Teamsters Headquarters in Chicago

Roger Touhy, armed with a machine gun, walked into a meeting at the Teamsters Headquarters in Chicago. With him was his top enforcer, Willie Sharkey, and two other men. Each of them carried a machine gun and a pistol as they herded the union officials and lined them up against the wall. As more members entered the building for a special emergency meeting, they too were lined up against the wall until there were over one hundred members held hostage.
   After two hours, Roger stood before the crowd and spoke.
   "Listen up you mugs, we've come here today to clean the dago syndicate out of the Teamsters Union."
   A cheer went up across the room from the membership. Roger looked over the faces in the hall and spotted a half dozen of Murray Humpreys' enforcers including Artie Barrett whom Touhy had known from the Valley. "We thought you were a right guy" he said to Barrett. 'What are you doing hanging around these rats for?"
   'Well, hell, I gotta eat Rog, " Barrett said.
   He let Barrett leave but pulled two of the syndicate's union leaders named Goldberg and Sass into an office and told them to call Murray Humpreys and tell him to come to the building as soon as he could. When they said they couldn't remember the number, Roger said, 'Well, get together and think it up or we'll give it to you right outside the door. None of you other mugs have to be afraid, we're after Klondike O'Donnell, Camel Humpreys and Jack White and we won't hurt anybody else."
   Out of ignorance or fear Goldberg and Sass didn't place the call.
   Roger rounded up his men and left the building at 11:30 in the morning, three full hours after they had arrived, taking Goldberg and Sass with him. His last words to the membership were, 'These two are going to get theirs. " Once again the membership exploded in cheers.

   Sass and Goldberg were released two days later. They were not harmed or abused. "Actually," said Goldberg, "they treated us well. The food was excellent. The conversation was good."

Touhy's vs Red barker

   Leading Capone's assault was George "Red" Barker, a west side Irishman and former bookkeeper. Working under Barker as his assistant was the up and coming Murray Humpreys, a Welshman who had strong-armed his way into at least twenty-six Teamster locals by then. When the decade of the 1930s opened, George Red Barker was, as one Chicago cop put it, "riding on top of the world." Barker all but controlled the Chicago Teamsters and was reported to be earning $200,000 a year as a result.
   Before he took to a life of crime, Barker had been an honest bookkeeper. He was literate, devouring every union newsletter and newspaper he could find from anywhere in the country, and paid for information on locals as well. Barker would get a copy of the financials and study them. If the union had potential, Barker recommended the takeover to Ralph Capone and Frank Nitti who talked it over with A1 Capone. If Capone agreed-and he almost always did-Barker and his boys would go after the union.
   In early 1931, Capone urged Barker to go after the coal teamsters.
   Barker approached James "Lefty" Lynch, a semi- honest thug who owned the Coal Teamsters Local 704, which delivered fuel to the entire downtown district where every office building depended upon the local for fuel to warm its buildings against the brutal Chicago winters. Barker told Lynch that Capone expected him to turn over half of the control of his union as well as his seat on the prestigious and important Joint Teamsters Council. In exchange, Barker offered Lynch protection. On the up side, Barker told Lynch, Capone intended to double the union's membership and as a result Lynch's income would double as well.
   Lynch sat through Barker's speech and then threw him out of his office. It was his union and he wasn't going to give it up to Capone or anyone else.
   Capone waited.
   Later in the month, Lynch went to his summer home on Brown Lake outside Burlington, Wisconsin. His family was preparing a barbecue and the members were seated around a long picnic table when Danny Stanton and Klondike O'Donnell, two of the meanest Capone hoods in Chicago, drove into the yard. They climbed out of the car slowly. They were in no hurry. There were no cops or witnesses around for miles. They were armed with shotguns, pistols and rifles. Stanton walked over to Lynch and said, 'The Big Fellow back in Chicago sends this message: you just retired from Local 704. From this moment on, you stay away from the union hall. You stay away from the office. You stay away from the Joint Council. You understand?"
   Lynch nodded his head and Klondike added, 'Well just so's you don't forget what was said...." and pulled out his pistol and shot Lynch through both of his legs while his wife and children looked on in horror. Lynch fell to the ground, groaning in agony. Stanton bent over Lynch to make sure he was alive and said 'You got balls; I'll give you that." He stood up and turned to Lynch's daughter and said "get him to a doctor and he'll be alright."
   At the next meeting of the Joint Council, Red Barker and Murray Humpreys appeared at the door with a dozen heavily armed Capone men.
   Barker, carrying a baseball bat, stood in the center of the room and asked "Which one is Lefty Lynch's chair?" Somebody pointed to a large leather chair in the middle of the room and Barker sat there. He looked around the room and announced that he was now running the Coal Teamsters Chauffeurs and Helpers Union Local 704 and that everything would remain just the way Lynch had left it. The only difference was that the entire treasury was turned over to Capone except for $1,000 which was left to cover administrative payrolls.
   After that, Barker went to the fuel dealers in the district and informed them that they were only hiring union members and that they were giving all of their drivers a massive pay raise or else Capone would see to it that not a lump of coal was delivered downtown.
   The dealers had no choice but to agree and passed the cost along to the real estate developers who consequently raised the price of office space in the area. Capone kept Lynch on the payroll to avoid a revolt in the ranks. However, Lynch never appeared at another union function.
   As a reward, Capone gave Barker control over the ushers' union with orders to exploit it to its full potential. Barker sent word to every theater owner in the city that they were to use his ushers for every political and sporting event, indoor or outdoor. He
said they would have to pay for "crowd control," a service only his union could provide, at a rate of $10 per usher.
   Movie theaters avoided the hike by paying off Barker in cash. Five dollars per usher was less expensive for them. Within weeks Barker was being paid off by every strip show, opera, ballet, symphony, prize fight and ball game held in the city. He was collecting a fortune until one prize fight promoter named Walter George decided to hold out.
   Barker waited until the promoter had sold out the entire Coliseum on South Wabash Avenue for a major prize fight. Then, just before the fight was to begin, a half dozen cabs pulled up to the coliseum and let out building inspectors, fire marshals, electrical inspectors, plumbing inspectors and health inspectors, all led by Red Barker. Within minutes after entering the building the inspectors declared that the water was unhealthy to drink and ordered it turned off. The hot dog, beer and soda concessions were shut down by the fire marshal and the electrical inspector said the wiring was faulty and ordered the stadium lights shut off. During the delay, the crowd became violent. George turned to Barker and said "All right, how much you bastard?"
   Barker answered that his price was up to $20 per usher and that the minimum number of ushers needed for the night was 120. Barker was paid and the fight went on.The Touhys gunned down Red Barker. It was a damaging blow to the syndicate. Willie Sharkey, Roger's most reliable killer, had rented an apartment overlooking Barker's office and waited there patiently, perched in a window, with a water-cooled, tripod set machine gun. Sharkey killed Barker by firing thirty-six bullets into him in a matter of seconds as he walked down the street.

