My Mafia Connection
I call this story, my Mafia connection, because for some reason I have known people who claimed to be a part of this illegal organization, throughout my life. Some of the interesting stories I will tell you about, without naming names, but with circumstances that actually happened to me.
My story begins with my first encounter with the "guys" was while living in Denver. I answered an ad in the paper for someone to get leads to sell television, door to door. I had worked for Mad Man Muntz, whose Muntz TV was one of the first companies to bring television to Denver. So when I saw an ad in the paper for a gal to get leads to sell TV door to door, I applied and was hired for the job. In those days there were many door to door salespeople, so I knocked on doors to get leads for the guys who hired me, to follow up.
I learned after starting to work for them that they were three guys who had just come to Denver from St. Louis. Seems Estes Kefauver along with his committee, was in St. Louis at this very moment, trying to rid the city of hoods, and mob guys. I worked for just one of the men. He told me about Estes Kefauver, and he said that he and his friends were in Denver to keep out of the investigation. In those days I didn't really know anything about the Mafia. They were all very nice to me, they were doing a legitimate job of selling television sets, they paid me well for getting leads for them, and I enjoyed my time with them. This was my first contact with so called "wise guys." During this time a meeting was held that my boss attended, and he took me to the meeting with him. The meeting was a whole group of men at a very long table, and was headed by an older woman who had a shoe beside her on the table top. She was really angered because I had been brought in to the meeting, but after my boss reassured her that I was OK, she accepted my presence. I was SO wide eyed. I heard reports from each man at the table, about what they had been doing in their area, and I still didn't really understand what was going on, and in retrospect, I'm glad I didn't. Years later Nikita Khrushchev of Russia was much publicized for having taken off his shoe and rapping on a table to make a point. Well, I had seen that years before, done by a little lady holding a meeting with some of the wise guys. A memory that though at the time really scared me, I cherish to this day.
My second encounter was in Denver also, in about 1959 or 1960. We had a television and stereo business where we sold to customers, whose names we got from radio commercials we ran daily, on a local radio station. We went directly to our customers homes to make our sales. We purchased our merchandise from a wholesale company, who employed a bookkeeper that I liked very much. He also had a night job manning a window at our local dog track, where people placed their bets. I found him to be an interesting, albeit, very conservative man. He drove an old car, followed the rules of the company where he worked, and if I needed something that was not in his "power" category, he had me speak to the owner of the company. When my husband and I decided that we were not going to remain in Denver, and that we would make somewhere in the Los Angeles area our home, Sam (I'll call him Sam for my story) the bookkeeper asked me if we had ever thought about making our home in Las Vegas, Nevada, rather than going to LA. I told him we hadn't considered it, but why did he ask. He told me that he liked me and trusted me, and he thought I would make a good person to run an office for a friend of his, in Las Vegas. I asked him more about the job. He told me that his friend sent girls to the hotels in Las Vegas, to visit men in their rooms, and what he needed was, for me to have the file's that had all the names and descriptions of the girls who worked for them. My job would be to find the right girl to send on the calls that would come in from the hotels. The whole job would be by telephone, and I would not have to deal with either the girls or the hotels. Everything would be done by phone. He said that the man I would be working for was not pleased with the woman who was presently working for him, and he felt that I would be perfect for the job. He offered me $1500. a month plus a small percentage of the gross. Well, I realized that this was not just a straight office job, and I certainly wasn't prepared to get involved with people who had this much power, and I felt I knew where that power came from. My answer to my bookkeeper friend was, "Thank you for the offer Sam, but I don't think I'm smart enough to handle a job like this." A couple of years later I bought a book titled "The Green Felt Jungle" and in the true story, was a chapter about a woman who had held the job I had been offered, and she was sent to prison, shortly after I had been offered the job. They must have liked her, or she would most likely have been spending eternity in the Sands, and I don't mean the hotel. It was then that I felt my suspicions were verified, though I’m not sure. But it sure sounds right.
My third story is one that the leading character in the story is too recognizable to tell, even if I don’t use names, but suffice to say it is a memory that I will never forget, and I really liked the man who made the story a story. He is no longer on this earth plane, but I knew him as a caring individual and not a murderer.
My last “mob guy” meeting, worth telling about occurred after my husband died. I sold my beauty supply store here, and moved to San Diego, California.
After living in San Diego for a couple of years, I needed to come home to Las Vegas. Las Vegas is a town that you never get out of your blood if you live here for any length of time. Being single I started going to singles dances. I had always LOVED to dance. One of the men that I danced with, when I attended these dances, was a very heavy set man, balding, but a VERY good dancer. We danced every time he attended the dances. He had called me a few times to ask for other dates, but I had always refused. This particular night I had just returned from visiting my family in Los Angeles, and my stepson had followed me over in his car, for a short visit. We had just gotten into the house when, I'll call him Dan, called and asked me to join him at a local casino, for dinner. I told him I had my stepson with me and he said that was fine, to bring him along. We went and met him and had a nice dinner. At the end of our meal he pulled a piece of dental floss from his pocket, which was as black as coal, and used it to clean between his teeth. Then he handed it to me, and said “You should always floss your teeth after every meal, so you can borrow my dental floss and clean yours.” Now Dan was a poker player, and the Casino where we were having dinner, was one of the Poker Parlors that he sat in, for days on end. His hands were always dirty, so naturally his dental floss was dirty too. My stepson and I looked at each other and almost burst, trying to hold in our laughter. I as graciously as possible, told him that I would “floss” when I got home. We went out to get the car we had come in, which we picked up from valet parking, and my friend stood on the sidewalk with us while we waited for the car. When the car was brought around we got in the car, said goodnight, and sped away, so then we could finally laugh. It was such a funny bit, but I had found out for a fact, I won't tell you how, that he was a poker player who was also a hit man, and as the commercial goes, "It's not nice to laugh at Mother Nature, or a hit man"!! But it's OK if you do it AFTER you leave his presence!!
All of my meetings with these men they call "wise guys," were meetings with people that I found to be like any other people, at least in their dealings with me. I know they were mob guys and I guess I'm lucky to have been on the friendly side, and not on the business side, of my dealings with them. As I once told Sam, the bookkeeper, "I'm not smart enough to play with you boys." I'm glad for the experience of knowing these men, though. They were kind and treated me with respect.