Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas

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Dirty Laundry | S1E9

by Las Vegas Review-Journal | The Mob Museum
July 14th 2020
00:42:55
Description

"You never become a rat."

Following their arrests for attempted robbery of a home furnishings store in Las Vegas, Frank Cullotta and five other members of the "Hole in the Wall Gang" face s... More

Hi. Everyone read here. As always, I want to give you a quick warning before we get going That this podcast might not be suitable for all audiences. Specifically, I want to let you know that this episode contains a brief discussion of suicide. If that's something you'd like to skip over, it will be around the 15 minute mark of the episode. And please take care while listening. Yes, yeah! Mhm. Monday, May 24th 1982 It's about 8.5 months after the members of the hole in the Wall Gang were arrested in Las Vegas following the burglary attempt. You heard about a couple episodes ago. One of the members of the Hole in the Wall Gang, Larry Newman, is appearing in U. S District Court for a sentencing hearing following a conviction. In a separate case, he'd been found guilty of being an ex felon illegally in possession of a gun. Newman's attorneys have been arguing that their client should be released on bond pending an appeal of his weapons conviction. Organized crime strike force prosecutor Stan Hunterson is arguing that he should be denied bond because he's proven himself to be a menace to society and a threat to the community.

And we knew that if Newman got out on the L after being convicted, he'd disappear. He'd kill people. He'd already killed three people that we knew of. I spent a couple hours with Stan talking about his time working with the Strike Force. And in those couple hours he repeatedly pointed out that taking down the mob in real life wasn't anything like it's portrayed in the movies, at least on the legal side of things, being a strike force prosecutor meant spending long hours on painstaking, often tedious work. But, as he recalls, this particular day in court was an exception. We spent a lot of times I ain't This is real life. This is law enforcement. It's not the movies. This was like the movies as Stan Things. Back on this day, he tells me that things were not looking good for the prosecution, that it was seeming more and more likely that Larry Newman would be released on Bond. And I just am sure we're going to lose this and therefore lose Newman.

But like any good courtroom drama, there's a twist. My good friend Charlie Parsons who was the head of the bureau is organized. Crime Squad comes in and tugs on my sleeve at the podium, he says. Put me on the witness stand. Uh, this is like a scene out of Perry Mason, right where Paul Drake comes in at the last minute with the new information that will win the case. You know, I'll admit, I had to look up some old Perry Mason clips on YouTube to catch Stan's reference, but it was spot on. I also learned that Perry Mason was a radio drama before it was made into a TV show, and we dug up some old clips. Well, now is Paul Drake steps up to Perry Mason, he says, Harry Young. He's been all set for more than an hour. I know. I think we ought to get started. The crowd outside started to get restless in restless for over half an hour. Give it a little more time. Let's shake it up, let it change. And I have never in my life put a witness on the witness stand without knowing what they're gonna say.

But I did in this case because it was very close with Charlie and I didn't have a choice. Like, what was he gonna do? Make it worse? It's certainly evident that something has happened behind the scenes and, well, join us tomorrow. By all means, won't you? When she got power, a lot of power. You don't care about the money in the mind for the Las Vegas Review Journal in partnership with the Mob Museum. I'm read Redmond. He's one of you. You kill him. You're listening to mobbed up a true story about money. You're not supposed to have a profile like that, especially in Vegas crime. You want to be very quiet so you can steal the money. He always said If you pull a gun on somebody, you finish it. Because if you don't, it's going to come back to haunt you. And I remember seeing what's going on here, and he's saying they're trying to kill me and I said, Who's trying to kill you? And then you shut up And the fight for control of Las Vegas. The FBI will continue to look to the future to use the latest and most sophisticated techniques to fight organized crime.

The mom would have destroyed Las Vegas, the only question is not if, but when it would be destroyed. I was there every day with these fellas. I had no idea that there was a mob and he once told somebody, There's bodies out there in the desert and there's more every day. But if there is one area where the word war is appropriate, it is in the fight against crime. When you grab them, you'll bring them to the desert. You're gonna know where the hole has been dug. Okay, Part nine. Dirty laundry. Yeah, mhm. Mhm. When we left off telling the story of Frank Golota's Hole in the Wall Gang, the group had been caught red handed trying to break into a home furnishing store called Bertha's. Here's Mom, museum vice president of exhibits and programs Jeff Schumacher. And once these guys got inside the building, thereby validating the burglary, they swooped in and they arrested.