The Nitti-Touhy labor war

"It was a war, chiefly, between the Irish and the Italians. I'm Irish and I'd come into my office in the morning after another shoot-out and I would say to my co-worker, who was Italian, 'Well that's one to my side' and the next day he would come and say 'well, it's leveled Jim, we chalked one up on our side last night.' It was awful really, they were all such young men."-James Doherty, crime reporter for the Chicago Tribune

Joe Touhy, Roger's older brother, died,

Joe Touhy, Roger's older brother, died, in June of 1929. Eyewitnesses said that Joe and his crew were breaking up a speakeasy that the Capones had opened in Schiller Park. When a waiter reached for something under the bar, Joe Touhy's own man, a hood named Paul Pagen, fired off a warning burst from his machine gun, accidentally killing Touhy.
   Johnny Touhy, the third eldest brother, didn't call it an accident. He killed Pagen in revenge for Joe's murder and was sentenced to prison for ten years to life. However he was released in four years, his brothers having purchased his freedom with bribes. "And that's what money," wrote the Chicago Tribune of John's release, "well spent in Chicago will do. "

   A few months after his parole was granted, Johnny was arrested again for attempted murder of a Capone goon. He was sent back to StatevillePrison where he died of consumption in a barren hospital room.

Capone sent Jimmy Fawcett and Murray "the Camel" Humpreys out to Des Plains to talk to Roger.

Capone sent Jimmy Fawcett and Murray "the Camel" Humpreys out to Des Plains to talk to Roger. The probable reason for sending Fawcett and Humpreys to see Touhy was, in all likelihood, to try one last time to get him to fall into line before the real shooting started. Sending Fawcett, an old hand Capone gunman, was a smart move. Touhy had known Fawcett for years, the two of them living along the edges of Chicago unionism for several years. Humpreys may have been new to Touhy. The Camel, Touhy said, did all the talking. Humpreys got things off to a bad start. He said Touhy was "putting [his] nose where it don't belong and that means trouble."
   'Mr. Capone" the Camel hissed, 'is upset at the Touhys and that isn't good." Capone wanted Touhy to stop offering protection to the Teamster Union bosses.
   Afterward Roger went to Cicero with him and Fawcett and talked over the problems with Frank Nitti. There are several versions of what happened next, but the end result of each version is the same.
   When the Camel was done with his threats, Touhy put a pistol into his mouth and told him never to show his face in Des Plains again. Humpreys offered to buy back his life with his new car but Touhy let them go. After the pair had left, Fawcett returned and offered "to kill Humpreys on the way back into Chicago and for an extra few grand, Rog, I'll knock off that son of a bitch Nitti too."
   Years later, Touhy told the story, or at least a cleaned up version of it, in his memoir. When the book hit the streets, an infuriated and humiliated Murray Humpreys denied that it ever happened.

Touhy gang members

   After the war with Capone started, the gang leaped in size to about fifty men who worked for Touhy on a regular basis, according to Jim Wagner, one of the first men to work with Touhy when he moved out to Des Plains.
   George Wilke, who was also known as George Fogarty, had been one of Touhy's minor partners in the beer business for three years but left it, 'because living in the country gave me enough sinus troubles to have to move to Florida."
   Walter Murray, forty-two, was a truck driver and laborer in the organization. Murray wore false upper teeth, yet all of the lower teeth were missing except for the two front ones. Like most of the men who worked for Touhy, Murray was from the Valley and had a wife and four children and no criminal record.
   Jimmy Clarence Wagner, forty, worked as Touhy's bookkeeper, although he and his brother John ran a small painting business out of Elmwood Park. Married in 1918 and with a ten-year-old son, James Jr., the family lived in Chicago until 1926 before finally moving out to Des Plains. Wagner had enlisted in the army during the first war and served as a sergeant in the artillery corps. After his discharge from the service he worked for Edison Kees as a flooring salesman until 1920 when he became involved with the city employees' annuity fund as a clerk for three years. He then went to work for his brother-in-law Leonard Thompson who knew Matt Kolb. Kolb introduced him to Touhy, who in 1930 hired him as a truck driver at $50.00 a week. Soon he was promoted to collector. He never used "muscle," never carried a gun and always had friendly dealings with his customers.
   Willie Ford was a collector who lived in Des Plains for four years, leaving in 1929 and then returning after the shooting war with the DeGrazios had started. His brother, Jerry Ford, was a truck driver living on 4th Street in Des Plains. Willie Ford later became Touhy's chief enforcer and strong-arm man. Ford's roommate was Arthur Reese, a gang regular and enforcer. Other enforcers included Jim Ryan who was, at least on paper, the foreman in charge of the drivers and lived on Grand Avenue in River Forrest. His brother, Clifford Ryan, lived across the street from the Des Plains elementary school. Working under Ryan were enforcers John (Shaner) Crawford and Joseph (Sonny) Kerwin.   John "Red" Ryan, one of Paddy the Bear's sons, had worked for the Shelton gang for a while and was a member of the gang along with Martin O'Leary and Old Harv Baily who were associated with the Touhy gang on a regular basis. Roy Marshalk said Wagner "was not a collector or a driver. He always rode with Touhy everywhere." Like everyone else, Ford was reluctant to discuss the dangerous Marshalk who was actually, after Tommy Touhy, the gang's chief of staff and high executioner.
   Most of the bodyguards were former Cook County Highway patrolmen like Buck Henrichsen who also worked as a laborer and was known as a "muscle man." Henrichsen brought in his younger brother called "Buck Jr." and a second highway patrolman, Mike Miller, who acted as Tommy Touhy's personal bodyguard. Other bodyguards included August John La Mar and Louis Finko, two very dangerous men, as well as Roger's childhood friend Willie Sharkey and for a brief period, Gus Schafer who in 1930 was new to the area.
   In 1933, Touhy's bodyguard Willie Sharkey said, 'We always carried guns on beer runs to protect ourselves and friends from the syndicate, after 1930 we seldom left the north side and the vicinity of Des Plains and very seldom went into Chicago or else we would have been placed on the spot. But we left town right after any of the newspapers pinned us with a crime. Tommy (Touhy) took care of that."

