
June 22; SLA member Kathleen Ann Soliah was arrested after 20 years on the run
(June 16, 1999); Watergate burglars were arrested (June 17, 1972); O.J. Simpson
was arrested after his infamous slow speed Bronco chase (June 17, 1994); radio
talk show host Alan Berg was shot to death (June 18, 1984); convicted spies Julius
and Ethel Rosenberg were executed (June 19, 1953); mobster Benjamin “Bugsy”
Siegel was shot to death (June 20, 1947); John Hinckley, Jr. was found not guilty
by reason insanity in the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan
(June 21, 1982); Boston mobster Whitey Bulger was arrested (June 22, 2011).
of the week -
On June 20, 1947, mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was
shot and killed at his mistress Virginia Hill's home in Beverly Hills, California.
Siegel had been talking to his associate Allen Smiley when three bullets were
fired through the window and killed him instantly. Siegel's childhood had been
pretty similar to that of other organized crime leaders: Growing up with little
money in Brooklyn, he managed to establish himself as a teenage thug. With his
pal Meyer Lansky, Siegel terrorized local peddlers and collected protection
money. Before long, they had a business that included bootlegging and gambling
all over New York City. By the late 1930s, Siegel had become one of the major
players of a highly powerful crime syndicate, which gave the okay to set up in Los
Angeles. He threw himself into the Hollywood scene, making friends with some of
the biggest names of the time. He also started up a successful gambling and
narcotics operation to keep his partners back east happy. In 1945, Siegel had a
brilliant idea. Just hours away from Los Angeles sat the sleepy desert town of
Las Vegas, Nevada. It had nothing going for it except for a compliant local
government and legal gambling. Siegel decided to build the Flamingo Hotel in
the middle of the desert with $6,000,000, a chunk of which came from the New
York syndicate. The Flamingo wasn't immediately profitable and Siegel ended up
in an argument with Lucky Luciano over paying back the money used to build it.
Around the same time that Siegel was murdered in Beverly Hills, Luciano's men
walked into the Flamingo and announced that they were now in charge. No one was
ever charged in Siegel’s murder.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of numerous books that
include the award winning, Murder
and Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California, 1849-1949 (2012,
Schiffer Publishing). The book was the WINNER of the 2012 International Book
Awards and a FINALIST in the 2012 Indie Excellence Book Awards for True Crime.
Visit the author's website for more information: www.michaelthomasbarry.com. The
book can be purchased at Amazon through the following