1882 to Nov. 4, 1928.
Gambler, thief, bootlegger, underworld financier and drug dealer, New York-born Rothstein is considered by some to be the father of American organized crime.
Never directly tied to the American Mafia, Rothstein nevertheless was an influence on many who would later rise to power in that organization. Among his more successful students are counted Frank Costello, Charlie Luciano, Phil Kastel and Meyer Lansky.
Rothstein's early bad luck gambling against "the house" reportedly helped him decide to become "the house." He is believed to have opened his first gambling establishment at New York's Hotel Francis in 1909. With his profits, he invested in other criminal endeavors, including drug trafficking.
There is some evidence that Rothstein financially backed what became known as the Black Sox Scandal in 1919. Rothstein contributed his wealth and clout to bootlegging and speakeasy enterprises in the 1920s.
In October 1928, Rothstein might have assisted Jack Diamond in his feud with Dutch Schultz. Rothstein is believed to have aided in the murder of Schultz ally Joey Noe. Schultz might then have taken revenge by having Rothstein shot and killed at the Park Central Hotel on Seventh Avenue on Nov. 4, 1928.
Authorities were fed a hardly believable story about Rothstein being murdered over gambling debts. They indicted gambler George McManus and his associate Hyman Biller for the murder. McManus and Biller were later cleared of the charge.
© 2007 T.Hunt
The American "Mafia"