The Touhy gang

   In as far as the Touhy gang went, at least before 1927, there really wasn't any gang, not in the traditional sense. Rather, the entire operation was run more along the lines of any other prospering subur- ban-based business. Jim Wagner, Touhy's bookkeeper, told the FBI that the Touhy gang had an average of twenty to twenty-five members before the war with Capone, that the gang had no official headquarters only an after work hangout, an old gas station "in back of Mrs. Kolze's white house in Shiller Park."

 Another hangout was Wilson's Ford dealership in Des Plains run by Henry Ture Wilson, who, according to the FBI, not only sold most of the Touhy gang discounted Fords, but also dealt in stolen cars. Wilson's stockroom manager, Otto Rexes, ran a handbook for Roger out of the place as well. Roger also purchased most of his beer delivery trucks here under his garage's name, the Davis Cartage Company. On most Saturday nights gang members could be found at the Dietz Stables, a dance hall in Ivanhoe in Lake County.

Willie Sharkey

Willie Sharkey was a career criminal and enforcer who had known the Touhys from their days in the Valley. Sharky worked directly for "Chicken" McFadden. Nearly fifty-nine years old, Sharkey was short and pot-bellied like Roger, standing in at only five-feet, four-inches; he sported a four-inch horizontal scar on his left cheek and a two-inch scar on the corner of his right eyelid. Balding, he wore glasses and had a tattoo of a girl's head on his right elbow which winked when he moved his arm in a certain way.
   The Touhys liked Sharkey's easygoing manner and good nature when he was sober, but otherwise they considered him dangerous, slightly insane and not very bright. (Law enforcement said he had the IQ of a child)
   "Willie had two talents," Touhy said, "getting into jail and buying clothes that didn't fit him. He drank too much and he wasn't too smart, but he had a good heart and I liked him."
   Sharkey's third talent was murder. At the time of the trip into the northwoods, Sharkey was wanted for questioning in Chicago in relation to at least five gangland slayings. In 1929 Willie and his brother John Sharkey, who played a role in several of the
Touhys' mail robberies, had opened a saloon just inside the Chicago line with an unknown partner. In 1931, the Capones kicked in the front door to the saloon and gunned down Sharkey's partner. "And since that time," John Sharkey told FBI agent Melvin Purvis, "I moved out of Chicago because of my relationship to my brother, and persons in the syndicate might endeavor to cause me trouble, such as killing me."
   Willie Sharkey was a shy man who never married. However, he was proud of his brother and his family and supplemented their income with his own. Willie lived with them in Park Ridge for a while, giving his brother a Lincoln and a Ford.

Gustave Schactel, aka Gus Schafer.

   Traveling with Roger Touhy, probably in the capacity of a bodyguard, was thirty-six year old Gustave Schactel, aka Gus Schafer. Jim Ryan, Touhy's top enforcer, had hired Schafer as a guard for his beer collectors in May of 1933 and before long Schafer was planning additional mail robberies for the gang. Schafer's brother, Joseph Schactel, was a Catholic priest and a Ph.D. candidate at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. For years, Gus had managed to keep his criminal life away from his brother.
   And what a criminal life it was. Schafer was arrested in San Francisco on December 15, 1913 for burglary, and was sentenced to five years' probation. He was arrested again that same year and sent to prison for attempted larceny and released in 1916. He was arrested again on March 9, 1922, in Oakland for highway robbery and sent to Stillwater Prison in Minnesota on June 16, 1922. After his release he was arrested again on March 16, 1931, in Los Angeles on suspicion of robbery, grand theft auto and was sent to prison in Pontiac, Michigan.
   Schafer did more time in the Stillwater, Minnesota prison for a jewelry store robbery. After that, Schafer had been working in San Francisco on gambling boats as "atmosphere" as he put it, from March of 1931 until March 1932 when he and his wife packed their Chevy and relocated to Chicago.
   The marriage had problems since its inception in Oakland, California in 1920. When Gus went to prison in Minnesota his wife filed for divorce, but when he was released she dropped the proceedings. Schafer said he went to Chicago to make money on the World's Fair liquor business and felt that "if I didn't make some money my marriage would be on the rocks."
   They settled in Oak Park and then Des Plains where they were put up by a German family who had known Schafer's parents in Europe. The family gave them a small apartment. Then in May of 1933 he was brought into the Touhy organization as a hired gun. Roger and Tommy Touhy liked Schafer's style. When they learned that he had been the prison movie projectionist they promoted him to a minor official status in Tommy Maloy's movie projectionists' union so he could explain his income.
   The red-headed Schafer was a serious man by nature, seldom smiling. As Touhy said "a big guffaw or belly laugh for him was a slight twitch at the corners of the lips." But Schafer did have a dry, hangman's wit that Tommy and Roger enjoyed.
   After Schafer moved to Illinois he brought in Patrick McDonald, a San Francisco gambler whom he had done time with. The two of them, with Touhy's permission, opened a handbook in the Montrose Apartments in Chicago.

