Four months ago I threatened to turn the Vegas antics of my daughter, and her phony cowboy dude, Bill Cornwell, into a Television series. I posted on Big Bones Remmer who my mother made porn movies for. Remmer was an associate of Johnny Rosselli who is the heavy in a new series ‘Vegas’ which will air in a week. The parallels between Remmer and Rosselli, are incredible. I have to wonder if this blog has inspired some writer. Rosselli is a Rose name.
My ‘Capturing Beauty’ posts prove I have writing skills that could have produced the definitive biography of my later sister, the artist Rosamond. I was going to post chapter three ‘Grabbing Granny Goose’ where I introduce my four year old sister, but am leery there are plagiarist out there. Thank God my sister Vicki Presco and I are on the same page, she giving me her childhood memories (before I flew to Vegas) for my book. We were “the only ones left” until we joined forces to save Christine’s two daughters. Drew Benton and I have formed an artistic alliance like the one Bill Arnold and I had when we were children.
Add to this my predictions about the Republican Party, and Clint Eastwood – along with Paul Drakes role in ‘Fresno’ – then there can be no doubt my family is archetypal and I have my thumb on the pulse of America.
It is time to hawk my wears – cash in and run my fingers through gold doubloons. ‘Capturing Beauty’ may have to written as a trilogy there so many good stories for me to tell. I am tired of being ripped-off by the un-creative grabby ones.
The Cal-Neva Lounge
By John William Tuohy
Elmer Bones Renner was an old time gangster from San Francisco who owned the Cal-Neva Lodge and Casino at Crystal Bay on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. He also owed the IRS $800,000 in back taxes, and so, on paper anyway, ownership of the Cal-Neva passed to another old time hood named Bert “Wingy” Grober, who also, as a result of his sudden and unexplainable ownership of a casino, ended up with his own set of tax problems. With the IRS after him, Grober placed the Cal-Neva up for sale.
On July 13, 1960, the day Kennedy won the democratic nomination in Los Angeles, it was announced to the newspapers that Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Hank Sincola, a Sinatra pal and business partner in a gossip rag, and Skinny D’Amato, a convicted white slaver, had applied for permission from the state of Nevada to take over the lodge.
What didn’t make the papers about the deal, was that Sam Giancana and the Chicago outfit would own a secret percentage in the Cal-Neva and that it was Giancana’s influence that persuaded Wingy Grober to sell the place off for the extremely reasonable price of $250,000.
What also didn’t make the newspapers about the deal, was the FBI assumption that Sinatra was nothing more than a front in the Cal-Neva for New York’s mob boss Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno.
As for Giancana’s interest in the money-losing casino, he was probably only in the deal to keep next to Sinatra, who was trying, desperately, to keep next to Kennedy, which everybody in the Chicago outfit wanted.
Before the deal was signed, Dean Martin saw the mob’s interests in the casino and pulled out of the deal.
Sinatra was convinced that the Cal-Neva, a seasonal place, could be turned around, that it could produce a hefty profit, even with the mob connected pit bosses stealing the place blind, and he told Giancana that with the right investment that the place could become a year-round operation. To draw attention to the place, on opening night, Sinatra’s personality guests included Marilyn Monroe, Joe Kennedy and his son John. Also there that weekend was Johnny Roselli and Sam Giancana. Uninvited and hiding up in the hills around the casino lodge, was Hoover’s FBI.
Vegas (TV series)
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Vegas is an upcoming American drama-western television series that is expected to premiere on CBS on September 25, 2012. The series stars Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis.
Set in 1960s Las Vegas, the series centers on Sheriff Ralph Lamb (Quaid), and his dealings with Chicago mobster Vincent Savino (Chiklis), who moved west to set up his own operation. Lamb was a former rancher who served as Sheriff of Clark County from 1961 to 1979.
The Life History of Ralph Lamb Sheriff of Las Vegas 1961 to 1979
Ralph Lamb’s legacy is significant in the history of Las Vegas because he attempted to rectify the criminal atmosphere of the place with a positive administrative approach. His life has become a special focus for the Hollywood movie makers and TV drama directors and many shows and movies are built on it.