You know, everybody involved Kalata and all of his accomplices, and, um, they were, you know, end up going to prison. Most all of them. Las Vegas has a reputation of being a city that you can come to and do anything you want. This is Ernie Davino, a former member of the Hole in the Wall Gang, in an interview for a documentary published by Freebird Media, titled Ernesto Ernie Davino. The Last Stand Up Guy. Well, you can't do anything you want to an extent, but I'll tell you this. If you violate the law long enough, they are going to catch you and they are going to put you away. There's no escaping that in Las Vegas. When this interview was conducted about five years ago, Ernie had turned his life around and was working in jail ministry. In other words, he's not the same guy. He was back in 1981 when he was arrested during the birth of burglary attempt. Once you become a target, you're through. They will stay on you until you either or in jail or you left town or you're dead. That's it. There's no in between. Following the birth is arrest.

Frank and five other members of the hole in the Wall Gang were taken to the Clark County Jail, where police took a photo of all six standing side by side, not one of them looking at the camera. Frank would tell me that this was law enforcement's trophy their prize for taking down the infamous hole in the Wall Gang. Which police sources would tell The review Journal had been responsible for around $1 million in local theft since 1979. The Metro. That's why we all turned our ads. We knew what it was. They put us in the bullpen center and take care and take pictures. They alternate right on a Yeah, so that's the famous picture. Frank ended up bailing out his entire crew, and while awaiting trial, he had some other legal matters to sort out. Aside from Bertha's, Frank had racked up a handful of other charges, and in April of 1982 he went on trial for two counts of possession of stolen property. Here is True Crime author Dennis Griffin, who would later co author a biography about Frank. So in addition to all these other things, including Bertha's that he's out on bail, he now has yet another charge, and in that charge he ends up getting convicted.

The judge refused to set an appeal bond, so Frank had to sit in jail while awaiting his sentencing hearing and after he sentenced in this case, Frank still has to face charges stemming from the attempted burglary at Bertha's, according to reporting from the review Journal at the time, Conviction in the Birthdays case would qualify Frank as a habitual criminal, meaning he very well might end up receiving a sentence of life in prison. So now he's back in the Clark County Jail because of that, and at that point, the FBI is called Frank's lawyer. And so if we need, we need a meeting. Frank and his lawyer agreed to meet with the FBI inside the Clark County Jail. They all meet in the Park County Jail facility. As the agents told Frank and his lawyer, they said, Uh, look, we're obligated under policy that if we know someone's life is in danger, Regardless of how we feel about that individual, we have to make them aware. So we just wanted to tell you, Frank, that you're going to be killed.

Uh, you know, have a nice weekend. It's a few weeks after Frank and his lawyer agreed to meet with FBI agents that strikeforce prosecutor Stan Hunterson is in court, arguing that Larry Newman should be denied an appeal bond. As you heard in the opening scene of this episode stand more or less out of desperation, called the head of the FBI's organized crime squad, Charlie Parsons, to the stand. Having absolutely no idea why, Parson said, come into the courtroom at the last minute and asked to testify. So I put him on the stand and, you know, had him identify himself for the record in court. And, um, I said, Special Agent Persons, Do you have something of interest and importance to tell this court because I didn't know what the hell to ask him. You know, I didn't know why he was in the courtroom. I didn't know why I put him on the witness stand. So that was the best question I could come up with. Wasn't very good, but it worked. Mhm. Charlie had been up the night before with some other people turning Frank Kalata into a witness.

You heard that, right? Frank Kalata, the same Frank Kalata who has stated on this podcast that it was his religion not to become a rat. He'd been turned and he was about to put one of his own crew members behind bars, but he had enough information about Larry Newman in that first interview with Kalata two were have, uh, Newman and put away with no bail pending appeal. So that was drilling my first not contact with collage, but sort of working with him indirectly. Stan says that once Larry Newman realized this was all for real, that Frank Kalata had actually flipped on him. He took off a gold wristwatch and handed it to his lawyer. He knew he was going away. When Frank had met with the FBI agents at the Clark County Jail, they told him that a contract had been taken out on his life. Frank talked about that meeting at a 2016 event held at the Mob Museum. The FBI visits me and I come that there was a hit on me and they said for 500,000, so I make a joke out of it.

