FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF LISA FIGUEREDO| INFO@CIGARCITYMAGAZINE.COM
LISA M. FIGUEREDO EDITOR-IN-CHIEF AND FOUNDER
SUSAN CUESTA COPY EDITOR
PAUL GUZZO SENIOR WRITER
EMANUEL LETO CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
In March of this year, we decided that Cigar City Magazine would to go to a quarterly format in light of the poor economy that had our advertisers needing to cut back on their adverting dollars. We felt a quarterly publication would give them a bit of a break. However, we heard from many of you that the several months was too long to wait for your next issue. So we listened to our readers and decided to finish out 2011 with monthly issues in October, November and December to give you your Cigar City fix. Going forward into 2012, we may keep this monthly format depending on how well it works for our advertisers. You may notice the page count has gone from 64 to 36. By cutting down the amount of pages and going monthly we can actually make it more affordable for our advertisers and give you the reader what you asked for, more Cigar City! If we see the change is not working we will return to our original bi-monthly format. Good news though is that will be including some new columns intended to expand our focus on history and happenings around Tampa. The biggest change is that we will no longer offer subscriptions, however, you will be able to purchase issues individually to be mailed to you at www.cigarcitymagazine.com. Free issues will also be available for pick-up at select partner locations that can be found on our website. For those of you who still have issues left on your prior subscriptions, no worries, you will continue to receive those issues until your subscription runs out. We apologize for any inconvenience to our readers and advertisers. We made some clumsy attempts, but the goal was always to be able to keep Cigar City Magazine alive, and we appreciate your hanging in there with us. Thanks as always to you, the reader, who has made Cigar City Magazine Tampa’s favorite magazine!
DAVE CAPOTE PHOTOGRAPHER
I look forward to another exciting year.
ART & PHOTOGRAPHY CONTRIBUTORS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA DIGITAL COLLECTIONS HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY THE FLORIDA STATE ARCHIVES USF DEPARTMENT OF SPECIAL COLLECTIONS TAMPA BAY HISTORY CENTER TAMPA TRIBUNE
Lisa M. Figueredo Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Cigar City Magazine
ON THE COVER Al Capone ©2011, BossaNova Agency. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use without written permission from the BossaNova Agency, of editorial, pictorial, or design content, in any manner is prohibited. The opinions of writers commissioned for articles are not necessarily those of the agency. All advertising is subject to approval before acceptance. BossaNova Agency reserves the right to refuse any advertisement for any reason whatsoever. The BossaNova Agency assumes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers. All letters, emails and their contents sent to the BossaNova Agency become the sole property of the agency and may be used and published in any manner whatsoever without limit and without obligation or liability to the author there of. Cigar City™ is a trademarked name and logo, any reproduction or use without written permission will fall under the trademark infringement laws and will be executed under the fullest extent of the law. BossaNova Agency only holds the rights to use the name and trademark under the rules and regulations of the owner of the Cigar City™
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November 2011 | Volume 6 | Issue 35
FEATURES Al Capone’s Tampa Bay Connection | 10 The Devil Looks After His Own | 14 You’re a Dead Man | 22 A Run-In With Whitey Bulger | 26
EXTRAS This Month in Florida History | 8 Lost Landmark | 8 The Kitchen | 30 On The Town | 32 Mama Knows | 34
IN THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER November 7, 1814 Andrew Jackson attacked and captured Pensacola, Florida, defeating the Spanish and driving out a British force. November 2, 1920 In Ocoee, Florida, on election day, gunfire erupted after two black men tried to vote. By the next day a number of residents, black and white, lay dead. November 30, 1990 President George H. W. Bush named outgoing Florida Governor Bob Martinez to lead the nationâ€™s war on drugs. November 2, 1994 A jury in Pensacola, Florida, convicted Paul Hill of murder for the July 29, 1994 shotgun slayings of an abortion provider and his bodyguard; Hill was sentenced to death. He became the first person to be executed for killing an abortion provider when he was killed by electrocution on September 3, 2003 at the age of 49 at the Florida State Prison in Raiford, Florida. November 13, 1996 A grand jury in St. Petersburg, Florida, declined to indict a white policeman, Jim Knight, who had shot black motorist TyRon Lewis to death the previous month; the decision prompted angry mobs to return to the streets.
Congratulations to William Valdespino of Brandon who guessed last issue's Lost Landmark! The Lost Landmark in the October 2011 issue was La Benefica Clinic located in Ybor City on 15th Street.
Email your answer and your name to: email@example.com by November 20, 2011.
