The Poker Joker Forum >> Legends of Gambling >> Message started by: Five Fingers on 06/01/03 at 14:16:22
Title: Hall of Fame: Benjamin Siegel
Post by: Five Fingers on 06/01/03 at 14:16:22
Born Benjamin Siegel, on February 28, 1906, in Brooklyn, New York. As a teenager, he extorted money from pushcart peddlers on New York Citys Lower East Side. In 1918, Siegel befriended fellow hooligan Meyer Lansky, with whom he established the Bugs-Meyer Gang, a band of ruthless Jewish mobsters that ran a group of contract killers under the name Murder, Inc.
During the 1920s, Mafia kingpin Charles Lucky Luciano and a number of other Italian gangsters organized themselves into a national syndicate. Nicknamed Bugsy for his volatile nature, Siegel became a prominent player in this newly established group of criminals. With a goal of killing off many of New Yorks veteran gangsters, Siegel was one of four hit men hired to execute Sicilian mobster Joe "the Boss" Masseria in 1931.
In 1937, Siegel relocated his bootlegging and gambling rackets to the West Coast. Settling in California, he set up gambling dens and offshore gambling ships, while also consolidating the already existing prostitution, narcotics, and bookmaking rackets. He maintained an extravagant lifestyle in Beverly Hills, where he bought a palatial estate, frequented parties, and rubbed elbows with Hollywood moguls and starlets.
In 1945, Siegel moved to Las Vegas and began working toward his dream of building a gambling mecca in the Nevada desert. With funding from the eastern crime syndicate, construction of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino began under Siegels supervision. Originally budgeted at $1.5 million, the building project soon soared to more than $6 million. When it was discovered that many of the overruns were attributable to Siegels theft and mismanagement, Lansky (now a prominent member of the eastern syndicate) became enraged by his betrayal.
On the evening of June 20, 1947, Siegel was brutally killed, when a fusillade of bullets crashed through his living room window in Beverly Hills. Simultaneously, three of Lansky's cohorts entered the Flamingo Hotel and declared a takeover.
"The Flamingo. What do people always fantasize about ? Sex, romance, money, adventure. I'm building a monument to all of them."
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