That's all 500 I thought it was worth more than that. So I said, Well, this is my job to do this to you know how you know what's going on? I said, Well, I'll see you later. So it leaves. Frank's attorney told him not to worry that the agents were probably lying. But after sitting with this information on his own for a bit, Frank decided to call up one of the agents asking to meet again, but this time without his lawyer present. So he comes back. He sends the FBI guy back and they got one of these old machines, you know, with the reels back and forth. They put the transcript in front of me and he says You recognize his voice? I said, Yes. Tony and Jola Merrill. So Tony is talking about not mentioning my name and he's gone. Yeah, I can't control the guy. The guy is a crazy man. He's doing things on his own. So Joe tells him. But you know what? You gotta do that you've got to clean your dirty laundry. And the key phrase was from Lombardo. Tony is take care of your dirty laundry.

And my parlance, Frank says that meant kill this guy. You have my permission. You have permission for Chicago to take this guy out. That's quite a blow in your you know, the boss. The guy you've known since you were a kid now is planning to kill you. And once you know that you know the whole loyalty idea, the whole notion that you know it's us against the police or it's us against society kind of goes out the window. Now you realize you're expendable. Mhm. Let's think about this for a second. I'm not going to ask you to put yourself in frank shoes, because most of us myself very much included, have absolutely no way to relate to someone who spent most of their life steeped in mob culture. But here's someone who spent decades on the fringes of an organization that purports to value loyalty and brotherhood above all else. And he's hearing one of his oldest friends, his boss, Tony Spilotro, talk about whacking him, murdering him, comparing him to dirty laundry that needs to be taken care of.

As you've probably come to learn throughout this series, Frank isn't shy about his past. Every time I sat down with him, he pretty much told me, Ask me anything, Don't be shy. Hell, Vic. I drove me to a house where he committed a murder the first time I met him. But this moment, when he's in jail, thinking about what it would be like to spend the rest of his life in prison and then finding out that his childhood friend is talking about having him killed. It was incredibly painful for him. Sitting in his cell after the agents played the tape, Frank thought long and hard about committing suicide, taking his own life to avoid becoming a rat, sacrificing his reputation and potentially putting his family in harm's way in the process and the time I spent with him, This was the only thing Frank told me he didn't want to talk about. I want to go into too much details about that, Okay, but I was notified by the FBI that there was a contract out of my life. That's as far as I'm going to go. And so at this point, eventually you decide to to flip and to work with the feds. How do you reach that decision and how difficult of a decision is?

You know, all my life I was raised as a He never become a red mhm. That's against our religion, Let's say. But when I was notified or heard that Tony light about me and said that I was the cause of all these problems, in Vegas that, uh, it wasn't His father was me. He was blaming me on everything. And the guy was talking. It was Joe Lombardo again. They call him as Joey the clown. He was Tony's Boston. So Tony said them. But then you know what you gotta do. You got to clean your dirty laundry. You don't need to be a genius to figure I want to. After I heard that, I said, Fuck this. I know. I told the FBI. Guy said, I don't know if I'm gonna I said, I don't know. I can't talk to you right now. And they locked me up in a song. Then, after thinking about it all night the next day, I decided that, yeah, I was going to cooperate. But I was going to talk about any murders.

I was just going to talk about robberies. I thought I could get away with it. I didn't have the best intentions to help them out. At the time, I figured I could let it lie my way through this. It didn't work out that way because once they started telling you, if you get caught lying in court, they're going to try it for everything. Frank would end up confessing to over 200 burglaries and involvement in four murders, three of which you've heard about on this series. The murder of Jerry Lisner, the alleged con man Frank shot to death in 1979 and the murders of Jimmy Morales to and Billy McCarthy, his friends back in Chicago that he says he set up for Tony. The fourth murder Frank would admit to was a car bombing in Chicago, which Frank says was a $10,000 contract murder for the outfit. So when finally, when I finally started confessing to the murders or talking about him, then I know I was locked in. I was locked down, and, uh, I was offended and hurt and Tony because he betrayed me. And I know a lot of guys more than you could ever have in your lifetime.

There were friends of mine that were murdered, but in Chicago, Alfa because they were naive and they thought, Nah, it ain't my time dangling to kill me. I could name 39 of them right away, I said, And I said, that's when I decided it ain't gonna work. We kill our own kind, and that's what happened. Mhm yeah, on May 20th, 1982 then review Journal reporter Jane Anne Morrison wrote the following in an article published on the front page of The Review Journal, under one of the most surprising and significant headlines in the history of organized crime. Kalata to sing song of LV Mafia Alleged mob figure Frank Kalata is expected to provide information to lawman concerning hidden interests in Las Vegas resorts, several gangland slayings, a network of burglaries, extortions and arson cases, sources told The Review Journal on Wednesday.