Killing Winkler

   When Roger Touhy learned that the mob had murdered Anton Cermak, he rented a plane and flew to Indianapolis to meet with the leaders of the Teamsters International Council. Roger wanted to plan their next steps in the war against the syndicate. But the meeting didn't go well. The International was pulling out of the fight. It was, in effect, surrendering to the syndicate. The union's leadership felt that although Touhy had won battles, without Cermak's clout behind him he would never win the war.
   Without the Teamsters' financial support, Roger knew that the war was lost. The best thing to do was to hold off the syndicate for as long as he could, make as much money as he could, fold up his operation and leave Chicago forever, perhaps living out his dream to retire to the wilds of Colorado.
   He had other reasons to worry, too. United States Postal Inspectors were hot on his trail for the string of mail robberies that he and his gang had pulled off the year before. Although the robberies had gone well, the rumor in the underworld was that Gus Winkler, one of the crooks who helped Touhy cash in the stolen mail loot, was informing on him.
   Roger decided to plug the leak on October 9,1934.
   'Smiling" Gus Winkler's motto was "Take care of Winkler first." He had spent most of his criminal career doing just that. This was why the Touhys and everyone else connected with the mail robberies wrongly suspected him of being the government's informant in the mail robberies.
   Touhy's own spies had reported that Winkler was seen in the FBI's office in the Bankers Building and on the day before they put seventy-two bullets into him he was seen talking with special agent Melvin Purvis on a side street just inside the Loop.
   Before Winkler was tied to the case it was widely assumed that Touhy was at odds with him.
   Gus Winkler had started out as a member of Eagan's Rats and by age twenty was a safe blower by trade. He did time from 1920-1926, sentenced for assault and wounding with a deadly weapon. He left St. Louis, moved to Chicago and struck up a lifelong friendship with Fred "Killer" Burke, which was how he first came to the attention of Chicago detectives in 1929.
   In 1932 Winkler turned over bonds from a Lincoln, Nebraska robbery in which he had played a part to the Secret Six, a group of Chicago business executives who had banded together to take action against the Chicago underworld. When the cops started to close in, Winkler cut a deal and informed on the others so long as he could walk, reasoning that he had always made it clear that he would squeal in order to save himself.
   Winkler took Newberry's place in the northside gangs as a chief financial backer and even moved into Newberry's old apartment at 3300 Lake Shore Drive. In an effort to appear more refined in the later days of his life, he started to wear glasses to cover up his crooked glass eye. He even married a tall, beautiful blonde.
   The cops Winkler consorted with were amused by him. It was easy to be amused by Gus Winkler; he was good-natured, smart and a smooth talker. On one of his frequent stops by the detective bureau Winkler told them that he often envisioned his own death by bullets. Most of the cops and criminals in Chicago agreed that Winkler was probably one of the shooters in the St. Valentine's Day massacre, after which he went into seclusion in Cicero where he was said to be in semi-retirement, plotting crimes.
   He was widely considered to be too cowardly to execute the crimes he planned. "No man in Chicago history ever played both ends against the middle so adroitly," it was said of him. When Newberry was killed he moved into the Northside gang's leadership and offered shelter and equipment to gangsters on the run.
   Winkler was an egomaniac who talked incessantly. Once during a poker game he bragged to his lawyer, Joe Marovitz and the nightclub star, Joe E. Lewis, 'You know, I'm the toughest guy in Chicago...maybe the toughest guy in the whole country. " Without looking up from his cards Marovitz threw a right cross on to Winkler's chin and knocked him out of his chair.
   "Why'd you do that?" Winkler asked.
   "To show you that you're not the toughest guy in this room."
   Winkler and his wife, "Mother" (as he called her)
had one of the strangest relationships in gangdom. She reviewed each and every illegal endeavor her husband became involved with, first chastising him about the heavenly and earthly illegalities of his work and then for possible slip ups in the plan 'Sure, Mother, " Winkler would say "You're right, it is an un-Christian act. Now that you've got that load off your chest tell us if the plan is alright."
   Gifted with an eagle's eye for detail, she would review a plan over and over again, looking for potential problems before giving her approval. "She's the best I've ever seen," Winkler boasted.
   According to Joe E. Lewis, Winkler had one eye shot out during a mail robbery and was convinced that the Touhys were out to kill him because he had "not apportioned the loot equitably. " The day before he was killed, Winkler went to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota with his lawyer, Joe Marovitz and Joe E. Lewis, to let the doctors have a look at Lewis' recently slashed throat. When they returned to Chicago Winkler refused to leave his lawyer's side. "I can't go back to my hotel and I'm afraid to register at a new one. Got any idea where I can go?" he asked Lewis, who gave him the extra key to his suite at the Seneca Hotel.
   The next day he was gunned down. Winkler's killer had waited an hour and a half for him outside the beer plant owned by Cook County Commissioner Charles Weber at 1414 Roscoe Street. As Winkler strolled toward Weber's office the killers leaped out of a green truck and fired low; in all seventy-two pellets and bullets went into him in a matter of seconds. He was literally riddled with pellets from his neck to his ankles with most of them going into his back, yet not one bullet hit his head or face. "Turn me over, I can't breathe," he gasped.
   He asked for a priest before he died and doctors found a half dozen religious relics pinned to his underwear. He was a big donor to Father Coughlin who sent him the medals. Winkler died begging for God's mercy on his soul, saying the Lord's Prayer to Father James Fitzgerald.
   When told that Winkler was dead, a postal inspector threw up his arms and said "Well, this balls up an already balled up case."
   The Touhys were suspected of ordering the killing. Hood-for-hire Dominic Marzano was held for questioning and Matt Kolb's old boss, Martin Guifolye, who was now mostly a gambler, was also being sought for questioning. Guifolye called the police and said he was available for questioning at any time. The cops also hauled in Babe Baron, a "0" of Jacob Arvey who was a close friend of international con man John Factor. Baron, a future kingpin for the mob in Las Vegas, was known to have killed Jimmy Walsh in front of Henrici's Restaurant on December 3, 1929. When cops picked him up for questioning in Winkler's death Baron was carrying a pistol in his coat pocket. He was released after several hours. Baron would go on to run one of the city's more successful car dealerships in the 1950s, due in part to a lucrative contract he had to repair city police cars.
   Another suspect was Joe Bergi, Winkler's partner in a garage where he fitted cars with bulletproof siding and windows, police lights and sirens that cop cars used in 1933. Baron later took over all the garage businesses.
   In September of that year, Bergi was arrested for harboring "Machine Gun" Kelly. Winkler was suspected of having told the police that Bergi was hiding Kelly and provided information about Kelly's role in the Urshel kidnapping case.
   As Winkler was a snitch, there were too many suspects for his murder. To this day the crime remains unsolved.
   Even with Winkler dead, postal inspectors were able to use the information he provided and move in on the mail robbers. A secret indictment was filed naming Roger Touhy, Gus Schafer and others in his gang as the persons behind the robberies.

