Was it a safer place under the Mob?

Las Vegas has many nicknames, but the one that most people recognize is ‘Sin City’. Las Vegas is the ultimate oasis in the desert. If you delve into the history of Las Vegas you find that it has a very chequered past. Although he was not the first non native to stumble upon the natural springs, John C. Fremont was the first to decide to call the area home, that was in 1844.

Fremont is a name that you can still find in Vegas, The Fremont Casino, and Fremont Street are good examples.

It is hard to believe that on Oct. 1, 1910, a strict anti-gambling law became effective in Nevada. It was illegal to even call ‘heads or tails’. The Hoover Dam construction project  and the Great depression led Vegas into a new era. Gambling and booze were back in vogue!

There have been many books, movies, and TV shows that have used Vegas as the backdrop. Frequently we catch a glimpse of the seamier side of the city.

On Saturday Mar/6 at 2pm Central (noon pacific, 3pm Eastern) we will be having a round table discussion on Crime in Las Vegas. We will be looking at both the decades that the city was Mob ruled, and the new ‘family friendly’ corporate Vegas. Joining me are an incredible panel of experts, and this is shaping up to be one of the must listen to programs of 2010.

For several decades Vegas was essentially run by the Chicago Mob and certainly for a period of time law enforcement seemed unwilling and unable to oust these leasers. A very good book on that subject is The Battle For Las Vegas by Dennis N. Griffin. Denny has been a long time resident of the Las Vegas area and has become a well known expert on this era of the city.

Frank Cullotta was a member of the Chicago Mob, he was based in Las Vegas and for a period of time was Spilotro’s right hand man. His career came to an end when the FBI finally went on the offensive to clean up Vegas. Frank was not only an enforcer but also part of the infamous ‘Hole In The Wall Gang’, so named for their signature of not bothering to use doors when committing robbery, preferring instead to merely blow their way inside with high explosives. Frank finally turned states evidence and was a key witness in several high profile cases. He spent several years in the Witness Protection Program, and although a completely free man today still keeps his whereabouts somewhat mysterious.

Louie DeTiberiis is an retired detective in the Las Vegas area, he was a key figure in bringing the Mob down and offers some great insight into one of the largest battles waged against organized crime in the twentieth century.

Jay Rankin lived in Vegas for a decade, in fact we was one of the night doorman at the then newly opened MGM Grand. His newly released book Under The Neon Sky takes us behind the glitz and glamor that the visitor sees and shows us the real Las Vegas. Although this period of time was in the ‘new’ corporate ruled Vegas, gone were the mob, in were the shareholders, as a young man he had spent a good deal of time in the city and remembers the Mob very well and just how well visitors were treated.

To listen in just set you browser to www.blogtalkradio.com a few minutes before we go on air and you will see the link on the front page, or go direct via this link.

Simon Barrett

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