He has been cooperating with federal and local law enforcement officials the past two weeks and is expected to provide information about organized crime activities from Las Vegas to Chicago, authorities said. The reason behind his switch appeared to fit the classic mold of other organized crime informants. Sources said he feared the possibility of a heavy prison sentence, believed his life was in danger from former friends and was disgruntled about the way associates treated his family while he was jailed. An associate of reputed mob watchdog Anthony Spilotro, Kalata was dubbed Far away Frank because it was the propensity to be away from the scene of a crime. After Frank agreed to cooperate, he was taken out of the county jail and moved from hotel to hotel with the security detail of FBI agents in Las Vegas. Metro detectives keeping an eye on him around the clock. Meanwhile, Las Vegas Metro police began marathon debriefing sessions, trying to get as much information out of their new witness as they possibly could.

According to Frank's biography, Kalata. The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas mobster and government witness, Frank provided information in these initial debriefing sessions that would allow police to clear about 50 previously unsolved burglaries. From there, the FBI took Frank out of Las Vegas to do their own debriefings. Tony Splotches Case agent Mark Casper was one of the agents who debris Frank. But as Mark would tell me, this wasn't the first time they had crossed paths. I was on a surveillance squad for a short period of time, and I, uh, he confronted me in a in a casino when we were following him along with some other individuals and and I had he confronted me that I was an FBI agent and everything, and I had to act like I would know. I don't even know what you're talking about and everything. When I did the brief Frank Kalata, I asked him about that instance and he said, Yeah, I remember you. He said he described it to a t where I was, what casino was in and everything. So I basically he had It sort of proved to me that he had a good memory of everything that was that that was going on, and he would be valuable to us.

Mhm. What were those interviews like? I know that there are other agents involved too. But it's kind of this moment where, you know, you guys have been on the opposite side of things for such a long time. Was it? You know what kind of the atmosphere in that room as you're working with with Frank L. A. To to to sort of dig up all this information and, well, the main thing I mean for myself, I i When I did talk to him, I basically wanted to corroborate things that I knew and see if he could if he could provide additional information about it. But I was also cognitive fact that if he was going to expound on it without, you know, I didn't want him. If he lied about anything made up, you know, try to, you know, just trying to get more Benny's or what do you want to call it? I wanted to make sure whatever. Whatever. He didn't know it was. Actually, it was coming from him and not from something that somebody else had told him. Mhm. And So why do you think that at this moment he should have been trusted, considering he was, at this point, a convicted criminal, and he was staring at a likely life sentence.

Why trust the information he was providing? Well, primarily because I know for myself and I know the other. I know. What's the specific that the agents that didn't Dennis are really being? He was his main contact man. Frank. A lotta was was such that he had he had a great memory and and basic anything that we did use to present before the grand jury, or or for him to testify in court. We usually basically corroborated most of most of the stuff that he told us. So it's It wasn't just coming and we didn't. We didn't just rely on his information. His information was really just to corroborate what? What we already probably already had had known or didn't know. Mhm. Yeah. And of course, if if he it was caught in a lie, you know, he'd lose his deal and end up in prison where people likely wanted him dead. So that's some incentive to tell the truth. Exactly. I will say there is. I know I've talked to some some other folks about how hard he worked to corroborate all these all this information that he was providing.

But even still, there are, um, exchanges where it was just him and one other person that there's no way to corroborate. That's correct. That's correct. And the only way we could do that is if a lot of times we have to go back to previous surveillances of him or whatever, just to see if he was he was at that area or whatever that in that, in that instance, we could corroborate certain in certain events. To be clear, the government didn't have to like Frank to work with him. They just needed to be able to corroborate what he was telling them for it to be useful. And it's not like Frank A Lotta was some small time loan shark or drug dealer. He was someone who had access to some of the top guys in the Chicago outfit for decades and knowledge of mob activities ranging from burglaries and street rackets all the way up to casino skimming operations at the Stardust and other casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. He would be an incredibly important witness in a multitude of ongoing investigations, Marc Casper told The Review Journal in the nineties quote. You don't get your information from priests and preachers.