Ralph Lamb Sheriff was one of the most popular Sheriffs in Clark County and he was on the chair of Sheriff from 1961 to 1979; he was known as cowboy sheriff because of his general practice of riding a horse while moving in and out of the towns. He was quite popular in his contemporary period and his officers used to prefer him most because of his patronage for good work and his contribution in development of the city. His contribution was especially countable in his introduction of SWAT and in managing the merger of the city as well as the country for forming LMPVD. Ralph Lamb was famous for his conventional approach for police work.
A carefree cowboy appearance was the key feature of Ralph’s character. His habit of horse riding may have been medieval although he always preferred modern approach of work related to administration. He took several measures for modernization of his departments. For example, he introduced a modern criminal lab, formed the first SWAT team of Las Vegas, over saw the Las Vegas merger between county law enforcement agencies into the Metropolitan Police Department. However, the best contribution of Ralph was the stringent rule he applied in controlling mafia dominance in contemporary Las Vegas.
Ralph Lamb and the Mafia
Ralph Lamb Cleans Up Vegas Mob Problem
Due to his tough stance on Mafia the corruption and criminal activities of Mafia group was under strict control and the casinos of Las Vegas became free from Mafia influence, etc. Casinos of Las Vegas were one of the main attractions of Las Vegas and were the source of earning huge amount of revenues on a per day basis. Due to Ralph’s influence against Mafia their gambling network was quite hampered. One of his great achievements was to put Chicago gangster Johnny Rosselli under the bar and after Johnny was released from jail never could back to his previous gangster stature. After 10 years his corpse was found floating in a 55-gallon oil drum in Miami. In one word, the life of Ralph was quite interesting and it was full of actions and achievement.
The real life hero, the man of substance, and a prolific leader Ralph lamb sheriff will always be remembered for his administrative capacity and astounding performance in bringing peace and stability in society against Mafias.
Ralph Lamb and Hollywood
Movies and TV Shows
The eventful life of Ralph was like a fiction hero and for natural reasons contemporary authors and novelists found ample scope of fiction formation. Hollywood has adapted the life style story of this real life hero in several film stories and the life of Ralph lamb sheriff had become a legend for his heroic activities in typical Las Vergas style. Recently a new scheme has been launched about a new movie based on the life of Ralph lamb sheriff. The Ralph Lamb project is being scripted by “Goodfellas” writer Nicholas Pileggi and Greg Walker, with James Mangold attached as the director of the pilot. Kathy Konrad and Arthur Sarkissian are working as executive producers in this TV project. This Television drama is expected to catch the focus of the audience by maintaining 100% authenticity about the depiction of Ralph lamb sheriff’s life and his personal achievement.
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This article is about the mobster. For the professional wrestler, see Romeo Roselli.
Born July 4, 1905
Esperia, Frosinone, Italy
Died August 9, 1976 (aged 71)
Dumfoundling Bay, Florida
Alias(es) John F. Stewart
John “Handsome Johnny” Roselli (born Filippo Sacco; July 4, 1905 – August 9, 1976), sometimes spelled John Rosselli, was an influential mobster for the Chicago Outfit who helped them control Hollywood and the Las Vegas Strip. Roselli was also involved with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plot to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the early 1960s. Some conspiracy theorists believe he was also involved with John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.
• 1 Early years
• 2 1940s
• 3 1950s
• 4 1960s
• 5 1970s
• 6 Death
• 7 Aftermath
• 8 See also
• 9 References
• 10 Further reading
• 11 External links
 Early years
Born Filippo Sacco (sometimes spelled Phillippo) in Esperia, Frosinone, Italy on July 4, 1905. His father, Vincenzo Sacco, moved on his own to the United States. Roselli immigrated with his mother, Mariantonia Pascale Sacco and one Caterina Palazzo, to Somerville, Massachusetts, near Boston, in 1911.
In 1922, Roselli committed a murder and fled to Chicago changing his name from Filippo Sacco to John Roselli. The new name was in honor of Italian Renaissance sculptor Cosimo Rosselli. He became a member of the Chicago Outfit and was known by his mob nickname of “Handsome Johnny.”
The exact date and reason for Roselli moving to Los Angeles is unknown. Some sources say that Al Capone or Frank Nitti sent him west to oversee the Outfit’s business interests such as the racing wire and movie extortion scheme. However, Roselli moved to Los Angeles in 1924, before either Capone or Nitti became boss of the Chicago Outfit. He pleaded guilty to bootlegging beer in 1924 (then going by the name “James Roselli”). Roselli began his California criminal career working with Los Angeles mobster Jack Dragna.