The Guns of Zangara

"Touhy had the syndicate on the ropes and they were ready to throw in the sponge but then they killed Anton Cermak."-Saul Alinsky

   Anton Cermak had an animal's instinct for survival, and after the failed attempt on Frank Nitti's life, he knew his own days were numbered. In fact, a few weeks after the botched murder attempt, Louis "Short Pants" Campagna, Capone's former bodyguard who had risen to syndicate chief, had personally planned Cermak's murder, almost succeeding in gunning him down in an early morning ambush inside the Loop.
   Cermak tried to postpone the inevitable by beefing up his bodyguard detail from two to five men and augmenting them with private security forces. He also took the added precaution of moving from the accessible Congress Hotel to the more secluded Morrison, where he paid for a private elevator that went nonstop to his penthouse suite.
   It didn't matter how careful he was. They were going to kill him. They had to kill him. They planned to kill Touhy, too but that could wait because they knew that wouldn't end the war. Cermak would just replace him with another ambitious hood. Murdering Cermak was the key. Kill the head and the body dies.
   While it was true that there was a huge risk in killing the mayor of the second largest city in the United States, it was the key to their survival and maybe, just maybe, they would get away with it. A Chicago mayor had been gunned down in the past. Chicago's mayor Henry Harrison was killed in October, 1893. The shooter was one Eugene Pendergast, who claimed that the mayor had reneged on a political appointment.
   The syndicate knew the shooter they found would have to be a "nutcase" as they put it, but they could find a patsy to take the fall. That was the easy part. It was all a matter of timing and opportunity, both of which came together when Anton Cermak announced that he would greet President-elect Roosevelt in a public park in Florida.
   Finding the patsy to take the blame for the murder fell to Paul the Waiter Ricca. Ricca earned his nickname while working in a restaurant owned by his mentor "Diamond Joe" Esposito, a colorful underworld character whose deep political contacts enabled him to finagle a federal license to import sugar from Cuba into the states. Sugar, and lots of it, was the primary ingredient needed to make bootleg whisky.
   Esposito was a major player in the underworld. With the money he made by importing sugar, Esposito was able to expand his criminal holdings into the control of several vital teamster unions which he flatly refused to share with Capone. So they killed him. He was shot on the street while his wife and two small children watched.
   As a reward for setting up his boss for the kill, Capone allowed Ricca to take over most of Esposito's operations including the legal and profitable sugar importing business which Ricca handed over to a young hood named Dave Yaras from Chicago's west side. Ricca invested in Yaras' move to Florida and in exchange got a handsome cut of all of Yaras' illegal ventures, including a piece of his narcotics smuggling ring based out of Havana. Within a year after his arrival, Yaras' rackets in south Florida and Cuba were second only to Meyer Lansky's in size and profitability.
   According to mob boss Sam Giancana, it was Yaras who decided that Cermak's killer would be Giuseppe Zangara, a thirty-two-year-old bricklayer who preferred to be known by his Americanized name of Joey Zangara.
   Giuseppe Zangara was a mean, near-illiterate, sullen little hood from Southern Italy. He arrived in America in 1923 and took up residence with an uncle in Paterson, New Jersey.
   In September of 1929, Zangara and a syndicate hood, Tony Adgostino, were arrested for violating the prohibition law by running a 1,000-gallon still in Mount Vail, New Jersey. At the station house, Zangara claimed his name was Luigi DiBernardo and pleaded guilty, telling the police he owned the still, thus allowing the higher-ranking Adgostino to walk away from prosecution. For his troubles, Zangara was sentenced to one year and a day at Atlanta Federal Prison. During sentencing, United States Attorney Philip Forman, later a federal judge, asked 'Your real name is Zangara, isn't it?" leaving the implication that Zangara was no stranger to the courtroom. Off the record, the bootlegger admitted that he was Giuseppe Zangara but that he would enter prison under the assumed name of Luigi DiBernardo. Several years later, when the United States Secret Service investigated the Cermak shooting, agents compared photographs of DiBernardo the bootlegger with Zangara the assassin and determined that they matched. Remarkably, the agent never followed up the lead.
   Paroled from prison in 1931, Zangara moved to south Florida where he kept to himself. One of his few known contacts was his roommate, an Italian immigrant named Joseph Patane who worked at Valentino's restaurant in Miami, a mob hangout. Patane was introduced to Zangara by their landlady, Constantina Vatrone, a Sicilian immigrant whose husband Petro Vatrone had been active in the mob in Florida until he was stabbed to death in 1924, in what she later told the Secret Service was "an underworld incident. "
   Zangara spent most of his time gambling and losing heavily. In need of cash, he took a position as a mule, or courier, in Dave Yaras' heroin smuggling operation, working out of a narcotics processing plant in south Florida. Zangara's job was to transport the drugs up to New York where he turned them over to distribution specialists like Ben "Bugsy" Siegel in Brooklyn, Abner "Longy" Zwillman in New Jersey and others who would pay for the delivery. In turn, Zangara was supposed to hand the cash over to Yaras.
