Le mot « super-pègre » (traduction de « supermob », terme choisi par l’auteur et enquêteur du Sénat des États-Unis Walter Sheridan) désigne un groupe d’hommes du Midwest américain, souvent d’origine juive russe, qui ont fait fortune au vingtième siècle dans l’Ouest des États-Unis en collusion avec des membres notoires du crime organisé. C’est ainsi que le définit l’auteur Gus Russo dans son ouvrage SUPERMOB: How Sidney Korshak And His Criminal Associates Became America’s Hidden Power Brokers (2006).
Comme le démontre l’auteur tout au long de l’ouvrage, ces super-riches bien au-dessus des lois ont propulsé les films que les Américains regardent, la musique qu’ils écoutent, les politiciens pour qui ils votent, les hôtels et casinos qu’ils fréquentent, etc. Le seul fait que le grand public, les médias et les universités ignorent jusqu’à l’existence-même de cette super-pègre montre à quel point leur réussite a été totale.
PDF – SUPERMOB: How Sidney Korshak And His Criminal Associates Became America’s Hidden Power Brokers, by Gus RUSSO
Su-per-mob (soo-per-mahb) n. a group of men from the Midwest, often of Russian Jewish heritage, who made fortunes in the 20th century American West in collusion with notorious members of organized crime.
TWO TYPES OF POWER dominated the twentieth century: the visible, embodied in politicians, corporate moguls, crime bosses, and law enforcement; and the invisible, concentrated in the hands of a few power brokers generally of Eastern European and Jewish immigrant heritage. Operating safely in the shadows, these men often pulled the strings of the visible power brokers. Although they remained nameless to the public, they were notorious among a smattering of enterprising investigators who, over decades, followed their brilliant, amoral, and frequently criminal careers. The late Senate investigator and author Walter Sheridan dubbed them the Supermob.
For all their power, this covert cadre of men had a surprisingly monolithic pedigree. They shared an ancestral lineage traceable from the former Russian-mandated Jewish ghetto known as the Pale of Settlement, emigrating first to the Maxwell Street-Lawndale sections of Chicago, and ultimately to what could be termed the Third Settlement, Beverly Hills, California. While they were nomadic to the degree that they followed the money, from Lake Shore Drive to the Vegas Strip to Beverly Hills, the Supermob largely succeeded in creating better, and more legitimate, lives for their offspring. In the process, they became quintessential capitalists, exerting such far-flung influence that the repercussions were felt by practically every American of their era, with an economic impact that could only be measured in the trillions of dollars. Through deniable, often arm’s-length associations with the roughneck Italian and Irish mobsters imprinted in the popular imagination, the Supermob and the hoods shared a sense of entitlement regarding tax-free income. This « Kosher Nostra » stressed brains over brawn and evolved into a real estate powerhouse, an organized-labor autocracy, and a media empire. If power does, indeed, corrupt, then the Supermob corrupted absolutely. Through methodically nurtured political ties, the Supermob effectively insulated itself from prosecution. They were above the law.
They had names like Korshak, Arvey, Greenberg, Pritzker, and Ziffren. Within this Supermob, Jake Arvey was the visionary kingmaker, the patriarchal Chicago ward boss who inspired his own young wards-prodigies like Sid Korshak, the sphinxlike operator who quietly kept the wheels of the enterprise greased, or Alex Louis Greenberg, Paul Ziffren, and the others who plunged into stealthy entrepreneurships that made up the engine of this hidden economy. Although they propelled the making of the movies we watched, the music we listened to, the politicians we voted for, and the hotels and resorts we frequented, it is a testament to their genius that most Americans never heard of any of them.
Cast of Characters
Antonino Leonardo Accardo (1906-1992)—aka « Tony, » « Joe Batters, » and « The Big Tuna. » Served as boss of Chicago’s Outfit, the most powerful underworld cartel in U.S. history, for over six decades in the twentieth century. A major force in national bookmaking, labor racketeering, the Teamsters Pension Fund, and Las Vegas casino gambling, Accardo treated Sid Korshak like a son.
