Thursday, November 4, 2021

'Bugsy' Siegel

Siegel was a driving force behind development of Las Vegas as a gambling mecca.
Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel (born Benjamin Siegelbaum) was an American gangster and associate of the Genovese crime family. Siegel was one of the most feared gangsters of his day. Siegel was one of the founders and leaders of Murder, Inc and a bootlegger. After prohibition was repealed in 1933, he turned to gambling. His time as a mobster was mainly as a hitman and muscle. In 1937 he left New York and moved to California.
Bugsy Siegel was a textbook sociopath and murderer many times over. Ruthless and cold blooded, remorse was alien to him. In gangster circles, the nickname "Bugsy" is often a term of endearment or honor. It is given out to those racketeers who show no fear. Seigel was quoted as saying "My friends call me Ben, strangers call me Mr. Siegel, and guys I don't like call me Bugsy, but not to my face." In 1937, the East Coast mob sent Siegel to California to develop syndicate gambling rackets with Los Angeles crime family boss, Jack Dragna. Using investments from the mob, he took over the plans to build the first casino resort in Vegas.
The project ran far over budget as no expense was spared during the war-time economy. The mob was not happy, as they had already put about 5 million into the project. By late 1946 the syndicate issued an ultimatum: provide an accounting or else.

No one was charged, and the crime remains officially unsolved.
On the night of June 20, 1947, as Siegel sat in Virginia Hill's Beverly Hills home reading the Los Angeles Times, an unknown assailant fired at him through the window with a .30-caliber military M1 carbine, hitting him many times, including twice in the head.