   But, according to several published reports, while Zangara was on one of his runs he made off with the mob's money and lost it at the track. Yaras decided to kill him. Then news came from Chicago City Hall that his Honor, Anton J. Cermak, would make an appearance in Miami's Bayfront Park to greet President-elect Roosevelt.
   Anton Cermak would make a public appearance in a crowded, open area. It was a godsend for the mob. Ricca sent word down to Yaras that they were going to kill Cermak at the park and that Yaras was to line somebody up to take the fall for the murder. It was too big a hit to not leave a gunman to take the blame. The shotgun killing of Cook County's Assistant States Attorney Billy McSwiggin a few years before had taught them a valuable lesson: always leave a fall guy.
   Yaras called Zangara into his office, and gave him his two dismal choices. The mob could kill him, or Zangara could take his chances and shoot Cermak for them. Maybe the cops would kill him, or maybe the crowd would rip him to pieces, or maybe he'd get lucky. Maybe he'd get caught after he killed Cermak. He could claim he was insane and if the judge and jury bought it, at the most he might get ten maybe fifteen years in an insane asylum and then he could walk, all debts forgiven. Yaras knew what he was talking about. Florida, second only to Texas, had the most lenient laws on the books in dealing with mentally ill criminals.
   Zangara chose to kill Cermak and take his chances with an insanity plea or the possibility that he could slip into the crowd and disappear.
   As implausible as it might seem, Zangara may have actually believed that he was going to get away with it. After the shooting, when Secret Service agents searched Zangara's room, they found his neatly packed travel bag sitting in the middle of his bed. Inside were his clothes, a book, The Wehman Brothers' Easy Method for Learning Spanish
Quickly, several newspaper clippings about Roosevelt's trip to Florida and another on the Lincoln assassination conspiracy.
   Despite Zangara's fantasies of escape, the mob had no intentions of letting him slip away and disappear. They needed a patsy to take the fall. They had already started painting a picture of Zangara, the conservative registered Republican, as Zangara, a radical communist who wanted to overthrow the American government. But better than a patsy, they wanted a dead patsy. According to Roger Touhy, the second after Zangara shot Cermak, a mob assassin would shoot Zangara and disappear into the crowd, leaving the Miami police, Secret Service or Cermak's private guards with the credit for killing the Mayor's murderer. The gunman was also there to make sure that Zangara followed through on his assignment. As Chicago newsman Jack Lait wrote, 'had Cermak escaped Zangara's bullets, another trigger man would have gotten him."
   The two back-up gunmen were Three Fingers Jack White and A1 Capone's former bodyguard Frankie Rio, both of whom were picked up at the Chicago train station two days before Anton Cermak was shot. But the police had no reason to hold the two smirking hoods who explained that they were on their way to Florida for a short vacation. 'You mugs slay me,"White said. "First you ride me to get out of town and then when I try to leave, you want me to stay."
   The next day, down in Florida, Giuseppe Zangara went to the Davis pawn shop in downtown Miami and spent eight dollars on a .32 calibre revolver and ten bullets. While still in the shop, Zangara placed five bullets in the chamber and kept five in his pocket and then began stalking Anton Cermak. Zangara
walked to the Bostick Hotel because he had read in the papers that the hotel's owners, Horace and May Bostick, were close friends of Cermak and expected him to drop by that evening before he went to Bayfront Park. Zangara went to the hotel, which was actually more of a rooming house than anything else. He paid his dollar for the night and asked to see all of the exits and entrances. Then he went to his room where he proceeded to sit on the edge of the bed, with the door open, and stare down the hallway toward the front door of the hotel, waiting for Anton Cermak to arrive so he could kill him.
   At 5:30, after six hours of waiting, Zangara probably realized that Cermak wasn't coming and left the hotel by a back door. He quickly walked several blocks to a cigar manufacturing plant owned by Andrea Valenti, a Sicilian immigrant. Zangara, Valenti and two other men, Steve Valenti and Lorenzo Grandi, left the factory at about 7:30 and made their way to Bayfront Park. But they miscalculated how many people would turn out for the event. By the time they arrived at the park, at about eight o'clock, 10,000 spectators filled it to standing room only. Slowly, and sweating profusely, Zangara and the others obnoxiously pushed and shoved through the crowd trying desperately to make their way to the bandstand.
   At about that same time, Anton Cermak was preparing to leave his hotel room for the park. He was dismally sick with peritonitis causing him to double over in pain. A lesser man would have canceled the night's engagement but Tony Cermak had always been extraordinary. As he prepared to put on his light blue and white jacket, a bodyguard handed him a bulky black bullet-proof vest but Cermak didn't want it. It was too humid and he was weak. It was a mistake that would cost him his life.
