January Is Mob Month in Las Vegas

Sal Polisi, former mobster turned author,
actor and film producer, will be there.
From ReviewJournal.com:

Former wiseguys and G-men plan to join forces for Mob Month at the Clark County Library every Tuesday in January beginning Jan. 8.

"These events have been very popular with our audience," said Julie Okabayashi, scheduling specialist for the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. "People like to reminisce, and I'd guess if you polled the audience, you would find that the majority liked Vegas better when the mob was in charge."

Plans include panel discussions with former mobsters, law enforcement, authors, historians and other witnesses to the mob's rise to power in the 20th century, including question-and-answer sessions and book signings.

The annual event began when Henry Hill, a mobster-turned-FBI informant whose escapades became the inspiration for the movie "Goodfellas," came to the library with the idea of telling people the real stories behind the mob's chokehold on Las Vegas.

Hill died in June, and the Clark County Library plans to honor the "goodfella" during the Jan. 22 event. Ex-mobster-turned-author, actor and film producer Sal Polisi plans to talk about his relationship with Hill and show an interview he conducted with Hill days before his death.

"We want to shine a spotlight on his life," Okabayashi said. "His was the typical life of a wiseguy and demonstrates what attracted so many young men to the lifestyle."

The Jan. 8 panel discussion, titled "When the Mob Ran Vegas," is scheduled to feature former Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Miller, former Las Vegas Sun reporter and true crime author Cathy Scott and mob wife and author Wendy Mazaros, among others.

"It's an interesting part of Las Vegas history, a history that people are fascinated with," said Scott, author of "Murder of a Mafia Daughter: The Life and Tragic Death of Susan Berman." "There are a lot of unique stories that came out of Las Vegas, and we get to talk about them."

The mob shared an interesting relationship with the people of Las Vegas, Scott said.

"All of the mobsters had their names in the phone book. They lived among the people," she said. "The city knew the mob was here, knew who they were. Their kids went to the same schools as everyone else's."

"The IRS vs. the Chicago Outfit" discussion, scheduled for Jan. 15, is set to feature former Chicago mob associates Frank Cullotta, Tony Montana and author Dennis Griffin, along with current and retired agents from the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation division.

The panel plans to talk about "what really happened and how Hollywood got it wrong." Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith is scheduled to moderate...

Mob Month
Mob month events are planned at the Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road. For more information, call 702-507-3458 or visitlvccld.org.
Jan. 8 - "When the Mob Ran Vegas" at 7 p.m., box office opens at 6 p.m.
Jan. 15 - "The IRS vs. the Chicago Outfit" at 7 p.m., box office opens at 6 p.m.
Jan. 22 - "Remembering Henry Hill" at 7 p.m., box office opens at 6 p.m.
Jan. 29 - "When the Law Kicked the Mob" Out of Vegas at 7 p.m., box office opens at 6 p.m.
The library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, is playing host for the popular event for the fourth year.


  1. Was Ralph Lamb as much a badass as Dennis Quaid portrays him to be?

  2. Good question -- in fact, you gave me an idea for a story... I quote: "Lamb was sheriff for 18 years, longer than any Clark County sheriff. He forged a rural department into an effective urban one, and was largely responsible for merging the sheriff's office and the Las Vegas Police Department into the single police agency dubbed Metro. "When I went to work there was hoods here, on the Strip, and the legitimate people mostly came later," said Lamb in a recent interview at his Las Vegas home.

    "Everybody wants me to write a book but I never have said I would. The first guy to come to me on something like that was Sam Peckinpah. He said we could make a great movie and he'd get Clint Eastwood to make it. We were on our way, had it kind of in outline, when he died."

    Lamb modernized the department. "At first, all anybody knew was that Bugsy Siegel built the Flamingo. Nobody knew who the young Turks were. So we started building an 86 file, working closely with the FBI. They would alert us that some hood was coming here, and usually we would surveil this guy awhile to see who he contacted, before we ever talked to him. So that way we built up intelligence information."

    When the conversation finally took place, the hood would be informed that ex-felons had to register with the sheriff, told about the work card law, told that while the Mafia and Cleveland Syndicate operated casinos, they operated at the sufferance of Lamb and other elected officials and had better confine their activities to legal ones.

    But Lamb wasn't totally clean, we know: in 1980, the Wall Street Journal exposed that Jay Sarno, the mastermind of Circus Circus and Caesars Palace, then in the throes of planning the Grandissimo, offered Lamb and a handful of others options to buy stock in the new casino at an incredibly sweet deal.

    The public would pay $5 a share. Lamb was among the chosen few who would be able to buy in at 3 cents a share. Lamb, for an investment of $1,125 stood to obtain $562,500 worth of stock. Except the hotel was never built.

    After 18 years as sheriff, Lamb was turned out by the voters in 1978. He made another bid in 1994 and lost.

    Voters didn't seem to want as sheriff a man who in 1977 was indicted (but not convicted) on charges of tax evasion.


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