Roselli became close friends with film producer Bryan Foy, who brought Roselli into the movie business as a producer with Foy’s small production company, Eagle Lion Studios, where Roselli is credited on a number of early gangster movies as a producer. In the 1940s Roselli was involved in the Outfit’s multi-million dollar extortion campaign against the motion picture industry.
John Roselli (right) checks over a writ of habeas corpus with his lawyer, Frank DeSimone after Rosselli surrendered to U.S. Marshals in 1948.
In 1942, Roselli was indicted on federal labor racketeering charges along with George Brown, former president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union, and Willie Bioff, labor racketeer and former pimp. On December 4, 1942 Roselli, a professed U.S. patriot, enlisted in the United States Army. He served as a private until he was arrested March 19, 1943.
In 1943, after a year long trial on the racketeering charges, Roselli and several Chicago mobsters were convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. However, in 1947 they were paroled after serving only about three-and-a-half years. It was widely assumed that the Outfit’s political fixer, Murray “The Camel” Humphreys, used his influence with President Harry Truman’s Attorney General, Tom C. Clark, to spring Roselli and the other Outfit bosses from prison. After his release, Roselli returned to Hollywood in hopes of becoming a movie producer with Bryan Foy.
The extensive influence The Outfit had over Hollywood is best illustrated in 1948 when boss Tony Accardo told Roselli to force powerful Columbia Pictures president Harry Cohn into signing then-unknown actress Marilyn Monroe to a lucrative multi-year contract. The usually combative Cohn quickly complied without opposition, mainly because Cohn had obtained control of Columbia through mob funds and influence provided by both Accardo and Roselli.
In the mid 1950s, Roselli shifted his focus away from Hollywood and toward the fast-growing and highly profitable gambling mecca, Las Vegas, Nevada. By 1956, Roselli had become the Chicago and Los Angeles mob’s chief representative in Las Vegas. His job was to ensure that the Chicago mob bosses received their fair share of the burgeoning casino revenues through, “skimming.” However, according to the Los Angeles office of the FBI, Roselli was employed as a movie producer at Monogram Studios.
After the Cuban Revolution in January 1959, Castro closed down all the mob casinos in Cuba and drove out the mobsters. Given that experience, Roselli, Chicago Outfit boss Sam Giancana and Tampa boss Santo Trafficante would be receptive to overtures on killing Castro.
In 1960, the CIA recruited ex-FBI agent Robert Maheu, who later became a proxy to billionaire Howard Hughes in Las Vegas, to approach Roselli. Maheu passed himself off as the representative of international corporations that wanted Castro killed because of their lost gambling operations. Roselli introduced Maheu to two men he referred to as “Sam Gold” plus “Joe.” “Sam Gold” was Giancana, “Joe” was Santo Trafficante, Jr., the Tampa, Florida boss and one of the most powerful mobsters in pre-revolution Cuba. The agency gave the mobsters six poison pills to murder Castro. For several months, anti-Castro Cubans tied to the Mafia tried unsuccessfully to put the pills into Castro’s food. In 1961, after the failed CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba, these assassination attempts, which included hit teams of snipers, trained on Roselli’s secret CIA base in the Florida Keys, continued with a vengeance, now with CIA legend William “Wild Bill” King Harvey, taking charge of Roselli’s efforts. Many researchers claim that because of the Kennedys’ obsession with getting Castro, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, though angry about the CIA’s use of one of his prime Mafia targets, chose to continue these efforts until the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962.
The assassination attempts by Roselli were publicized in 1971 by Jack Anderson, a Washington Post reporter and acknowledged by the CIA in 2007 when it declassified the Family jewels documents.
In 1963, singer Frank Sinatra sponsored Roselli for membership in the exclusive Los Angeles Friar’s Club. Soon after his acceptance, Roselli discovered an elaborate card-cheating operation run by one of his Las Vegas friends, Maury Friedman and asked for his cut. The cheating was finally discovered in July 1967 by FBI agents tailing Roselli Scores of wealthy men (including millionaire Harry Karl, the husband of actress Debbie Reynolds, plus actor Zeppo Marx) were bilked out of millions of dollars. Grant B. Cooper represented some of the defendants in the case, including Roselli. Roselli was eventually convicted and fined $55,000. During the trial, secret grand jury transcripts were discovered on the defense attorney’s table. Cooper eventually pled guilty to contempt for possessing the documents.