Jacob « Jake » (or »Jack ») Arvey (1895-1977)—Chicago-born attorney/political kingmaker who built one of the most powerful patronage « machines » in America. He served as a mentor to many of Chicago’s most « well-connected » jewish attorneys, and as a crucial vote deliverer for Democratic presidents such as FDR, Truman, and JFK. Key early supporter of the state of Israel.
David Lionel Bazelon (1909-1993)—Chicago tax attorney, originally in law firm with college buddy Paul Ziffren, but left private practice to become Truman’s assistant attorney general in charge of the lands division, a position that he used to his advantage in his own real estate investments. He quickly advanced to become director of the Office of Alien Property, where he oversaw the disbursement of land (often to his Chicago pals) seized from the Japanese Americans sent to internment camps during World War II. Eventually becamc a chief judge in D.C.’s Court of Appeals.
Charles Bluhdorn (1926-1983)—aka « The Mad Austrian. » Austrian immigrant who parlayed a successful auto parts distributorship into a conglomerate comprising over a hundred firms, all consolidated in 1958 when he formed Gulf & Western lnc. ln 1966, Bluhdorn purchascd struggling Paramount Pictures, named Sid Korshak’s sycophant Bob Evans as production chief, then brought in the Mafia’s Vatican money launderer Michele Sindona as a major « silent » investor in the movie studio. Bluhdorn utilized Sid Korshak’s talents to oversee his Chicago racetracks’ tabor issues; invested in Korshak’s mob retreat, The Acapulco Towers.
Albert Romolo Broccoli (1909- 1996)—aka « Cubby. » One of Sidney Korshak’s closest Beverly Hills friends, and producer/owner of the James Bond movie franchise. When Broccoli produced Diamonds Are Forever in Las Vegas, Korshak was the « uncredited legal advisor, » donating both his Riviera Hotel and his girlfriend Jill St. John to the production.
Edmund G. « Pat » Brown (1905-1996)—San Francisco-born attorney and respected governor of California (1959-67). Father of California governor Jerry Brown. Received important political and financial support early and often from Sid Korshak and friends. On board of directors of Bernie Cornfeld’s lnvestors Overseas Services (IOS), which bilked investors out of hundreds of millions, before imploding after allegations of being a fraudulent pyramid scheme and money launderer for the mob. (Founder Cornfeld served eleven months in a Geneva jail, before charges were dropped, allowing him to move to Beverly Hills and date Heidi Fleiss.)
Jerry Brown (Edmund G. Brown Jr.) (1938-)—aka « Governor Moonbeam. » Governor of California (1974-83) who received controversial labor support from Sid Korshak, allegedly in return for Brown’s favored treatment of Korshak’s California racetrack-owner clients. Later, a presidential candidate (1992) and mayor of Oakland, California. Dated Linda Ronstadt.
Delbert W. « Del » Coleman (1926-)—After selling his interest in Seeburg, lnc. (a jukebox manufacturer linked to the Outfit by the Chicago Crime Commission), the Chicago entrepreneur, an investor in Sid Korshak’s Acapulco Towers, connived with Korshak to take over the Parvin-Dohrmann company as part of a master plan to buy the Stardust and other Vegas casinos. The affair ended with Coleman, Korshak, and others being rebuked by the Securities and Exchange Commission for stock manipulation. The experience also led to a permanent falling-out between Korshak and Coleman.
Morris Barney « Moe » Dalitz (né Dolitz) (1899-1989)—aka « Moe Davis » and « The Godfather of Las Vegas. » The leader of Cleveland’s Mayfield Road Gang, where he specialized in bootlegging and gambling. Moved to Las Vegas, where he owned mob-skimmed Desert Inn, before expanding into numerous other Vegas properties, and the formerly mob-friendly La Costa Resort in Southern California. Considered Sid Korshak his legal adviser.
Allen M. Dorfman (1924-1983)—For many years, did the Outfit’s (and Sid Korshak’s) bidding as manager of the Teamsters Pension Fund, disbursing over $500 million in low-interest loans, especially to Chicago hoods in Las Vegas. In return, he received kickbacks on the loans, and his insurance company was named carrier of the lucrative Teamsters’ Health Care Fund. Soon after his convictions on the kickbacks and the bribery of Nevada senator Howard Cannon, he was murdered in the Chicago suburbs, amid contentions that he had been « flipped » by the feds.
