Life shows no mercy for the weak. Cognizance about everythin has become mandatory to survive. Get a piece of everythin that life has in the offering ! i share all that i know to help others know what i know. we stay together , we survive. welcome to candor corner. know. share. survive. always with candor, Praveen Chandar

Friday, September 21, 2007

AL CAPONE - Episode 1 (Part 2 of 2)

Hi people,

Here is the second part of the first episode featuring the Chicago Crime Czar Al Capone.

Having established himself as the Don in Chicago, he concentrated on expanding his rackets and illegal settlements. At this time, Al became associated with a man that would be his friend for life, Jack Guzik. Incredibly enough, Guzik's large Jewish Orthodox family made their living through prostitution. Closer in lifestyle to Torrio, Guzik was a devoted family man who acted like an older brother to Al. Capone showed his ability to step outside the Italian community as he had in marrying his Irish wife. Now his closest friend was Jewish. Capone's lack of prejudice and ability to create alliances outside of the Italian gangster community would be invaluable in creating his destiny.

Joe Howard, a small-time thug, assaulted Capone's friend Jack Guzik when Guzik turned him down for a loan. Guzik told Capone and Capone tracked Howard down in a bar. Howard had the poor judgment to call Capone a dago pimp and Capone shot Howard dead.

No Witnesses !
William H. McSwiggin, called "the hanging prosecutor," decided to get Capone, but in spite of his diligence he wasn't able to win a conviction, mostly because eyewitnesses suddenly developed faulty memories !!

Capone got away with murder, but the publicity surrounding the case gave him a notoriety that he never had before. He had broken out of the Torrio model of discreet anonymity once and for all. At the age of twenty five after only four years in Chicago, Capone was a force to be reckoned with. Wealthy, powerful, master of the city of Cicero, he became a target for lawmen and rival gangsters alike. He was keenly aware that the next lavish gangster funeral he attended could be his own. The fragile peace that Torrio had constructed with other gangs was blown apart by Prohibition. Gangland murders were reaching epidemic proportions.

Capone went into hiding for three months in the summer. Reputedly some 300 detectives looked for him all over the country, in Canada and even Italy. Those three months in hiding made an indelible mark on Al. He began to see himself as much more than a successful rackeeter. He started to think of himself as a source of pride to the Italian immigrant community, a generous benefactor and important fixer who could help people. His bootlegging operations employed thousands of people, many of whom were poor Italian immigrants. His generosity was becoming legendary in Lansing. Capone had real leadership abilities and was very capable of extending those talents into areas that were beneficial to the community. He seriously thought of retiring from his life of crime and violence.

On July 28, 1926, he returned to Chicago to face the accusations of murder. It turned out to be the right decision because the authorities did not have sufficient evidence to bring him to trial. For all the public uproar and efforts of the law enforcement groups, Al Capone was a free man. The authorities looked impotent.

**Quote :
"Public service is my motto, Ninety percent of the people in Chicago drink and gamble. I've tried to serve them decent liquor and square games. But I'm not appreciated. I'm known all over the world as a millionaire gorilla." **

St. Valentine's Day Assasination :

Al Capone and McGurn, his most trusted general in his enterprise, meticulously planned out a final violent attempt to wipe out Bugs Moran, his only rival left alive. McGurn put together a first rate team of four out-of-towners. He had a bootlegger lure the Moran gang to a garage to buy some very good whiskey at an extremely attractive price. The delivery was to be made at 10:30 A.M. on Thursday, February 14. McGurn's men would be waiting for them, dressed in stolen police uniforms and trench coats as though they were staging a raid. Wanting to be far away from the scene of the crime so he took his girlfriend and checked into a hotel. Establishing an airtight alibi was uppermost in his mind. At the garage, they spotted a man who looked like Bugs Moran . The assassination squad got into their police uniforms and drove over to the garage in their stolen police car. The bootleggers, caught in the act, did what they were told: they lined up against the wall obediently. The four assassins took the bootleggers' guns, and opened fire with two machine guns, a sawed-off shotgun and a .45. The men slumped to the floor dead.

It was a brilliant plan and it was brilliantly executed except for one small detail --the target of the entire plan, Bugs Moran, was not among the men executed. Moran was late to the meeting, seeing the police car pulling up just as he neared the garage. Moran took off, not wanting to be caught up in the raid.