In 1968, Roselli was tried and convicted of maintaining an illegal residence in the United States (he’d never acquired lawful US residence or citizenship) then was ordered deported to Italy by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. However, Italy refused to accept Roselli, so he remained in the United States.
On June 24 and September 22, 1975 Roselli testified before the 1975 U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCIA) led by Idaho Senator Frank Church about the CIA plan to kill Castro, Operation Mongoose. Shortly before Roselli testified, an unknown gunperson shot and killed Giancana in the basement of his Illinois home. This happened just days before Giancana was to testify before the committee. Giancana’s murder supposedly prompted Roselli (whose own power base disappeared with Giancana’s death) to permanently leave Los Angeles and Las Vegas for Miami, Florida.
On April 23, 1976 Roselli was called before the committee to testify about a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. Three months after his first round of testimony on the Kennedy assassination, the Committee wanted to recall Roselli. However, at this point, he had been missing since July 28. On August 3, Senator Howard Baker, a member of the new SSCIA, requested the FBI investigate Roselli’s disappearance.
On August 9, Roselli’s decomposing body was found in a 55-gallon steel fuel drum floating in Dumfoundling Bay near Miami, Florida. Roselli had been strangled and shot, and his legs were sawn off. Some believed that boss Trafficante ordered Roselli’s death. According to this theory, Trafficante believed that Roselli had revealed too much about the Kennedy assassination and Castro murder plots during his Senate testimony, violating the strict Mafia code of omertà (silence).
In 2010, Playboy magazine published an article by Hillel Levin in which Roselli was implicated in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy by William Robert Plumlee and James Files, an inmate within the Illinois Department of Corrections.
New York mob boss Bill Bonanno claimed in his autobiography that while he was imprisoned with Roselli, he spoke to him about the Kennedy assassination. Roselli allegedly told Bonanno that he had fired a shot from a storm drain located on Elm Street in Dallas.
What the agents couldn’t see was what went on inside the Cal-Neva’s secluded bungalows after the opening night party had ended. Sam Giancana reportedly told his brother, that he had been present at a Kennedy brothers slumber party that night at the Cal-Neva Casino. “The men,” he said, “had sex with prostitutes–sometimes two or more at a time–in bathtubs, hallways, closets, on floors, almost everywhere but the bed.”
In 1961 a Chicago hood named Joseph “Crackers” Mendino died of a heart attack. Over the years, he had worked under everyone from Torrio to Giancana in the juke box, pinball and gambling end of the business. Tony Accardo was one of his pallbearers, and anybody who was anyone in the Chicago outfit was there for the burial, probably the last big time mob funeral since the days of Al Capone.
At the funeral, Accardo and Sam Giancana held a meeting and directed Johnny Roselli to plant in Nevada somebody to watch over Frank Sinatra because the boys had decided that Sinatra was much to enamored with the Kennedys and wasn’t thinking straight anymore.
When Roselli returned to the West Coast he called a hood named Lewis McWillie, whom he had first met back in 1938, when Roselli did a short stint as the Chicago representative to the Sans Souci Casino in Havana.
McWillie had worked in Cuba for years, mostly for New York racketeer Meyer Lansky, McWillie was never clear to anyone on exactly what it was he did for Lansky, telling the Warren Commission only that he was a “key man” at Lansky’s Tropicana Casino in Cuba. When Castro booted Lansky out of Cuba, he brought McWillie with him and placed him inside of his Las Vegas Casino, the Tropicana in Las Vegas. Otherwise, there was very little known about McWillie, who also used the obvious alias of Lewis N. Martin. It is known that he had deep contacts within the New York and Chicago mobs, and, although never a member of any one specific outfit, the FBI kept him under surveillance and considered him to be a top mob hit man and enforcer for hire.
Roselli told McWillie that Chicago wanted him out at Sinatra’s Cal-Neva Lodge to keep an eye on their investment in the place, and to watch over Sinatra and report his activities back to Roselli.
McWillie did as he was told, and created a job for himself at Sinatra’s casino, working under the title of “pit boss,” but McWillie, a trained card sharp, was no mere pit boss as he made himself out to be. Instead, he was a very rich, seasoned, major gambler who traveled in the highest circles of organized crime, always driven around in a sleek, new limousine and seldom went anywhere without a bodyguard. Whenever he worked in a mobbed up casino, it was always as a high level executive, several times removed from a lowly blackjack dealer on the floor that he purported to be.