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Few gangsters loom larger in pop culture than Alphonse Capone. three other men, under a company called Manro Corp. the first partthough his reign over the Chicago underworld was brief, it was one ner was a real estate agent, Jack Vanella. there is little known about that lived on through the years, gaining a legend-like status. Capone Vanella other than he represented Capone’s interest in a number of was a brash press-savvy gangster and the public ate it up. He hob- properties in Pinellas and was listed on the deeds. Another partner nobbed with celebrities of the day, showed a humanitarian side by pro- was Jake guzik, better known to his underworld cohorts as “greasy viding food and clothes for down-on-their-luck Chicagoans during the thumb”. Born in Moscow, greasy thumb was one of the major politDepression, but most of all thumbed his nose at the national ical fixers for Capone in Chicago, greasing the palms (hence his nickProhibition Act which enforced the 18th Amendment (commonly name) of politicians, judges, and police. the last of the partners was known as Prohibition)–a law that many in the United States broke on Johnny torrio, Capone’s mentor in organized crime, and a major mob figure in Chicago before he left a regular basis. the Windy City and handed over Al Capone’s ties to Florida are wellthe reins to Capone. known. His last years were spent on his Capone’s land deals in Florida estate in Palm island, near Miami. He coincided with the 1925 land frequently visited South Florida during boom that brought speculators, his heyday and was followed by photoginvestors, grifters, and marks raphers everywhere he went. What are down to St. Petersburg to take less well-known were his time, and his part in what eventually became a investments, in St. Petersburg. in fact, massive bubble. the largest parcel Capone, along with some “legitimate in St. Petersburg was a 28-acre business partners, in addition to the tract in South St. Pete/gulfport, expected underworld partners,” owned which now is the site of the twin a good deal of property in the ‘burg, as Brooks golf Course. Capone also well as other areas around Pinellas. reportedly had an interest in land Locally the urban legends and stories The Shore Acres home is 2,350-square-feet with 10 rooms that torrio owned in downtown St. of Capone in Pinellas have been Capone reputedly built in 1925 for his mother. Pete, near a speakeasy known as around for decades. Many of the areas the green Cabin. the Cabin sat top hotels, including the Don CeSar and the Vinoy, claim Capone as one of their guests. He was a big base- on land that was eventually turned into the American Legion Hospital ball fan and a friend of Babe ruth. Sightings of Capone at spring for Crippled Children in 1927. Capone also owned a large tract that training games were common, and he frequented some of the area’s spanned from 22nd Avenue South to 28th Avenue South, and 38th to 41st Street, near gulfport. speakeasies. When Capone came to St. Petersburg he also spent time on the recently there was an article in the St. Petersburg Times about a house on Shore Acres, guarded by two stone lions, that was supposedly city’s far west side. His men would stay at the Jungle Prada Hotel, now owned by Capone. Capone allegedly had the house built in 1925 for Admiral Farragut Academy. Capone frequented the gangplank Club, his mother. there is also a large brick house on 22nd Avenue South, now the site of Max and Sam’s Bar & grill, and just up the road from near 16th Street, in St. Petersburg, that also at one-time was either Admiral Farragut, on Park Boulevard. in the restaurant sat a safe which legend has it, contained valuable papers of Capone’s. But built or owned by Capone, according to lore. these houses do not show up on county property records as being throughout the years, no one attempted to open it. in early 2011, on owned by Capone. that certainly doesn’t mean he didn’t have a finan- an unaired episode of the (now-cancelled) Discovery Channel show cial interest in them or that he never lived in them for a time, just that American Treasures, the show’s hosts open the safe only to find it the official record is lacking. there are, however, a number of parcels empty, much like Capone’s vaults were when geraldo opened them in the 1980s. nonetheless, Capone’s place in the lore of the Jungle Prada that were owned by the Chicago gangster outright. the parcels that Capone owned were part of a joint venture with area is secure. nOVeMBer
While Capone wined and dined in St. Petersburg, what’s interesting is that there is no evidence suggesting any meetings or joint criminal enterprises between Capone and the underworld in tampa. At the time Capone was frequenting St. Petersburg, the underworld in tampa was under the control of Charlie Wall. the fledgling mafia was just getting their bearings, under guidance from ignazio italiano and early mob figures like giuseppe “Joe” Vaglicia, but bootlegging was big business, especially in ybor City. in addition to liquor being brought in through the Port of tampa, there were also shipments of corn sugar, molasses, and other raw materials which were made into moonshine in the thousands of stills that were scattered throughout rural Hillsborough County and into surrounding areas. it would have been a natural interest to Capone, but without any evidence that he met with local mob leaders, it would only be wild speculation. it wasn’t until the mid-1930s and into the early 40s that the tampa mafia began cementing their relationships with Chicago and the main commodity was narcotics. in St. Petersburg, Capone’s real estate ventures started falling apart in the 1930s. He managed to avoid the major real estate bust, but other issues were complicating his property investments. Capone was in no shape to actively manage the properties; he was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 1932 for income tax evasion. in 1936 the feds filed a tax lien against the twin Brooks property. it was sold off a few years later. One of the Capone properties, a 10-acre plot in the 1300 block of north Disston Boulevard in
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St. Petersburg (now 49th Street), resulted in a civil case relating to the non-payment of the mortgage. the note holder sued Capone and his partners for $250,000. By the time the case went to trial in 1942, Vanella had died, and torrio and guzik had evaded subpoenas, leaving only Capone to fight the charges. On March 17, 1942 a circuit court jury in Clearwater handed down a verdict in favor of Capone. But by that time Capone’s health was in decline. Although he was paroled in november of 1939, his days as a crime kingpin were over and he was spending his time on his estate in Palm island. Al Capone died on January 24, 1947. While Capone’s land deals were a memory by then, Johnny torrio, his mafia mentor, was still buying and selling property throughout St. Petersburg and the beach communities. At any given time, torrio owned over a dozen properties in Pinellas County, including parcels on Pass-Agrille, where he lived for a while in the late 1930s (though he listed his home address as Brooklyn). But it wasn’t until 1950 that the extent of some of his dealings became publicly known. that December, the traveling mob-busting Congressional investigation known as the Kefauver Committee, had brought its fact finding mission to tampa to investigate the corruption between the tampa mafia and local politicians and law enforcement. Some time was made to discuss Johnny torrio. the investigators were particularly interested in the sale of a parcel on Pass-A-grille, which was sold to Hillsborough County Sheriff Hugh Culbreath on December 21, 1944. the real estate agent who brokered the deal told the Kefauver Commission: “There is a record of the closing or sale of the Pass-A- Grille property by John Torrio and wife to Hugh L. Culbreath and wife, showing 'the purchaseprice credit and deposit paid, which was $1,600, and received from the purchaser so much money and marked "collected $1,600" by Tracey.” Culbreath’s dealing with tampa mobsters were the main thrust of the Commission’s inquiry into his financial dealings. they were trying to ascertain how he managed to own to much property on his salary. During the hearings, former bolita dealers told of underworld payoffs to Culbreath, who earned the not-so-flattering nickname “Cabeza de Melon” (melon head in Spanish), among the underworld denizens who kicked up money to him and others in the Sherriff’s Department. But it was interesting to the Congressmen that Culbreath also managed a deal with torrio. What was also interesting was that Pass-A-grille property was right near a fish house owned by Salvatore “red” italiano, a major mafia figure in tampa, and known associate of Culbreath. torrio unloaded most of his properties after the Kefauver Commission and returned to Brooklyn where he died in 1957. With torrio’s death, the gangland era of Capone was drawing to a close. While the legacy of the Chicago mob presence in Pinellas County was over, the attachment of the respective crime organizations in tampa and Chicago only grew, and as the era of Al Capone and Johnny torrio faded, the criminal partnership between Santo trafficante Jr. and Chicago mob boss Sam giancana was just beginning.