I was always comfortable taking information from individuals like that. As long as I could corroborate it, the government needed something, and Frank Collado was able to provide it once again. This is Mob Museum vice president of Exhibits and programs Jeff Schumacher, and in exchange, he was only going to provide it if he got something. It's a quid pro quo. While you do this, we'll do this and it's happened many times and it will continue to happen because in order to get at the bigger organization, uh, the you know, the federal government's position is in order to accomplish the larger goal, we've got to sacrifice a smaller individual. And so colada came at the right time with the right message for the feds, and, uh, got a good deal out of it. Not not everybody who does what he did gets quite as good a deal. So he was that it was kind of an era when a lot of that was happening. And so, you know, today they might have said Okay, if you want to be a government witness, that's great.

But we still need you to serve 15 years and then you can get out something like that. But in the in the eighties, he was able to get a drastically reduced term. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. In the summer of 1982 Frank and his attorney at this point a public defender reached a deal with prosecutors. Frank would be required to plead guilty to all of his pending charges, but all of the sentences would run concurrent with his sentence in the stolen property case. He was sentenced to eight years but wound up being released on parole after just two after another two years of probation, he would become a free man again at the age of 48.

Not bad compared to the life term he was facing. But to sweeten the deal, Frank would also receive immunity for every uncharged crime he testified to. For starters, that included the four murders you've heard about as well as dozens of uncharged burglaries. As for his end of the deal, Frank would have to serve as a cooperating witness, a turn of phrase that he is very particular about. I never consider myself an informant and inform it is a person. There was a wire and goes out for self gratification to make money. It's like a frustrated cop I call him. I was a witness in trials that I committed the actual robberies. I was able to testify on Tony. I didn't wear aware. I only told what was actually happening, Of course, to Frank's old crew, it didn't really matter what Frank wanted to call himself a cooperating witness, government witness informant.

It was all the same To them, Frank would always be a rat. You'll find rats in every crew these days because that seems to be the way of things going this once again is Ernie D'Avino in an interview for a documentary titled Ernesto Horny Davino, the Last stand up guy produced by Freebird Media. When the cops show up, that's when all the loyalty goes out the window and you have to go to court and everything else and it starts to become where you know you're going to go away for a long time, and that's when the loyalty disappears. That's when you find out who the real real guys are and who aren't. That's what happened. Then we went to jail. Leo Gardena. When I went to jail, every Joe Blasco went to jail, Larry Newman went to jail and Frank Collado went on the witness program. Yeah, mhm. Mhm. After agreeing to work with the government, Frank was entered into the witness Security witness protection program. Given a completely new identity for his own protection, you have to live a different life. It's very difficult to be in a witness protection program.

They take you away from everything you will ever loved and cherished even pets. I mean, you have to start all new life and how you gonna drag your family in it, you know, So it was very, very difficult. Frank spent his first two years in the witness protection program in prison. Then once he was paroled, he was required to live in the outside world with his new identity for at least two more years. The first time I met him, I asked if he was allowed to tell me what name he went by during his time in witness protection and using some pretty colorful language. He told me it was none of my business. Eventually, he clarified that he wasn't actually supposed to share that information. What we do know is that Frank was relocated somewhere in the South and believe it or not, being an Italian American guy with a thick Chicago accent, Frank stuck out just a little bit in his new city. So when I'm in there, I knew that I have to dress altogether different. Speak a little different. But how do you change my voice? It's impossible. I can't go to Italian Russians because you go to Italian Russian. Everybody claims they know somebody.

So you stay away. I could cook a day in any way, so I stood away and, uh I let a low profile light. I wore jeans, which I never wore in my life. I wore tennis shoes, which I never wore in my life. Plaid shirts, baseball caps. And this is the way I lasted two years in the program. Starting over wasn't the only difficult thing about Frank's time and witness protection. His deal, of course, was contingent on him providing truthful public testimony against a number of his former friends. Here's review Journal reporter Jeff Gorman. Kalata became probably the most important witness against the Mob, or at least bilaterals organization in Las Vegas, and probably the reason why they went down. Frank's first appearance in court as a cooperating witness was at a pre sentencing hearing for Joey the Clown Lombardo, who was reputed to be one of the top guys in the Chicago outfit. By this point, Lombardo had been convicted on a bribery charge, and after Frank's testimony, he ended up being sentenced to 15 years in prison.