   Cermak arrived at the park about a half-hour before Franklin Roosevelt's car pulled up to the bandstand. At about the same time, Zangara pushed and shoved his way up to the second row of chairs.
   F.D.R. placed himself on the car's rear seat. He took a small black microphone and made a short speech as a flood light beamed down on him in his white suit. He was the perfect target, but Zangara, less than thirty-five feet away, never fired.
   When Roosevelt's speech ended, he turned and looked up at the stage and saw Cermak sitting in the front row and waved 'Tony! Come on down here. "
   Smiling broadly, Cermak rose from his chair and walked toward F.D.R., his bodyguards stepping up to join him, but Cermak told them to stay where they were. It was unseemly, he said, for the Mayor of Chicago to be photographed with more bodyguards than the President-elect.
   The two men shook hands and chatted for less than three minutes, then Cermak stepped away from the car and turned to his right and then, for some unknown reason, walked a dozen steps away from the stage and toward the place where Zangara was waiting.
   At that moment, Zangara leaped out of the crowd and sprang onto an open seat, drew his revolver from his trouser pocket, fired five rounds directly at Cermak. One bullet hit Cermak in the right armpit and pushed its way to just above his heart and then drove itself into his right lung, causing the mayor to grab his chest with both arms and slowly sink to his knees.
   Several other bystanders were struck by bullets, yet Zangara maintained, repeatedly, that he never got off more than three rounds from his five-round pistol. Remarkably, police recovered seven bullets from the scene.
   Just minutes after the shooting, United States Representative-elect Mark Wilcox and Chicagoan Robert Gore, told a radio newsman they were standing a few feet from Zangara. Gore said, "He was shooting at Cermak. There is no doubt about that. The killer waited until Mr. Roosevelt sat and then fired. "
   Based on Gore and Wilcox's statement, reports that Cermak had been shot by Chicago gangsters went out over the wires at once. But after the first day, there was no other mention of gangsters being involved in the shooting. Later, when Roosevelt waited in the halls of the Jackson Memorial Hospital where Cermak was being treated, he pointed out that not one of the six persons hit by bullets were near him when they were shot. In fact they were at least thirty feet away and only two or three feet away from Cermak and, added Roosevelt, Zangara had not fired off a single shot at him while he had a full eight minute window during his speech. Roosevelt concluded that Zangara was "a Chicago gangster" sent to kill Cermak.
   In 1959, at his last parole hearing, Roger Touhy said that when Zangara started shooting, Jack White and Frankie Rio, both wearing Cook County Deputy Sheriff's badges, waited until Cermak fell to his knees and then stepped out from the crowd and fired a .45 caliber pistol at Zangara but the shot missed and nicked several bystanders instead. Before they could get off a second shot, the crowd had leaped onto Zangara, in effect saving his life.
   From his hospital bed Anton Cermak insisted that he was Zangara's target. When his secretary arrived from Chicago, Cermak said to him, "So you're alive! I figured maybe they'd shot up the office too."
   Cermak was in relatively good condition on the first few nights in the hospital and issued his own news bulletins on his condition. By the third day, however, colitis complicated Cermak's wounds and caused him great pain. At one point Cermak's intestinal trouble made his temperature rise to 101.6. On February 27, Cermak contracted pneumonia and died. Giuseppe Zangara went on trial for murder.
   Zangara's three lawyers appointed by the state didn't speak Italian, had never tried a criminal case and none of them had ever argued before a jury. It was their recommendation that Zangara plead guilty. When he did, the court sentenced him to death less than two months after he fired the fatal shots that killed Anton Cermak.
   His last few days were dismal. The only people to visit him in jail were the prison chaplains, whom he cursed and threw out regularly. Just before he was walked out to the death chamber, the prison warden asked Zangara if he was part of an organized group that plotted to kill Cermak "No. I have no friends. It was my own idea. "
   Then the little murderer strutted down the hall and sat himself in the electric chair, but he was so short his feet didn't touch the ground. Just before the guards placed a hood over his head Zangara turned to the warden, smirked and yelled "Viva Italia! Viva comorra!"
   The word comorra was one of many Italian terms for the Mafia. Then he leaned back and waited. The room was filled with an uncomfortable silence as 2,300 volts snuffed out Zangara's strange life.
   Ed Kelly, Chicago's next mayor, was the kind of city official that Frank Nitti could live with. When reporters were looking to tell Kelly that he was Chicago's new mayor, they found him gambling at a mob owned race track in Havana. When asked if he thought that the syndicate had anything to do with Cermak's killing, Kelly replied "Boys, from now on, there is no such thing as organized crime in the city of Chicago."