Above, a rare photo taken of Charlie Wall as a young man. 14
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pril 19, 1955. Almost every squad car in Hillsborough County, Florida lined Columbus Drive in Ybor City. A crowd of men, women and children stood anxiously in the yard of the only mansion of Ybor City, waiting to hear if the rumors of another gang slaying that had spread throughout the city were true. While gang slayings had become the norm in Tampa, the latest being the 21st in the last 23 years, this one was different. This murder was especially brutal. The victim’s head was caved in with a bat and his neck was sliced from ear to ear. Most importantly, though, was the identity of the victim. He was not just any Mafioso or gang member, the victim was one of the most colorful and notorious men in the history of Tampa, the man known as the “White Shadow”–Charlie Wall–the tall, Anglo, retired crime lord who ruled Tampa through both love and fear for most of the early part of the 20th century. Charlie Wall–the name elicits powerfully excited responses from those in tampa who remember him from their childhood years in ybor City or whose parents and grandparents told them stories of him. He was the White Shadow, tampa’s original crime lord, tampa’s answer to Al Capone, John gotti, and Lucky Luciano. He was ybor City’s godfather. it seems everyone who was alive during Charlie Wall’s reign as tampa’s underworld kingpin has a romantic story to tell about the gangster–how he thumbed his nose at the life of luxury he was born into to go into business with the dregs of society; how he gave candy and money to the neighborhood children; how he survived multiple assassination attempts; how he’d stroll down Seventh Avenue in his pristine white suit, flipping a coin in the air; leaning on his cane and tipping his hat to every beautiful woman he passed; and, of course, how he ran tampa’s illegal lottery, bolita. But, outside of these general tidbits, few know the whole story of Charlie Wall and the detailed facts behind his life and reign over tampa, which is a shame, considering that few individuals had a larger influence over tampa’s history than Charlie Wall. He fixed countless elections in tampa for over three decades. He financially backed the cigar workers during the famous strikes. He turned tampa into the Southern version of the Wild West, with whorehouses and gambling parlors on seemingly every corner in ybor City and West tampa and shootouts in broad daylight. He owned politicians, law enforcement officials, and judges. the romantic stories people remember about Charlie Wall always revolve around how he controlled tampa’s underworld, which highly underestimates his life. He owned more than the underworld. For over three decades, Charlie Wall owned tampa. Charlie Wall’s roots can be traced back as early as the mid-1840s to his grandfather, Perry Wall, a pioneer who migrated south during the second Seminole War. Perry Wall settled in the highlands of Hernando County just north of Brooksville and went on to establish a successful career, first as a probate judge and later as postmaster.
Perry Wall’s children all grew into successful adults, but none more successful than John P. Wall. John P. Wall became a doctor and served for the Confederacy during the Civil War. He was not in favor of the Confederacy’s cause, but felt he couldn’t turn his back on wounded soldiers simply because of their political beliefs. When the war was over, he turned to research and in 1873 became the first American doctor to conclude that yellow fever was carried by mosquitoes. He later founded the first hospital focusing solely on serving yellow fever patients. John P. Wall was also a successful writer and politician. He was associate editor of the Sunland Tribune, which later became the Tampa Tribune; served as mayor of tampa from 1878–1880; mapped out many of the routes through the Florida wilderness that are used by the Florida highway system today; and assisted Vicente Martinez ybor in establishing ybor City. With such credentials, it’s easy to see why John P. Wall was able to win the heart of Matilda McKay, a member of the famous McKay family, one of the richest families in the state of Florida and a founding family of tampa. John P. Wall and Matilda McKay were married in 1872. Shortly thereafter, Matilda McKay’s sister married into the Lykes family, another of tampa’s founding families, uniting three of tampa’s most powerful families–the Walls, McKays, and Lykes.
Charlie Wall’s home located on Columbus Drive in Ybor City. nOVeMBer
John and Matilda gave birth to one son–Charlie, in March 1880. With his family’s money and credentials behind him, Charlie Wall had the world at his feet. Unfortunately, his would-be perfect life took a turn for the worse early on. Matilda passed away in 1893 and John P. Wall married his housekeeper, Louise Williams, just six months later. John P. Wall’s career as a doctor and politician often took him away from home for extended periods of time, leaving young Charlie with his new stepmom, a woman he grew to hate for her lavish spending of his father’s money. then, in April 1895, John P. Wall passed away. Louise Williams was now Charlie Wall’s official guardian. Upon inheriting a portion of the Wall fortune, her lifestyle became even more extravagant–she’d wear ostrich-feathered hats and would bedeck herself in jewels. the more she spent the more obstinate young Charlie became towards her. in order to avoid her altogether, young Charlie began staying away from home for days and weeks at a time, sleeping in ditches by night and hanging out in saloons, gambling houses and whorehouses–the only places that would allow a young runaway to stick around without lecturing him. Some of the criminals who were regulars at these establishments of illrepute grew fond of the scrappy young kid who hung around the adults. they began teaching him their trades, and, with that, Charlie Wall’s life in crime began. At the age of 12, tired of his stepmother, he shot her with a .22 rifle and wounded her. His uncle sent him to Bingham Military School in north Carolina. A romanticized