At about that same time, McWillie was in frequent contact with Jack Ruby, the man who silenced Lee Harvey Oswald forever. In fact, one of the last persons Ruby spoke to before he leaped on to history’s stage, was Lewis McWillie. The little that is known about their odd relationship is that, according to what McWillie told the Warren Commission, he and Ruby had known each other from their childhood days in Chicago, and McWillie was Ruby’s host for an eight-day vacation in Cuba in August of 1959. That same year, the Dallas Police department’s Office of Intelligence listed Jack Ruby and “Chicago-Las Vegas hood Lewis McWillie” as being among those connected with mob run gambling in Dallas.
Gray haired and stylish, McWillie impressed the easily impressible Ruby, who admired McWillie and called him “a very high (class) type person” who reminded Ruby of “Like a banker or a man who understood and enjoyed the finer things in this life, which we are given.”
Yet, after Ruby gunned down Oswald, the FBI asked him to draw up a list entitled “people who may dislike me” and at the top of the list was Lewis McWillie.
On Sunday, November 17, 1963, five days before Kennedy was gunned down, Ruby showed up at the mob owned Stardust Casino in Las Vegas where he invoked McWillie’s name to cash a check and was later seen at the equally mobbed up Thunderbird Casino with Lewis McWillie. Two days after meeting McWillie in Las Vegas, Ruby was back in Dallas, flush with nough cash to pay off his back taxes.
The party didn’t last long. After only two years, the Cal-Neva was starting to sour on Sinatra and overall, only added to the miseries he was having in the summer of 1963. On June 30, 1962, an intoxicated Chuckie English, a Giancana hood, staggered out of the Armory lounge and bumped into one of the FBI agents tagging Giancana. English told the agents that if “Bobby Kennedy wants to know anything about Momo all he had to do was to ask Sinatra.”
The agent reported the conversation back to Hoover who brought the comment to Robert Kennedy’s attention, who told Hoover to increase the FBI’s surveillance on Sinatra and the Cal-Neva. The casino was already being investigated because the Feds suspected that the casino’s manager, Skinny D’Amato, was running a state wide prostitution ring out of the place. The agents suspected that the women were being flown in from San Francisco with the operation being run openly from the hotel front desk.
Then, a few days after the Chuckie English fiasco, there was the attempted murder of a Cal-Neva employee who was shot on the front steps of the lodge. No one knows if it was mob related or not, since the incident was hushed up. Then, on June 30, 1962, Deputy Sheriff Richard Anderson came to pick up his beautiful brunette wife at the lodge where she worked as a waitress because she had been one of Sinatra’s girlfriends for a while before she married Anderson, three months before. Anderson had noticed the way Sinatra stared at his wife and heard about the rude and off color remarks he made to her and the Deputy, who was twice Sinatra’s tiny size, warned the singer to stay away from her. Sinatra backed down and apologized and promised to leave the woman alone.
But Sinatra was a man who brooded and let things build up inside him and on the night Anderson came to pick up his wife, as he stopped by the kitchen to talk with some of the help there, Sinatra came in, saw Anderson and ran up to him and screamed at him, “What the fuck are you doing, here?”
Anderson remained calm and said he was waiting for his wife, then, suddenly, while the cop was still in mid sentence, Sinatra grabbed him and tried to throw him out, and after a brief wrestling match, Anderson ended up punching Sinatra so hard in the face that he couldn’t perform on stage for a week.
Several weeks later, on July 17, 1962, Anderson and his wife were driving down Highway 28, not far from the Cal-Neva, when they were driven off the road by a late model maroon convertible with California plates, driving at high speeds. Anderson lost control of his car, skidded off the road and smashed into a tree, killing him instantly. His wife was thrown from the car, and suffered severe broken bones and fractures.
Anderson’s parent said: “We still think to this day that Sinatra had something to do with our son’s death.”
Anderson’s left behind four children.
But Sinatra’s troubles with the Cal-Neva weren’t over yet. A few days after Anderson was murdered, and one week before her own death, Marilyn Monroe flew to the Cal-Neva at Frank Sinatra’s invitation. Sinatra told Monroe that he wanted to discuss their upcoming film together, What a Way to Go. Monroe didn’t want to go, but someone told Marilyn that Bobby Kennedy would be there. It sounded logical to Monroe, since it had been in the papers that the Attorney General was in Los Angeles on business.
