December 16, 2008, - 12:20 pm

What Happens in Vegas: When Times Are Tough, Promote Your Mob Ties; Mayor Who Covered Up Terror Threat Banks on Mob Ties

By Debbie Schlussel
Remember Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel–the Jewish mobster who made Las Vegas into what it is today?
Well, for years, Vegas wanted you to forget him. But when times are tough, apparently the mob details are not only suddenly easy to recall, but they’re a tourism and marketing tool. That’s not to mention the mob lawyer Mayor, Oscar Goodman. He’s spending $50 million on a “Mobster Museum” and giving an ineffective female FBI Special Agent in Charge a cushy retirement job to boot.

The old downtown federal courthouse and post office is to be transformed into the Las Vegas Museum of Law Enforcement and Organized Crime. Or, as locals call it, the Mob Museum.

Silicone-Mobster Sandwich . . .

Vegas Mob Mayor Oscar Goodman:
Didn’t Mind Turning Luxor Into Mass Grave, Now Turning Courthouse Into Mob Museum

It is appropriate, says Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, because the city owes much of its success to the “made” men and associates of organized crime. They built the first big casinos in the 1940s and helped steer development into the 1980s, when mob control gave way to corporate owners.
“If we didn’t have the mob in our background, we’d be like El Paso with gambling,” he says.
Goodman, 69, knows a thing or two about the subject. He served as defense lawyer for prominent mob figures including Anthony “Tony the Ant” Spilotro, an enforcer from Chicago whose bloody character was memorably reprised under another name by Joe Pesci in the 1995 film Casino.
Another client was Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, a sports handicapper who ran the Stardust and other properties when they were mob owned. Robert De Niro played the Rosenthal-based character in the same movie.
“Had I known who I was representing when I represented them,” Goodman quips, “I would have charged them a lot more.”

Yeah, right. He knew exactly who his clients were and what they did for a “living.” He knows it, and we know it.
Goodman is something of a liar, who doesn’t shy away from endangering American lives. As I’ve noted on this site, in 2001, when the Detroit Al-Qaeda Terror Cell was caught with surveillance tapes of Vegas and plans to bomb the Luxor and other casinos, Goodman tried to sweep it under the rug in 2004, and leaned on the Vegas FBI to ignore it, then lied about it to the press. He also tried to get authorities to ignore Al-Qaeda figures cashing millions of dollars in fake bank checks at a Vegas casino. The case was tied to Detroit Al-Qaeda figure Omar Abdel-Fatah Al-Shishani.

The mayor has been pushing for a museum devoted to the mob since winning election in 1999. The concept will incorporate law enforcement’s side of the story and organized crime’s development nationally, since so many crime families kept a finger in the Vegas pie.
The recently retired special agent-in-charge of the FBI’s Las Vegas office, Ellen Knowlton, heads the board overseeing the project. She says the bureau and Justice Department in Washington have provided assistance, as have former police and agents.
“I wanted to make sure the FBI was accurately represented,” she says. “I was not interested in any project that would glorify any criminal activity.”

Translation: I want to lie about how much the Vegas FBI contributed to taking down the mob, even though they screwed up a lot, though not as badly as they do in Islamic terrorism cases.

Joe Yablonsky, a former chief of the FBI’s Las Vegas office who retired in 1984, says he was concerned the exhibits would show wiseguys “in some sort of favorable light,” but he is reassured by Knowlton’s role. He says the heart of the story is that the mob operated in Las Vegas by skimming cash from casinos and sending it via bagmen to crime bosses in Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Kansas City and other cities. . . .
Crime is a proven attraction in Sin City.
Six nights a week, tourists fork over $56 or more for a ticket to a narrated bus ride called the Las Vegas Mob Tour. Visitors hear stories and see the house where much of Casino was filmed, a church built with mob money, the restaurant where Rosenthal’s car was bombed.
Bobby Baltus, a tough-talking tour guide in pinstripes, says visitors eat it up.
“Let’s face it, these guys built this town,” he says. “If it wasn’t for them, there probably wouldn’t be a Las Vegas.”
And, he says, “where else in America could a mobster’s lawyer become the town’s mayor?”

Where else in America would a mayor lie to his own people about the danger of planned terrorist attacks there and lean on the FBI to ignore it? Oh, wait, that’s the case in most cities in America.
I look forward to the day that we have a museum documenting the then-defunct Islamic terrorists and how they were foiled.
Sadly, while the FBI celebrates and exaggerates its role in toppling the mob–which is now a shell of what it once was–they continue to ignore and break pita with the most dangerous and vile enemies of America within.
Bugsy Siegel is turning over in his grave. At least, he had a code of honor.


Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel

From my 2007 item on Vegas Mob lawyer Mayor Oscar Goodman, it gives new meaning to, “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.” LIke I said, Bugsy is rolling over in his grave:

Vegas Mayor (and Mafia lawyer) Oscar Goodman has repeatedly denied the very valid story of how members of the Detroit Terror Cell had cased Vegas. In fact, Vegas was one of the American sites that the four Detroit Al-Qaeda terrorists planned to blow up, and reportedly had scenes of Vegas in their “tourism” videos. They considered Vegas, “the City of Satan.”
That’s why in 2004, around New Year’s Eve and until the end of January, the Homeland Security color alert level was raised to Orange and several other security precautions were taken in and around Vegas airports. The Detroit FBI office took the threats seriously, as did the Vegas FBI office.
But they were under pressure from Mayor Goodman to deny the whole thing. That’s because Mayor Goodman didn’t want to see tourism and gambling in Vegas decreased–and he was more concerned about that than the safety of countless American tourists to his city.
The whole story played out in the Detroit papers, with Goodman denying it was a serious threat–because he got caught with his pants down trying to cover it up and jeopardize American lives–and differing FBI and local law enforcement offices arguing whether it was. My friend, Richard Convertino, the prosecutor of the Detroit Terror cell disclosed this information to Associated Press. Convertino went out of his way to urge law enforcement officials in Detroit and Vegas to take the terrorist threat to Los Vegas seriously.

2 Responses

Sadly … you are right. That is absolutely the case in most American cities today. Oh BTW, I believe that Detroit Al-Qaeda figure you mentioned has just changed his name, following Sunday’s incident, to: Omar Abdel-Fatah Al-Shoeshini.
Jimmy Lewis
SCS, Michigan

Jimmy on December 16, 2008 at 1:09 pm

“Let’s face it, these guys built this town,” he says. “If it wasn’t for them, there probably wouldn’t be a Las Vegas.”
That’s total bull@#$%!!! Las Vegas was founded as an LDS settlement during our sovereignty. It was a small settlement; mostly for agriculture. We lost it when the Feds partitioned Nevada as a separate territory and then a state to cut us down to pieces.
Also on that note: after the Utah War, a treaty was signed by both the US Government and the LDS Church. In that treaty, the Saints and the Church retained the right to be involved in the political process and to lobby for the Church’s interests.
With this in mind, if the Feds take away the tax exemptions on the Church for this Prop 8 stuff then we suffer it. If the Federal Government takes away the rights of the Church to lobby in the political arena, then they broke the treaty. According to the historical data, if a treaty is broken then the circumstances the treaty was supposed to solve are void. Meaning the Saints and the Church can reclaim much of the western US – including Las Vegas, San Diego, Salt Lake City, and a whole lot more!
These “No on Prop 8” folks should really think about that.

bhparkman on December 16, 2008 at 8:21 pm

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