story about young Charlie claims he was expelled for hanging around gambling and whorehouses in north Carolina. While he was expelled during his first year at the military school, according to school records, it was for the unromantic crime of cheating on a test. Upon expulsion, he returned to tampa and, with no consistent parental supervision, also returned to the seedy establishments that took him in prior to his stint in military school. By the age of 14 or 15, young Charlie was dealing craps in a casino in Fort Brooke and running numbers for some of the larger bolita dealers in tampa who saw great potential in a criminally minded boy with white collar ties. With the last name of Wall, Charlie could get into places common criminals could not– country clubs, five-star restaurants, upscale bars and even City Hall–and sell bolita numbers. though he lacked a formal education, Charlie Wall was an intelligent businessman, even as a teenager. He saved every penny he could and as his bankroll grew, he ceased working as a runner for bolita dealers and began bankrolling bootleg liquor operations and his own bolita games. Bolita was the illegal lottery of tampa, a prelude to today’s legal lottery. One hundred little wooden or ivory balls numbered 1 thru 100 would be placed in a bag and gamblers would bet on what number or three numbers would be pulled. With a payoff of 85-1, a winning number would pay big dividends to the winner. everyone in tampa was playing–the rich and poor; black, white and Latin; men and women. in 1927, over 300 bolita parlors were located in tampa and an estimated 1,200 bolita parlors infiltrated every segment of tampa. in 1927, over $20 million was played on the game. Bolita was able to flourish in such a way because the police and politicians allowed it–and the reason they allowed it was because of Charlie Wall. Charlie Wall’s major play came in 1910 when the cigar workers went on strike in tampa. Supportive of their cause, Charlie Wall financially backed the struggling cigar workers. He bought them food and paid for their medical bills so they could continue the strike. though in the end they lost the strike, the cigar workers of tampa forever after had an undying love for 16
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Charlie Wall. Knowing he had the full support of the blue collar men and women of ybor City and West tampa, Charlie Wall made his move. He began backing political candidates, promising them he could deliver the votes of West tampa and ybor City. His many supporters would vote for whomever he told them to, and would look the other way when Charlie Wall had the ballot boxes stuffed or had individuals vote for his candidates up to 10 times. in return for his support, candidates had to allow Charlie Wall’s bolita parlors and brothels to operate, unbothered. And, if there was an illegal operation in tampa not backed by Charlie Wall, he’d have the police shut it down, forcing almost every gambling parlor and whorehouse in tampa to give Charlie Wall a portion of their business. Some bolita parlors brought in $57,000 on a good night with Charlie Wall taking home half of it. to add to his riches, Charlie Wall would have bolita games fixed to ensure a highly wagered-upon number wouldn’t win. Bolita dealers would fill balls with lead so they would sink to the bottom or freeze a ball so it would be easy to find in the bag. Of course, with great power comes great risk. He refused to live his life in fear, though. rather than building a home in the countryside, away from the danger, he built a mansion in ybor City, which made him an easy target. Hitmen would drive by his house and take shots at him as he sat on his porch or pulled into his driveway. He wasn’t an idiot, though. He didn’t just build a mansion. He built a fortress. His porch, where he liked to sit and read the paper on a nice day, had two giant pillars built into it, large enough for him to safely duck behind when shots were fired. And his garage had a metal tunnel leading from it to his house. if hitmen were following him home, all he needed to do was escape into his garage and he could safely make it into his home, where third-floor windows were adorned with gun racks so he could return fire. Assassination attempts became a regular part of the workday for Charlie Wall. tales of his exciting escapes from sure death are legendary in ybor City. He once dove behind a car as a hitman unloaded clips of ammunition at him, and escaped any serious injury. On another occasion he ducked under his steering wheel as bullets ripped through his car seat, whizzing just inches over his head. His most famous escape was when his car was pinned between two hitmen on nebraska Avenue, one in front of the car and one on the side. in order to escape, his driver and bodyguard, Baby Joe, stood on the car’s running board and returned fire while driving backwards through traffic. they escaped unharmed. But there was one enemy Charlie Wall’s bodyguards couldn’t protect him from – himself. Addicted to morphine, Charlie Wall’s arms were covered with puncture scars. One of his drivers, “Scarface” Johnny rivera, used to tell tales of neighbors calling him late at night, informing him that Charlie Wall was stumbling around the neighborhood in nothing but his night shirt. rivera would always hurry over and bring his boss home. in 1928, one of Charlie Wall’s former companions, isabella Knowles, went to him in search of morphine, complaining of withdrawal pains. Charlie Wall wrote a note for her to bring to one of his lieutenants, george “Saturday” zarate, asking zarate to give her what she wanted. Unknown to both of them, Knowles was working as a federal informant. Both zarate and Charlie Wall were arrested and charged with selling narcotics. At the trial, Charlie Wall took the stand in his own defense. He never denied he wrote the note, but said he only did so to help isabella Knowles because she said she was suffering from withdrawal. zarate received 10 years in prison but Charlie Wall was acquitted. in later years, he buried his morphine supply near his home and drove to indiana for drug rehabilitation.