Tommy Touhy's machine gun battle with Fur Sammons

The good news for Touhy was that Murray Humpreys, Red Barker's assistant, did not fight being jailed on federal income tax charges, no doubt to avoid sure death at the hands of the Touhys. The bad news was that the shooting put a far more competent and dangerous man in charge of the outfit in the form of Paul "the Waiter" Ricca. Ricca's first move was to bring in 'Three Fingers" Jack White to replace the murdered Red Barker.
   White was a Valley Gang graduate who said he got his nickname when a brick fell on his hand on a construction site when he was a boy, crushing several fingers. It was a deformity he tried to hide with a glove, stuffing the empty fingers with cotton. In fact it's more likely that White lost the fingers in a bungled burglary attempt where he mishandled nitroglycerin, a common mishap that probably cost Roger Touhy his right thumb as well. White recruited James "Fur" Sammons, a certified psychopath and probably the most dangerous man in Chicago, if not in the United States.
   Like White, Sammons' record was long and varied. In 1900 he and four others kidnaped an eleven- year-old, eighty-five-pound school girl, raped her, broke her nose, punched out one of her eyes and stabbed her in the vaginal area with a pencil. Sammons, who showed no remorse over the attack, smirked at the girl's parents in court. He was given five years for his part in the crime and was paroled two years later. Two months after his release, Sammons was arrested for the murder of Patrick Barret, a saloon keeper. He was convicted and sentenced to be hanged. He was put into solitary confinement where it was said he was driven insane by the solitude. He remained on death row until 1917 when he managed to escape and commit a series of robberies before being recaptured.
   Both Three Fingers Jack White and Sammons had been paroled in 1923 by Illinois Governor Len Small after paying a small fortune in bribe money to "Porky" Dillon, a Touhy gunman who had been one of Small's bagmen. Porky Dillon had an interesting background. He had once been sentenced to serve ten years in the state prison but managed to rig a pardon for himself from the same corrupt governor, Small.
   White was a competent battle tactician. Now backed by Sammons' psychotic brutality, he was able to take back the upper hand in the battle against the Touhys in four quick and deadly blows. The first to die under the White-Sammons regime was Teddy Newberry, the mayor's bag man who plotted the Nitti shooting. Newberry was found lying face down in a ditch of frozen water in Porter County, Indiana. The killers were on their way to a mob burial ground, the gruesome real estate that belonged to "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn and was later passed down to Mickey "the Ant" Spilotro in the 1970s.
   Next they got Touhy's strongest ally, Paddy Barrell. Barrell was the international vice president of the Teamsters. He was killed while he and his bodyguard, Willie Marks, were vacationing in Wisconsin. Marks, a former Moran gunner, had survived the St. Valentine's Day Massacre by being late for work. This time he wasn't so lucky. The killer, believed to be Fur Sammons, caught Barrell and Marks off guard while the two were fishing knee deep in a lake. The blast from the shotgun, fired only inches from the victims, nearly took off Barrell's head.
   A second and awesome setback for the Touhys came when White and Sammons caught Matt Kolb at his saloon, the Club Morton. Kolb was standing in the hallway next to a roulette wheel. Walking up from behind him, Sammons said, "Hello Matt. " As Kolb reached out to shake hands, Sammons grabbed his hand and arm tightly as White pulled out an automatic and poured the six shots into the little fat man. After the killers started to leave, Sammons said, "I better make sure." He returned and fired another shot into Kolb's head. The final round picked up the dead man's skull and bounced it off the floor. With Kolb dead and his blackmail records gone, the price for political and police protection went through the roof, even with Cermak on their side.
   The next blow came when Tommy Touhy was gunned down by Fur Sammons. It happened when Tommy and two cars of his men combed the streets of Chicago looking for Fur Sammons. As it turns out Sammons was out in an armor-plated car, looking for Tommy. The two groups spent several hours stalking each other until Tommy decided that he had had enough of the cat and mouse game and ordered his caravan to pull over at the intersection and wait for Sammons.
   Several minutes later Sammons brazenly pulled up alongside them, Tommy leaned out his window, machine gun in hand and opened fire on Sammons, hitting his tires and radiator. Then, without taking his finger off the trigger, Tommy climbed out of his car and stood on the bumper and fired into Sammons' windows. Sammons leaned out of his window and released a clip into Tommy's legs while driving with one hand and firing with the other. A squad car from the town of River Forrest pulled onto the scene and demanded that the gunmen pull over. The Touhys answered by firing a clip off at the cops who returned fire, but by then Touhy and Sammons had disappeared into the city.

Banghart and the Factor "ransom"

In the summer of 1933 Basil Banghart and Isaac Costner met Jake the Barber in suburban Maywood, Illinois to discuss Factor's kidnapping. Banghart was suspicious, so Factor explained that there were too many holes in his kidnapping story and that too many people were starting to doubt the whole thing. The British government wouldn't let up on its demands to have him extradited. He said he was willing to pay them $25,000 in cash if they would call him and demand more money while the FBI and police listened in on the line.
   After a few demands from them, Factor said he would arrange a time and place for the additional ransom money, $25,000, to be paid. Then Factor gave Costner $5,000 as a down payment and Banghart agreed to go into the deal. A day later, Costner placed the call to Factor's hotel suite while Tubbo Gilbert and Special Agent Melvin Purvis of the FBI listened in on the call. Costner identified himself as one of the kidnappers and demanded to know when the second half of the ransom would be paid. Factor replied that he was having difficulty raising the money and that Costner should call back in a day or two.
   Then, to the absolute horror of police professionals, after the call had ended Factor called a press conference and said that he had received a telephone demand for more money from the kidnappers and that Chief of States Attorney's Investigators Tubbo Gilbert and Special Agent Melvin Purvis were listening in on the line at the time. The papers ran with the story and suddenly Jake the Barber's kidnapping story was credible again.
   Eventually Costner and Banghart arranged to pick up the additional ransom on the corner of Wolf and Ogden Roads, just outside the forest preserves.
   In preparation, Chicago Chief of Detectives William Shoemaker rounded up 250 heavily armed policemen, police cadets, sheriffs, deputies and FBI agents, two airplanes and sixty-two squad cars, ten machine guns and a dozen drop bombs and then huddled with Melvin Purvis and Tubbo Gilbert for three days to plan the kidnappers' capture.
   It had been agreed that the money would be dropped off by a messenger in a taxi cab and the police commandeered a cab that they filled with two officers, armed with machine guns and pistols, drove to the pick up point and waited. Banghart was late picking up the money and sped onto the road where the cab was waiting and pulled up to the taxi's fender, screeching to a halt, just barely avoiding an accident. He stepped out and walked over to the cab and looked at plainclothes officer Patrick McKenna in the back seat.
   "You got a package, a package for Smith?" he asked.
   McKenna nodded "Yes. It's here." At that,
McKenna climbed out of the car, looked up at the two police airplanes circling above them and waved his arms to signal that the pickup had been made.
   Banghart saw the set up, if in fact he hadn't already been told about it by Gilbert, and floored his car down the road only to find it blocked by a dozen squad cars. Throwing the car in reverse, he raced down to the other end of the road to find another road block. He threw the car in reverse again and dodged back and forth between the roadblocks looking for an opening. At one point the two cops in the taxi, McKenna and Meyers, drove up behind Banghart's car and fired a machine gun at the gangster, missing every shot. In frustration, Meyers pulled the cab up alongside Banghart's car to give McKenna a better target. McKenna let a burst go from the Tommy gun but missed again. This time, Banghart drove straight at the roadblock in front of him and the cops, not really sure if he would stop or not, moved out of his way. Banghart drove into the forest preserve to get out of the view of the airplanes above him. With the police only yards behind him, Banghart leaped out of the car, let it smash into a tree and ran away on foot into a rain gully that led to a state highway. From there, he hitchhiked back to Chicago, $25,000 richer, or so he thought. When Banghart opened the package, he found only $500 and stacks of cut up newspapers.