He wound up being sent back to prison a couple more times after that, the last time being a life sentence. Joey the Clown died in prison at age 90 in October of 2019. As I mentioned on a previous episode of this series, Just by chance, I happened to meet Frank for the first time about a week after that. By the way, Louis always does my driving slash security. I don't really need a security, but he's a good friend. How sure are you that you don't need security? Well, you're gonna have to. Joe Lombardo was the last one I would have had to worry about, and he just died last Saturday in prison. Around this time, Frank also testified in a new case against Larry Newman, one of the old hole in the Wall Gang members, thanks to Frank Newman had been charged with the murder of a jeweler back in Chicago, and Frank testified against Larry Newman and got Newman convicted, which was a blessing to get him off the streets, plus and probably probably several people more than are alive today. Because of that, these cases weren't exactly small potatoes.

But of course, law enforcement's big hope was that Frank would help them take down Tony Spilotro on January 28th, 1983. It looked like that might finally happen when the front page of the Review Journal displayed the headline Spilotro Charged in Killings. Tony Spilotro had been indicted in Illinois for the 1962 murders of Billy McCarthy and Jimmy Morales to the brutal torture killings you heard about on Part three of this series. As you're probably guessing, the basis for Tony's indictment was grand jury testimony from his childhood friend Frank Kalata. Tony was quickly taken into custody in Clark County, Nevada, and placed in the very cell where Frank Kalata had made the decision to switch sides just the year before the review journals. Jane Anne Morrison wrote the following in an article published a couple weeks later. Law enforcement officials around town are gleefully referring to the CART County jail cell where Anthony Spilotro has been housed since January 28 as the Frank Kalata Sweet Spilotro, now fighting extradition to Chicago, where he is charged with murdering two men in 1962.

Maybe thinking less than fond thoughts about Kalata, his boyhood chum, who provided Illinois authorities with the evidence against him leading to the indictment, Kalata lived in the same cell for about a month last spring after he decided to become a government informant And it was while he was living in that particular cell normally reserved for protected witnesses, that Kalata began calling the FBI and sharing tidbits about his former friends. Perhaps the atmosphere of the Kalata suite will move Spilotro to pick up the phone and call the FBI, too. And then again, perhaps not. When the murder case went to trial in Chicago, Tony was acquitted. He had unexpectedly opted for a trial by judge, as opposed to taking his chances with the jury. I will point out that a decade later, the judge in this case, Thomas Maloney, would end up going to prison. That judge was later and not specifically for Tony's case, but for several cases, was convicted for being on the mob payroll.

Maloney was found to have taken bribes to fix four felony cases, three of which were murder trials. Now, in fairness, Tony's case wasn't one of them. But I think it's also fair to say that the bribery conviction raises some questions about Tony's murder trial, and it certainly brought scrutiny to his decision to opt for a trial by judge. This, however, wasn't the only time Frank would testify against Tony once again. Here's former Review Journal reporter Jane Anne Morrison, reading from an article she wrote that was published on September 15th. 1983. Reputed mobster Anthony Spilotro was charged with ordering a murder and overseeing a multimillion dollar burglar ring in two federal indictments unsealed Wednesday in Las Vegas. FBI officials believe the burglary operation struck at least 200 homes or businesses in 1980 1981 making it the largest organized burglary enterprise in Las Vegas. Based on Frank Alatas grand jury testimony, Tony have been indicted on racketeering charges alongside 18 other defendants.

This, of course, was related to the activities of the hole in the Wall Gang. The other charges stem from the 1979 murder of Jerry Lisner, which Frank a lot of testified he'd committed on orders from Tony. As a result, Tony was charged with obstructing justice and conspiring to violate the civil rights of Jerry Lisner. Marc Casper, who had been the case agent for the FBI Spilotro investigation, tells me that when he first met Tony at his home years earlier, he'd warned him that someday he would be back to put him in handcuffs. I basically told him one of these days, I'm gonna have to knock on the door and arrest you, come and arrest you on me and I said, I'll treat you like a man And he said, That's all I want to know and shook my hand and I turned around and left. In October of 1983 that day finally arrived. The supervisor named me to go along with Bruce Yardley to go and make the arrest, and I went there with him along. I had backup agents outside, but, uh, I told you, knocked on the door is early in the morning. Tony was in his night is, uh what he would call bathrobe.