But, he had one addiction he could never kick–his addiction to Charlie Wall was again acquitted, but not before he promised to tell power, an addiction that blinded him to a stark reality–there is only so the grand jury everything they wanted to know about Tampa’s underfar you can push the limits of corruption before someone is forced to world. He claimed that by doing so, he hoped it would help the police push back. find his friend’s murderer. The murderer was never found and when His downfall began in 1934. Claude Pepper and Park Trammel were word got out that Charlie Wall had sung to the grand jury, his support competing in an election for state Senate and Charlie Wall was back- dwindled even more. By 1940, Charlie Wall’s power was usurped by the ing Trammel. Whether Trammel asked for this support is unknown. Sicilians. Around 1942 a powerless Charlie Wall left Tampa for Miami What is known is that Charlie Wall’s support guaranteed Trammel and faded into retirement. For a man accustomed to living in the pubwould win Ybor City and Tampa. The only queslic eye and being treated like a king wherever he went, his new life of tion was how many votes would Charlie Wall obscurity was a tough pill to swallow. allow Pepper to receive? In one particular Then, in 1950, the Special Committee to Investigate Organized district in West Tampa, Charlie Wall Crime, better known as the Kefauver Committee, steamrolled decried that Pepper would only through the nation. In an effort to end the organized crime rackreceive two votes. When all the votes were tallied statewide, Pepper lost the election by 3,000 votes. In Ybor City and West Tampa, he lost by 6,000 votes. It was Wall’s high water mark–he’d won a statewide election for a candidate. The state of Florida was embarrassed by this incident and vowed to not allow another corrupt election to occur in Tampa. The following year, 1935, D.B. McKay and Robert E. Chauncey were embroiled in a heated election for mayor of Tampa. In order to squash any corruption, the National Guard was called in to guard the ballot boxes. Even when faced with the military weapons, Charlie Wall’s supporters tried to stuff the ballot boxes and total bedlam erupted throughout the city. Men and women were beaten to death in riots, poll workers were threatened, and dozens of men were arrested for repeat voting, including Charlie Wall’s old friend, George “Saturday” Zarate. During the election madness, a hurricane rumbled through Florida with winds exceeding 100 miles per hour. By the time the election turmoil and the hurricane winds finally died down, the city of Tampa was in ruins in terms of infrastructure and reputation. The election made national headlines. Embarrassed, the city finally decided it had to end the corruption. To do so, it replaced the paper ballot system with lever machines. Unable to stuff the ballot boxes, Charlie Wall could no longer handpick city leaders. No longer protected by the city and no longer On April 19, 1955, Charlie Wall was found murdered in the bedroom of his home. untouchable, other criminal syndicates were allowed to flourish, specifically the Sicilian mafia. In 1938, Charlie Wall’s good friend and business partner Tito Rubio et that was taking over every major city in the United States, Senator was gunned down in front of their gambling parlor, the Lincoln Club. Estes Kefauver formed a committee that travelled the nation, stopped Charlie Wall knew the police would have to visit the club as part of in the nation’s most corrupt cities, subpoenaed that city’s most notoritheir investigation. His friends and supporters begged him to clean out ous individuals, and questioned them under oath about the criminal all the gambling equipment and shut the club down. He refused, stat- syndicate in the city. Most of the individuals called to the stand denied ing he hoped that by keeping it operational the murderer would return their roles in any corrupt activities. But, when the committee came to to come after him. The murderer never returned to the club. When the Tampa, one individual gladly testified about his role in the Tampa police arrived to investigate the scene of the murder and found the underworld–Charlie Wall. Lincoln Club still operating, they arrested Charlie Wall and charged Returning to the public eye for the first time since leaving Tampa, him with running an illegal-gambling establishment. the now retired and powerless Charlie Wall took the stand and openly 18
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traces of Charlie Wall’s legacy can still be found in every corner of tampa–in the halls of the city’s municipal buildings through the names and photos of the countless city leaders he secretly helped to elect to running down the way the Sicilians operated their illegal activities. this went on for four years. Charlie Wall’s friends continued to tell him to keep quiet or he’d soon be dead. He never listened and on April 19, 1955, he was found murdered in the bedroom of his home. His head was bashed in with a black jack and a bat and his neck was sliced from ear to ear. On the dresser in his bedroom where he was found dead was estes Kefauver’s book, Crime in America, which was a summary of his findings during the crime hearings throughout the nation. While the police had a few suspects, including Charlie Wall’s former drivers–Baby Joe and Scarface Johnny–no one was ever charged. it is believed, though, that the murderer was someone who Charlie Wall knew. there was no forced entry into the home, so Charlie Wall had to have let the killer in. there was also no sign of struggle in the house, meaning Charlie Wall trusted the killer enough to allow him into his bedroom. it’s been nearly five decades since the murder and it remains a mystery, but, the legend of Charlie Wall has endured. Charlie Wall used to say that he survived as long as he did because the “devil looks after his own.” And, for over three decades, the devil kept a close watch on Charlie Wall, during which time he controlled the city of tampa in a way that no individual had done before or has done since. But on April 19, 1955, the devil must have found some“Baby Joe” Diez and Charlie Wall’s former body guards. Left, Joe one else to look after, and the life of one of right, Johnny “Scarface” rivera. tampa’s most colorful figures came to a dark end. traces of Charlie Wall’s legacy can still be found in every corner intriguing stories about fixing bolita games and escaping assassination of tampa–in the halls of the city’s municipal buildings through the attempts kept the city of tampa hang- names and photos of the countless city leaders he secretly helped ing on his every word throughout his to elect; in ybor City’s social clubs through the games of bolita still testimony. the next day, Charlie thrown for special events; or in bookstores throughout the city in Wall was the talk of the town and novels he inspired. throughout the city of tampa, if you look closeback in the limelight. He moved ly at those places where the sunlight doesn’t shine so bright, you’ll back to tampa fulltime and, still see traces of Charlie Wall’s shadow–the White Shadow. though he had little power, discovered he could again be Visit www.CigarCityMagazine.com for more mob stories! the center of attention simply by telling his old stories. While the residents of tampa loved his stories, tampa’s Sicilian mafia grew angry because when Charlie Wall began drinking, he’d cease telling old stories and turn his attention discussed his former life as a crime lord in tampa during the earlier part of the century. His quick wit, engaging personality and