FALL OF CAPONE : ( Spearheaded by Eliot Ness )
Andrew Mellon, the Secretary of the Treasury, was asked to spearhead the government's battle against Capone. Mellon commissioned a two-pronged approach: to get the necessary evidence to prove income tax evasion and to amass enough evidence to prosecute Capone successfully for Prohibition violations. The man charged with gathering the evidence of Prohibition violations --bootlegging --was Eliot Ness, who began to assemble a team of daring young agents like himself. The biggest effort was led by Elmer Irey of the IRS Special Intelligence Unit. After a conference with Torrio and other counterparts in the enterprise to arbitrate gangland disputes and to mitigate violence in the future, Capone went to a movie in Philadelphia. When the movie was over, two detectives were waiting for him. In less than 24 hours Capone was arrested and imprisoned for carrying a concealed weapon. He was packed off first to the Holmesburg County Jail and finally to the Eastern Penitentiary where he stayed until March 1930.

With Al in jail and Ralph, Guzik and Nitti running his business, Ness was given the mission of collecting enough evidence of Capone's bootlegging to convince a grand jury that Capone was violating Prohibition laws as well as evading income tax. Ness had his men tap Ralph's phones continuously. Emboldened by this frontier lawman approach, Ness and his "Untouchables" continued to wiretap and shut down Capone breweries.

In mid-March of 1930, Capone was released from jail, a few months early because of good behavior. Two undercover agents named Malone and Graziano were deployed to infiltrate Capone's organization. Major efforts were made to create false identities for the two men as small-time Brooklyn racketeers. They, after successful infiltration as coupiers in his gambling joints, collected information and evidence about the various fronts from which Capone operated, the police who were on his payroll, their plans to assasinate politicians, government's witnesses and rival gangsters.

Eliot Ness and his Untouchables had impressively documented thousands of Prohibition violations that would be used against Capone if the tax case failed. Ness wanted very much to humiliate Capone publicly as well as to put him in jail. The murder of his one of his friends was the catalyst to a plan to openly embarrass Capone. From his many successful raids on Capone breweries and other liquor operations, Ness had accumulated some forty-five trucks of various types.

The Final Trial :
On October 6, 1931, fourteen detectives escorted Capone to the Federal Court Building. Security was very, very tight. Capone was brought in through a tunnel to a freight elevator. The crime czar was well dressed in a conservative blue serge suit. Capone was indicted with twenty-two counts of tax evasion totalling over $200,000. Capone and sixty-eight members of his gang were charged with some 5,000 separate violations of the Volstead Act, some of them going back to 1922. Capone was facing a possible 34 years in jail if the government completely won its case. On October 17, Johnson gave his final summation to a jury composed of men with firm backgrounds like his own. after nine hours of discussion, the jury completed its deliberation and found Capone guilty of some counts, but not all counts of tax evasion.

The following Saturday, the judge sentenced Capone to eleven years, $50,000 in fines and court costs of another $30,000. Bail was denied and Capone would be led to the Cook County Jail to await eventual removal to a federal penitentiary. Capone left the courtroom putting up a non-chalant countenance. He was infuriated when one of the officials hurled accusations at him, he was restrained by the marshals who had him in custody.

Al spent the last year of his sentence, which had been reduced to six years and five months for a combination of good behavior and work credits, in the hospital section being treated for syphilis. He was released in November of 1939. For his remaining years, Al slowly deteriorated in the quiet splendor of his Palm Island palace until January 25, 1947 when he died of cardiac arrest at age 48, his grieving family surrounding him.

My Last Words About This Man:

In his forty-eight years, Capone had left his mark on the rackets and on Chicago, and more than anyone else he had demonstrated the folly of Prohibition; in the process he also made a fortune. Beyond that, he captured and held the imagination of the American public as few public figures ever do. Capone's fame should have been fleeting, a passing sensation, but instead it lodged permanently in the consciousness of Americans, for whom he redefined the concept of crime into an organized endeavor modeled on corporate enterprise. As he was at pains to point out, many of his crimes were relative; bootlegging was criminal only because a certain set of laws decreed it, and then the laws were changed.

Praveen Chandar.