And I told you, got a warrant for his arrest. As I got to take it and take you in, he said, Can I call our spirits? Yes, Oscar being Tony's attorney, future Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman. And we went into the house and he called Oscar and then told me. He said he had to get dressed and I said, Go ahead. I let him go to his own bedroom. He got dressed, came out with his suit. He had a better suit on that. I did. And, uh, we went in the car ahead. I need to handcuff him and put him. And we went into the car. He was in the back seat and driving to the federal building and as approach to federal building, I saw where all of the news people were outside, waiting for my for our appearance. And I told Tony I said, I gotta I gotta make this look official. I need to put the handcuffs on you. So he put his hands forward and I put my handcuffs on him. And then we proceeded and intervention. As it was, he handcuffed him in the front. So when the pictures appeared in the paper, he was handcuffed in the front and I was on this by his side, along with the other agent.

Those handcuffs, by the way, are now on display at the Mob museum shortly after. Tony would also be indicted in a casino skimming case. But it would be another three years or so before any of these cases went to trial. Finally, in 1986 Tony stood trial for the hole in the wall racketeering case alongside eight other members of the hole in the Wall Gang, including Larry Newman, Ernie Davino, Leo Guardino, Wayne Mottaki and Joe Blasco. During the trial, longtime Nevada journalist Myron Borders ran into Tony and one of his associates, Herbie Blitzstein, out in public. She later told former Review Journal reporter Jane Anne Morrison about that night he was on trial, and he and Herbie Blitzstein we're walking outside the Coachman restaurant, which and she was going in and she saw them and she said, What are you guys doing out here? You know and shit chatted and, uh, he said something to her along the lines of We're going to win this time. And, of course, they got hung Jury. They got a hung jury. So in a way, he won. On April 8th, 1986 after the trial had stretched on for more than 10 weeks and the jury had deliberated for 11 days, the judge in Tony's case declared a mistrial.

A new trial date was set for June 16th, but Tony's fate was not going to be decided by the courts. Former FBI agent Mark Casper told me that he also had a run in with Tony during his first trial. The trial was in the federal building, which is on the We were on the second floor in the court. The courtrooms are on the third floor, I guess at the time, and we used the public bathrooms in the in the office building. And as I was going to the bathroom, well, Tony was coming from the cafeteria, which is in the other direction, and he came out. This was right right towards before the trial had become, ended up being a hung jury or whatever. He acknowledged my presence and reached out his hand and wanted shook hands with me and say, Hey, Mark, how you doing? And everything as I'm doing fine and everything. And I always think back that when he reached out to me that he I think he was trying to reach out. I always keep thinking that he probably reaching out to tell me something that and didn't know how to do it.

Before he could be retried. Tony Spilotro disappeared on part 10 of Mobbed up. We tracked down Tony Spilotro, and the FBI winds up to strike a fatal blow on the mob in Las Vegas. Loyalty is a big word. Okay, but when you get into this life, there's a lot of paranoia. When paranoia sets in and the criminal justification you start justifying. You looked wrong at me. You got something on your mind, and it's a criminal justification criminal mentality. I'm gonna kill you because you looked at me wrong. This has been Part nine of Mobbed Up, a production of the Las Vegas Review Journal in partnership with the Mob Museum. We just have two parts left, and trust me, you're not gonna want to miss them. So make sure you subscribe to mopped up on apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever else you've been listening to this series so far.

Mobbed up is reported and produced by me. Read Redmond. You can track me down on Twitter at Red Redmond, or send any comments or questions by email to our Redmond at review journal dot com. Our sound designer and audio editor for this series is Jonathan McMichael, who also composed the theme song You're Hearing right Now. Other sound effects and music used in this episode are from Motion Array and Stephen Arnold music. Additional audio clips used in this episode come from the Freebird media documentary Ernesto Ernie D'Avino, The Last Stand Up Guy, which you can watch in its entirety on the Freebird Media video page. Select clips heard in the intro of this episode are from the Oral History Research Center at the UNLV Library, special Collections and Archives, thanks to everyone who shared their stories and insights on this episode Stand Huntington, Frank Kalata, Dennis Griffin, Jane Anne Morrison, Marc Casper, Jeff Gorman and Jeff Schumacher from the Mob Museum, which you can learn more about by visiting the mob museum dot org. You can learn more about mobbed up and check out some of our other podcast by visiting.

Review journal dot com. Backslash podcasts As always, we'll be back next week. Until then, thanks for tuning in.

Dirty Laundry | S1E9
Dirty Laundry | S1E9
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