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Newark, New Jersey. that day, back on the street working the next day, and arrested again Sometime between 1972–1976. within a week. He had in his hand the power to make sure the scumbag never bothTired of Lytwyn, they hoped they could intimidate him into quitting ered his family again. his job or backing off. He felt the gun pushing against the back of his adversary’s mouth, “I could not be intimidated,” boasted Lytwyn, who spent the early heard the teeth chattering against the metal of the gun and saw the part of his law enforcement career as part of a two-man street-patrol saliva dripping from his mouth onto the gun. Most of all, he felt the unit in an area of Newark on 14th Avenue nicknamed by fellow offipressure of his finger on the trigger, knowing one slight tug could end cers as “The Bucket of Blood Post” for the amount of blood spilled at his adversary’s reign of terror forever. the ten rowdy bars lining the avenue. Lytwyn was such a tough officer “You’re a dead man!” George Lytwyn, a member of Essex County’s that he once told Ira Pecznick, a known assassin for New Jersey’s infaOrganized Crime Strike Force screamed to reputed Newark gangster mous Campisi family, that he wasn’t “shit without a gun.” Not many Tommy Ricciardi. Ricciardi was in the driver’s seat of a car that includ- people had the nerve to mouth off to a man such as Pecznick, who ed his brother and two associates. Lytwyn said was credited with as There were four gangsters in all in many as nine murders. that automobile, but they were all Lytwyn was mean, lean, athletic frozen in fear, their badass gangster and aggressive. No, he was not going personalities wilted under the presto be intimidated by pizzas and false sure of the moment, worried that if EMT calls. they made the wrong move the offi“But they were annoying me cer would pull the trigger. because they took the fight to my It was slightly past 11:30 p.m. and home,” explained Lytwyn. “I didn’t the incident was taking place outside, bother them at their homes so I didn’t under the bright streetlights of on want them to bother me at mine. But South Orange Avenue, the main Left: Tommy Ricciardi is considered to be the inspiration behind The what could I do? I couldn’t let them street of Newark’s Vailsburg neigh- Soprano’s character of Silvio Dante played by Steven Van Zandt. know they were bothering me, so I borhood, but no one was around to witness this pending crime. No cars just ignored it the best I could and kept doing my job.” drove by. The only thing that could save Ricciardi was a moment of One Newark gangster in particular finally pushed Lytwyn over the clarity by Lytwyn; however, the anger seething through Lytwyn seemed edge. to be pushing any rational thoughts from his head. All he had on his Lytwyn has no proof who was behind the incident, but he has a mind was revenge. strong indication that it was a man known on the streets as Randy Newark gangsters had been trying to get under Officer George Griffin, but whose birth name was Randy DeLuca. Lytwyn’s skin for months. Some of their tactics were juvenile, such as “A lot of those guys changed their names to something non-Italian so the time they sent 10 pizzas to Lytwyn’s Vailsburg home. But most of that they were not easily associated with organized crime,” explained their tactics were downright harassment. They sent a card to Lytwyn’s Lytwyn. wife expressing their sympathy for her husband’s pending death. On DeLuca had graduated to the rank of a controller in the Newark mafia. separate occasions, they sent an ambulance, the fire department, the As a controller, he made up to 13 illegal lottery pickups on some days, EMTs and a hearse to his home to pick up Lytwyn’s “dead body.” which meant he handled a king’s ransom of cash and tickets. He was also “My mother-in-law, who lived with me, almost has a heart attack bad at staying inconspicuous. Lytwyn began arresting him on almost a when EMTs showed up for my body,” said Lytwyn in his heavy Newark weekly basis. Tired of losing so much money to the police, DeLuca’s highaccent. “She thought I had really died. Things like that were going too er-ups demoted him down to a number taker in an apartment. DeLuca far.” was furious. He worked hard to rise to the position of controller and his Their beef with Lytwyn was that he was too good at his job. Lytwyn demotion meant he may be he stuck as a low man on the mafia totem pole was part of the federally-funded taskforce charged with cleaning up the forever. He decided to take his anger out on Lytwyn. mafia-run illegal gambling racquet plaguing the city of Newark at the He hired Ricciardi to do his dirty work. Ricciardi was a ruthless young time. The task force was succeeding. They had a beat on quite a few of man who was eager to make his mark in the world of organized crime. He Newark’s numbers-runners and were arresting some on almost a week- was often known to negotiate deals with golf clubs and bats and was not ly basis, confiscating thousands of dollars in cash and illegal lottery tick- afraid to bring a gun to the meeting. In his negotiation with Lytwyn, he ets in the process. Some of the runners would be arrested, bailed out brought a bat. 22
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Ricciardi was a ruthless young man who was eager to make his mark in the world of organized crime. He was often known to negotiate deals with golf clubs and bats and was not afraid to bring a gun to the meeting. Lytwyn was resting in the bedroom of his second floor home when he heard a loud banging noise echoing throughout the neighborhood. He ran to his window to search for the source and saw Tommy Ricciardi, his brother Daniel “Bobo” Ricciardi and two more associates bashing what they thought was Lytwyn’s car with baseball bats. It was actually Lytwyn’s brother-in-law’s car. Lytwyn was furious. Harassing him with veiled death threats was crossing the line; actually bringing violence to his home was leaping over the line. Lytwyn grabbed his gun and raced from his bedroom, ready to end the threat right then and there, but by the time he got outside the gangsters were already squealing their tires and kicking up dirt. He jumped his car, with his brother-in-law joining him for back-up, and they pursued the perpetrator’s car. The two cars sped through Newark in an old-fashioned movie quality high speed chase. When they hit South Orange Avenue, Lytwyn forced the gangsters’ car to the side of the road, leapt from his car and rushed to the gangsters’ car. Drawing his gun, he grabbed the driver–Tommy Ricciardi–and shoved his gun into his mouth before any of