Gangland Gotham: New York's Notorious Mob Bosses

By Allan R. May | Go to book overview

3
LOUIS BUCHALTER

AKA “LEPKE”
FEBRUARY 2, 1897–MARCH 4, 1944

Most of the underworld figures discussed in this book made their money through bootlegging, gambling, or a combination of both. Some, like Lucky Luciano, became involved in prostitution. Many, including the police, prosecutors, and judges, saw these criminals as providing goods and services that had been outlawed by society, and their deeds as victimless crimes.

In the case of Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, the crimes were different. In the crimes of the most notorious labor racketeer of all time, there definitely was a victim— the working man and his family. It was the ugly side of organized crime in which the innocent were forced to share their wages, their businesses, and their livelihoods with a brutal band of heartless hoodlums who used any method possible to bring their victims in line. The results of Buchalter’s crimes affected everyone in New York City as well as nationally through increased costs for food, clothing, and other daily necessities.

With his right-hand man, Jacob “Gurrah” Shapiro, Buchalter terrorized the garment district of New York City and brought it under his control through connivance, bribery, and violence. The band of thugs Buchalter hired to keep order in his underworld kingdom became known as Murder, Inc. (see Appendix), whose roster of hit men contained some of the most sadistic killers in the city. And if that were not enough, Lepke used the money from his crimes to invest in the narcotics business, which brought illicit drugs to the United States to feed the habits of thousands of addicts … and create new ones.

In the late-1930s, the name Lepke struck fear in the hearts of those who knew his ruthless methods, but in the end Lepke Buchalter received his just reward. To this day he remains the only mob boss in the history of this country’s underworld to be put to death by capital punishment.

-73-

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Gangland Gotham: New York's Notorious Mob Bosses
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Timeline xv
  • 1 - Joe Adonis (Giuseppe Antonio Doto) 1
  • 2 - Albert Anastasia (Umberto Anastasio) 37
  • 3 - Louis Buchalter 73
  • 4 - Frank Costello (Francesco Castiglia) 117
  • 5 - Carlo Gambino 155
  • 6 - Vito Genovese 183
  • 7 - Lucky Luciano (Salvatore Lucania) 213
  • 8 - Arnold Rothstein 253
  • 9 - Dutch Schultz (Arthur Flegenheimer) 281
  • 10 - Abner Zwillman 309
  • Biographies of Other Prominent Figures Mentioned in the Text 331
  • Appendix 363
  • Bibliography 405
  • Index 407
  • About the Author 427
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