Sinatra flew Monroe out on his own plane along with Peter Lawford, although the crooner was no longer speaking to Lawford after the Kennedys dumped him, and Lawford’s wife, Patricia Kennedy Lawford.
Exactly what happened that weekend at the Cal-Neva, isn’t known and may never be known. Louis McWillie, an outfit related gambler who worked for Sinatra at the Cal-Neva said: “There was more to what happened up there than anybody has ever told. It would have been a big fall for Bobby Kennedy.”
What is known is that there was dinner with Sam Giancana, Peter and Pat Lawford, Sinatra and Monroe. Giancana, of course, had no business being in the Cal-Neva since he was listed in the State’s Black Book of persons forbidden to enter a casino, in fact, he was at the top of the list of restricted persons, but, as San Francisco’s new columnist Herb Caen said: ” I saw Sinatra at the Cal-Neva when Sam Giancana was there. In fact I met Giancana through Frank. He was a typical hood, didn’t say much. He wore a hat at the lake, and sat in his little bungalow, receiving people.”
During the dinner, Monroe got uncontrollably drunk and was led to the cabin where, while she was passed out, several hookers, male and female, molested her while Sinatra and Giancana watched, with Giancana taking his turn with the actress as well.
While the female prostitutes had their way with Monroe, someone snapped photographs of the entire thing and before the night was over, Sinatra then brought the film to Hollywood photographer Billy Woodfield, and gave him a roll of film to develop in his darkroom.
The next morning, Peter Lawford told Monroe that Robert Kennedy was in Los Angeles and that he didn’t want to see her, speak to her or have any contact with her in the future. When she protested, someone showed her the photographs from the night before. That afternoon, she tried to commit suicide with an overdose of pills and had to have her stomach pumped.
Later on, when Giancana told the story to Johnny Roselli, Roselli said to Giancana, referring to either Monroe or Campbell: “You sure get your rocks off fucking the same broad as the (Kennedy) brothers, don’t you?”
Exactly a year later, Sinatra’s involvement with the Cal-Neva came to an end, when the McGuire sisters were scheduled to perform there, mostly due to the fact that Giancana was dating Phyllis McGuire, with whom he shared a chalet during her performance there.
Unfortunately for Giancana, McGuire, Sinatra and the Cal-Neva, the FBI photographed the hood playing golf with Sinatra and having drinks and dinner together in the Cal-Neva dining room. The FBI was also watching that same evening when, during a small party in McGuire’s room, Victor LaCroix Collins, the sisters’ road manager, became irritated when Phyllis McGuire kept walking by his seat and punching him on the arm. “So I told her,” Collins said, “you do that again and I’m going to knock you right on your butt. A half an hour later she punches me again and so I grabbed her by both arms and meant to sit her in the chair I got out of, but I swung around and missed the chair, she hit the floor. She didn’t hurt herself…but Sam came charging across the room and threw a punch at me wearing a huge big diamond ring that gouged me in the left eye.
“I just saw red then and grabbed him, lifted him clean off the floor, and I was going to throw him through the plate glass door, but thought, why wreck the place? So, I decided to take him outside and break his back on the hard metal railing on the patio. I got as far as the door and then got hit on the back of the head. I don’t know who hit me from behind but the back of my head was split open. It didn’t knock me out but I went down with Sam underneath me, he had on a pearl gray silk suit and blood from my eye was running all over his suit. I had a hold of him by the testicles and the collar and he couldn’t move, that’s when Sinatra came in with his valet George, the colored boy, they were coming to join the party, the girls were screaming and running around like a bunch of chickens in every direction because nobody knew what was going to happen. George just stood there with the whites of his eyes rolling around and around in his black face because he knew who Sam was and nobody ever fought with Sam…Sinatra and George pulled me off of Sam, who ran out the door.”
The next morning, the FBI, which had a fairly clear idea of what had happened the night before, as a well as several rolls of film of Sinatra with Giancana, filed its report, with photographs, with the State of Nevada Gambling Control Board.
After reading the report, the Control Board’s chairman, Ed Olson, called Sinatra at the Sands Casino in Las Vegas and asked about Giancana being on the property and Sinatra said that he saw a man who looked like Giancana and that they just waved and nodded to each other and that was all.
