Of all the myths and legends that surround the colorful history of Las Vegas, my favorite myth was dispelled on the front page of Wednesday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal. In this particular myth we are led to believe that the Mafia and their associates simply packed their bags and left the bottomless gold mine of Las Vegas gaming when “legitimate” corporations bought up their interests in the casinos. In this myth the Mob took the money and ran when Corporate America made them “an offer they couldn’t refuse.” But on the front page of Wednesday’s R.J. we see the Las Vegas mayor himself, the Honorable Oscar Goodman gleefully posing in an old picture with the recently departed criminal and Mafia front man, Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal.
Standing like the loyal Apollo at the right hand of Zeus, Oscar Goodman was Lefty’s attorney for many years and the Mob’s “go to” lawyer in Vegas to protect their sports betting cash cow. His Honor also successfully defended Lefty’s friend, the psychotic hit man, Tony “The Ant” Spilotro against murder charges during Rosenthal’s reign. I suppose Mayor Goodman should feel a sense of pride for his accomplishments. It’s too bad his prowess as a criminal defense attorney couldn’t save the infamous Spilotro from being beaten to death in an Indiana corn field by some of Tony’s Louisville Slugger wielding associates. Rumor has it that The Ant was still breathing when his former colleagues buried him underneath so much of that rich mid-western farmland. Nice friends, Your Honor.
I’ve always been led to believe that once you’re firmly in the grasp of The Mafia as Oscar Goodman so obviously was, that there’s “no gettin’ out” as Tony Soprano might say. Does this mean there’s a real life mobster running Las Vegas? Say it ain’t so!
It’s certainly no secret that Goodman was involved with organized crime – just ask him and he’ll tell you - but I wonder if he ever presented an official bill to his fine, upstanding clients for legal services rendered, or could there be a safe deposit box somewhere that is overflowing with “skim money” with Goodman’s name on it? For the sake of myths, legends, and rumors I’d like to think so. Maybe that’s why our fearless leader has pushed so hard for his “Mob Museum” to become a reality. Considering the size of his astronomical ego it would make sense for the good mayor, a self-admitted drunk with the gin blossoms to prove it, to build just one more place for him to see his name in lights.
The photo in Wednesday’s paper only goes to prove what I’ve always believed. Criminals and the people who defend them never really die or even fade away. They simply take all that wisdom and experience and enter the world of politics.