the gangsters could react. “You don’t fuck with my family!” he yelled, rage in the form of spit dousing Ricciardi’s face. “You’re a dead man! A fucking dead man!” Lytwyn’s finger trembled on the trigger as he prepared to end the life of one of Newark’s worst. Before he could, however, his brother-in-law calmly approached and began talking sense into him. You’re a good cop, he reminded Lytwyn. You’re an honest cop, he said. You know this isn’t right and it isn’t you, he stated. He was right. Lytwyn was known as an aggressive cop, but an honest one. That was why he was handpicked to join the organized crime taskforce. He was known as a man who could not be bought or owned by organized crime. He was once nothing more than a lower class child who was abandoned by his mother and raised above a bar in Newark by his grandmother. He was once nothing more than a petty street punk who stole cars for kicks. Yet, he had been able to turn his life around and rise to one of the most respected men in Newark’s law enforcement community and, along with his partners, was making a major difference in the city by putting away the criminals who were trying to turn Newark into a 1970s-version of the Wild West. If he pulled that trigger, everything he worked so hard to become would be thrown away. If he pulled that trigger, it would mean that the bad guys won. If he pulled that trigger, he would be letting down every member of his unit who had worked so hard to disrupt the flow of gambling in Newark. If he pulled that trigger, he would be no better than the gangsters he fought to put behind bars. As those thoughts passed through his head, he pulled the gun out of Ricciardi’s mouth and holstered it. “Don’t you ever come to my house again,” he muttered, suffering through adrenaline shock. He and his brother-in-law then casually strolled to his car and left the gangsters trembling in fear and counting 24
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their blessings that Lytwyn had a conscience. The next day, Lytwyn was told through a third party that Timmy Murphy wanted to meet him at one of the local union halls. Timmy Murphy’s real name was Thomas Pecora and he was a top dog in the gambling ring that Lytwyn was trying to shutdown. The third party assured Lytwyn that it was going to be a friendly meeting. Murphy may have been a criminal, but he was also honorable in his own way. If he said it was going to be a friendly meeting, it would assuredly stay civil. “Tommy was like a consigliere,” explained Lytwyn. “He was the guy that they sent in to smooth situations over.” Pecora actually apologized for Ricciardi’s action and promised that it would never happen again. Pecora explained to Lytwyn that the attack on his home was not an authorized job and that Ricciardi was hired by a group of young men who were tired of Lytwyn arresting them because he was keeping them from moving up in “the system,” aka organized crime’s ladder. It was at that point Lytwyn put two and two together and realized it was probably DeLuca. Pecora even gave Lytwyn the name and address of a good body shop and told him that the place would fix his brother-in-law’s car up as good as new. “Pecora didn’t so much say they would ‘do’ the guys who came to my home if they ever bothered me again, but he implied it,” laughed Lytwyn. Pecora was true to his word. Lytwyn dropped off the car at the agreed upon auto body shop and when he picked it up it was in better shape than it was before the attack. Why would a member of Newark’s organized crime network apologize to and help a man paid to put him behind bars? “He knew I was just doing my job,” said Lytwyn. “Plus, I was helping him with his I guess.” Lytwyn went on to explain that the bosses figured that if one of their “employees” was not smart enough to avoid being arrested on a regular basis, then they were not worth promoting. In a way, Lytwyn was conducting the mafia’s job interviews for them. Lytwyn served for the organized crime commission from 1972–1976 during which time he was heavily involved in investigating the infamous Campisi family. When the federal government pulled the commission’s funding in 1976, he went on to fight narcotics in Newark. “My job never got safer,” he laughed. As for Ricciardi, he went on to fame and infamy of his own. He became a big shot in the New Jersey mafia as a top aide to Newark’s feared Lucchese crime family and is considered to be the inspiration behind The Soprano’s character of Silvio. He also became a mafia rat, turning state’s evidence in the 1990s. Lytwyn said Ricciardi’s testimony helped to put a number of mafiosos behind bars. “Looking back, they probably wish I did kill him,” laughed Lytwyn. “And it worked out for everyone else that I did not.”
Speckles of blood from the beating of his lifetime sprayed the plastic lined walls in the small room located in the basement of a restaurant. He had been set up, lured there by a rival drug dealer who was trying to beat his capitalistic spirit out of him; the beatings would not stop until he promised to cease his south Boston operations. The curse words flew from Mark Silverman’s mouth. Fists crashed against his jaw but could not silence him. He was not some soft wannabe street punk. He was tough as nails, a young man from a lower class neighborhood in Winter Hill, Somerville who scraped his way to the top of Boston’s drug trade through sheer force of personality and will. But at some point, balls give way to a body’s pain limitation. The beating finally silenced Silverman. As he sat tied to a chair in that basement that day, his face swelling and body bruising, he felt a hand grab him by the hair and lift his head up. He opened his eyes the best he could and immediately recognized the man who ordered the beating. The man paced back and forth in front of Silverman for a few moments, putting on a dramatic show, trying to further intimidate his victim. He stopped in front of Silverman, slapped him in the face and pulled a knife. 26
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That knife probably had a list of victims, a list to which Silverman thought he may soon be added. One of the men who had been beating Silverman handed his boss a gun. He shoved it in Silverman’s face and said, “Do you know who I am?” “Of course I do,” muttered Silverman. “You’re Jim Bulger.” Jim Bulger … most of America now knows him as “Whitey” Bulger, the Boston kingpin/rat who was recently arrested in Santa Monica, California after 17 years on the lam and who was the inspiration for Jack Nicholson’s character, Frank Costello, in the hit movie The Departed. Bulger is not just a movie character to Silverman, however. He is a man who once almost took his life. Mark Silverman grew up in the Winter Hill neighborhood of Somerville, Massachusetts, an area that was notorious for the strength of its organized crime. He made his first drug deal as a teenager, somewhere between the ages of 15 and 17, but it was not a typical nickel and dime start to a career in drugs. Silverman said his first deal was a sale of 60 pounds, a combination of marijuana and cocaine, and he continued to grow from there.