But the FBI also had wind of the fight and told the investigators and flew to Nebraska to interview Collins who filled them in and then back to Sinatra who denied knowing anything about it. Olson thanked Sinatra for his time and hung up. There was little else he could do. Sinatra was a casino owner, with substantial investments in the state, and he was also a major celebrity who was singularly responsible for drawing tens of thousands of tourists into Nevada.
Then the newspapers got hold of the story and backed Olson into a corner, forcing him to remark that his investigation would not conclude until “certain discrepancies in the information provided by various people at Cal-Neva could be resolved.”
Sinatra read that and called Olson and asked him to come to the Cal-Neva for dinner “to talk about this, your statements.”
Olson said that he felt it was inappropriate to be seen at the Cal-Neva having dinner with Sinatra, since the singer was, technically, under investigation by Olson’s office, and even if Sinatra weren’t under investigation, Olson said, it would still be unacceptable for the Gaming Commissioner to be seen fraternizing with a casino owner.
“But frank kept insisting,” Olson said, “and I kept refusing. The more I refused the madder he got until he seemed almost hysterical. He used the foulest language I ever heard in my life.”
To calm Sinatra down, Olson agreed to meet Sinatra in Olson’s office but Sinatra did’t show up. An hour later Sinatra called Olson in a rage. “You listen to me Ed… .you’re acting like a fucking cop, I just want to talk to you off the record.”
Olson, in an attempt to take back the high ground that his position required said: “Who I am speaking to?”
“This is Frank Sinatra! You fucking asshole! F-R-A-N-K, Sinatra.” Olson avoided the insults and said that any meeting between them would have to be on record in the presence of witnesses. Sinatra cut him short and screamed, “Now, you listen Ed! I don’t have to take this kind of shit from anybody in the country and I’m not going to take it from you people…I’m Frank Sinatra!”
Sinatra went on and on, until, at one point, Olson warned Sinatra that if he didn’t show up for an interview that Olson would have him subpoenaed. “You just try and find me,” the singer threatened, “and if you do you can look for a big fat surprise…a big fat fucking surprise. You remember that, now listen to me Ed, don’t fuck with me. Don’t fuck with me, just don’t fuck with me.”
“Are you threatening me?” Olson asked.
“No…just don’t fuck with me and you can tell that to your fucking board of directors and that fucking commission too.”
The next day two investigators came to watch the count at the Cal-Neva and Sinatra yelled across the casino to Skinny D’Amato, “Throw the dirty sons of bitches out of the house.”
But since the count had already started, the agents left before an incident could be started, but came back the next day, only to have D’Amato offer them $100 each “to cooperate.” The agents reported the bribe to Olson, who took moves to revoke Sinatra’s license.
When the news was announced that Sinatra was under investigation and would probably lose his casino license, very few people in Nevada rushed to his aid. There were a lot of people in Nevada who resented Sinatra, others despised him and very few people felt that he should have gotten a state gaming license in the first place, and the word around the capitol building in Reno, was that Sinatra needed to be taught a lesson.
The lesson they taught him was to take away his license to operate a casino or hotel in Nevada, thus forcing him to sell not only his 50% in the Cal-Neva, but also his 9% interest in the Sands, about 3.5 million dollars worth of holdings in 1963.
“I talked to Sam (Giancana) the next day,” said Joe Shimon, a Washington, D.C. police officer assigned to the Central Intelligence Agency, “and he told me that Sinatra had cost him over $465,000 on Cal-Neva.” He said, “That bastard and his big mouth. All he had to do was to keep quiet, let the attorneys handle it, apologize and get a thirty to sixty day suspension…but no, Frank has to get on the phone with that damn big mouth of his and now we’ve lost the whole damn place. He never forgave him. He washed Frank right out of his books.”
Nevada’s Governor, Grant Sawyer, stood behind the Gambling Control Board’s decision to yank Sinatra’s license. However, while the case was still pending, President Kennedy came to the state and was given a caravan parade through the streets of Las Vegas, and found himself sitting in the same car with Governor Sawyer. Kennedy turned to Sawyer, and said, “Aren’t you people being a little hard on Frank out here?”
The Governor didn’t reply, but later repeated what Kennedy had said to Ed Olson, who was startled by the remark. “That’s about the highest degree of political pressure you could ever put into the thing,” Olson said.
But the Cal-Neva incident was, for the Kennedys, as Peter Lawford said, “the end of old Frankie boy as far as the family was concerned.”