One of the men who had been beating Silverman handed his boss a gun. He shoved it in Silverman’s face and said, “Do you know who I am?” “Of course I do,” muttered Silverman. “You’re Jim Bulger.” At the age of 19, Silverman was taken under the wing of Joe buyers met them outside and invited them in for a sandwich. As they McDonald, a senior member of the Winter Hill Gang. McDonald, his walked in, the buyer told Silverman’s associate to sit down and order brother Leo McDonald and nephew, Joe Donahue, knew Silverman’s whatever he wanted while he and Silverman went outside to talk, aka father who lived on Marshall Street, a focal point of the Winter Hill make a deal. Outside, Silverman popped his trunk and reached for the duffle bag Gang, and saw potential in the young hustling Silverman. They hired him as a driver collecting from shylocks and introduced him around full of marijuana. Before he could pick it up, he was cracked in the skull town. He continued to deal drugs on the side and the more people the with a gun. He fell to the ground but still had a lot of fight in him. He McDonalds introduced him to, the more his side business grew. By the began cursing and screaming at the buyer about what he was going to time he was 23 years old he was making deals in the tens of thousands do to him. Unfortunately for Silverman, the buyer had the power; he of dollars. His 23rd year was also when he had his near-death run-in had the gun. The buyer took the duffle bag, put his gun to Silverman’s head and said that someone wanted to with Bulger. see him. It was a set up from the start, He escorted him back through the explained Silverman. He said that restaurant to a stairway leading into a the elder, more experienced him basement. Silverman cannot remember would have smelled the foul deal a if he saw his friend or not. He will never mile away. Dollar signs and power forget that basement, however. There have a way of clouding a young were six or seven stairs. The basement man’s judgment, however. was full of restaurant supplies. There Silverman was approached by were two side rooms splintering off the two high profile drug dealers from main room. One was an office. The south Boston who wanted to purother was lined with plastic. He was chase bulk from him. South taken to the latter and beaten. Boston was Jim “Whitey” Bulger’s Why was he setup? He was not dealterritory, but Silverman did not ing in Bulger’s territory before Bulger’s think twice about saying yes. “Whitey” Bulger, was the inspiration for Jack Nicholson’s character, men came to him. And why did Bulger While Bulger is now an infamous Frank Costello, in the hit movie “The Departed.” spare his life? gangster, Silverman was unaware “You’ll have to buy my book to find out,” said Silverman. of his power back then. Silverman ran with the McDonalds, after all, Once a hustler, always a hustler. and they were close to Bulger. So to Silverman, Bulger was just another one of the guys. “I was a young cowboy,” laughed Silverman. “I did not know any bet- Mark Silverman’s book, Rogue Mobster: The Untold Story of Mark Silverman and the New England Mafia is co-written by St. ter.” He made two deals with the high-profile dealers, paying a runner to Pete’s Scott Deitche. It will be released in February 2012. do the dirty work both times. Before a third deal could be made, the dealers told Silverman they wanted him to personally make the deliv- For more information about the book visit,www.scottdeitche.com ery. They told Silverman that they had a source with the Boston Police Department who informed them that his runner was a rat. BULGER’S TAMPA BAY CONNECTION Silverman said he was hesitant to agree to the condition and tried to Whitey Bulger had some ties to the Tampa Bay area. In 1993, Bulger purget them to meet him in Winter Hill, but the dealers kept pushing for chased a condo in the Bayside Gardens II development on Sand Key. After him to come to south Boston and kept “sweetening the pot” to the point that he could not say no. Bulger fled Boston and went on the lam in 1995, sightings of him poured into Something did not feel right about the whole situation, so he took a the FBI from across the country, including Florida. They dispatched surveilfriend and hid a gun in the trunk next to the $22,000 in marijuana he lance teams out to Sand Key, as well as agents from the Florida Department was delivering. of Law Enforcement to watch out for the fugitive gangster. As they drove over the Broadway Bridge into south Boston, both Whitey also had an account at a Clearwater Barnett Bank where he kept Silverman and his friend realized they were being followed. Their tail cash and fake identification papers in a safe deposit box. After he went on was not trying to figure out where they were going; it was there to prethe run, he visited the bank and cleared out his safe deposit box, but left his vent them from turning around. account open. The local Boston Fox news station recently disclosed that the When they arrived at the drop, Silverman said he was relieved account still had about $4000 in it, and is listed as abandoned property because it was a restaurant in the middle of the city. Chances were that with the state of Massachusetts. nothing shady would happen in public, he remembered. One of the 28
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White Chocolate Bread Pudding Ingredients 6 cups heavy cream 2 cups milk 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup vanilla extract
28 oz. white chocolate, cut into small pieces (approximately 3 1/2 cups) 4 eggs 2 cups egg yolks (approximately 12 eggs) 18 oz. Cuban bread (preferably 1-2 days old) White Chocolate Rum Sauce (recipe below)
White Chocolate Rum Sauce Recipe 1/2 cup heavy cream 8 oz. white chocolate, cut into small pieces 1/4 cup Light Bacardi Rum
Bring cream to a boil in a small pan. Take off heat and add chocolate. Stir until smooth and melted. Add rum and stir. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Preparation Heat cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla over medium heat in a large saucepan. When hot, remove from heat and add 2 1/2 cups of the white chocolate. Stir until melted. Combine eggs and yolks in a large bowl. Slowly add the cream mixture into the eggs, whipping as you pour. Cut the bread into 1/2 inch slices and place in a large bowl. Pour mixture over bread; press bread to absorb mix and allow bread to become soggy. Let cool for 15 minutes. Add the remaining cup of white chocolate, stir (do not let the chocolate melt). Pour mixture evenly in a 10” x 12” baking pan and cover with foil. Bake in a 350˚ oven for 1 hour. Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional hour until set and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool thoroughly before cutting. Slice bread pudding into individual portions and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in 350˚ oven until crispy and heated through. Top with White Chocolate Rum Sauce and serve immediately. immediatley. Serves 8.
For more information or to purchase our seasoning visit us at www.ColumbiaRestaurant.com 30
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On Friday October 7, Cigar City Magazine helped former-Buc Chidi Ahanotu celebrate the grand Opening of Cigars of SoHo with an event benefiting the Jason Ackerman Foundation. guests including local and national celebrities enjoyed food and drink, live jazz, a DJ, flat-screen tVs and and, of course, cigars in SoHoâ€™s comfy lounge atmosphere.
For more photos on this event and other events, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cigarcitymagazine 32
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MAMA KNOWS GOT A QUESTION FOR MAMA? EMAIL HER AT: INFO@CIGARCITYMAGAZINE.COM
Dear Mama, recently i sent you my family tree thinking we may be related. Did you get it and what do you think? -Could Be Related Dear Could Be Related, i received it and the only thing i was thinking was that since i have seen your family tree, i have wanted to cut it down. -Mama Dear Mama, you make me laugh so hard. the other day while reading your column, i spit my coffee out reading one of your jokes. you should go on the road with a comedy team. -Can’t Stop Laughing Dear Can’t Stop Laughing, Who do you think i should go on the road with? i think it's your parents...they made the biggest joke! -Mama
Dear Mama, i know you are a cigar smoker but i can’t stand the smell of cigars. My neighbor smokes them all day on his balcony and it comes into my apartment. How can i make him stop! -Can’t Breathe Dear Can’t Breathe, Are you for real asking me this dumb-ass question? Don't you realize that there are enough people to hate in the world already without you working so hard to give us another? My advice to you is just stop breathing! -Mama
Send your questions to Mama at firstname.lastname@example.org
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