Bob Evans (né Robert J. Shapera) (1930-)—Manhattan-born clothing salesman for his brother Charles’s Evan-Picone clothing line. After a brief flirtation with acting, named by Gulf & Western chief Charles Bluhdorn as production head at Paramount Studios, which he gave a new life after producing bits such as The Godfather and Love Story. Well-known abuser of narcotics, Evans fell out with his longtime « consigliere, » Sid Korshak, after being busted in 1980 for cocaïne possession, narrowly escaping a trafficking charge. It was reported thar he later came under suspicion when Roy Radin, an investor in Evans’s Cotton Club movie, was murdered in 1983, amid a haze of massive cocaïne purchases and thefts. When the case came to trial in 1989, Evans, under the guidance of his attorney, Korshak friend Robert Shapiro, took the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify. Evans was a close friend and promoter of child rapist and direcror Roman Polanski. Dated ______________ (fill in the blank with starlet names). Serial husband.
John Jacob Factor (1889- 1984)—aka « Jake the Barber. » British stock swindler, brother of Hollywood cosmetics baron Max Factor. After biding out in Chicago, Factor faked his own kidnapping (with the Outfit’s help) to avoid extradition to the UK (sending an innocent « kidnapper » to jail for life). Later, Factor fronted for the Outfit at their Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas. In Sin City, Jake took orders from Sid Korshak, while in Los Angeles, brother Max Factor employed Korshak to keep labor in line. Noted philanthropist.
Charlie Gioe (né Joye) (1904-1954)—aka « Cherry Nose. » Bookie in the Capone Syndicate, co-owner of Chicago’s Seneca Hotel (a key Supermob crossroads) with Alex Greenberg; convicted in the 1943 Hollywood extortion scandal, after which Sid Korshak, who had visited Gioe in prison twenty-two times, arranged for his parole supervision.
Alex Louis Greenberg (1891-1955)—aka « The Comptometer. » Chicago bootlegger and real estate investor for the Capone mob and the Outfit, loan shark, and part owner of the Seneca Hotel. Partnered with Paul Ziffren and others in California land investments.
Al Hart (1904-1979)—Bootlegger in the Capone mob, distillery owner, backer of Bugsy Siegel in Las Vegas. After move to California, he owned the mob-friendly Del Mar Race Track and founded the mob-friendly City National Bank of Beverly Hills, later the largest independent bank in California. With Sid Korshak, an original investor in both the Bistro restaurant and Korshak’s gangster getaway, The Acapulco Towers.
Conrad Hilton (1887-1979)—New Mexico-born patriarch of the Hilton Hotel dynasty, partnercd with mob-front Arnold Kirkeby to expand his empire, which utilized Sid Korshak as labor consultant. Paid for his long association with Korshak when his bid to obtain a New Jersey casino license was rejected in 1985, largely due to Korshak’s mob ties.
James Riddle « Jimmy » Hoffa (1913- 1975?)—Rugged son of an Indiana coal miner who seemed predestined to head a violence-prone organization like the Teamsters, which he did from 1957 until his imprisonment for jury tampering in 1967. Hoffa was only able to attain his post thanks to the key backing of Outfit bosses such as Curly Humphreys, who had their sights fixed on the heavily endowed Pension Fund. When Hoffa allowed them Las Vegas loans, he had to answer to Sidney Korshak. Hoffa disappeared in 1975 after he announced he wanted to take back the Teamster presidency from a cabal that made Hoffa’s relationship with racketeers seem benign by comparison.
Howard Robard Hughes (1905-1976)—Texas-born aviation-industry pioneer, film producer, Las Vegas- hotel magnate, recluse, and best-known sufferer of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Hughes tangled (successfully) with Sid Korshak ovcr ownership of RKO studios in the fifties and unsuccessfully with Korshak’s Outfit pals in Las Vegas in the seventies.
« Murray » Llewelyn Morris Humphreys (1899- 1965)—aka « Curly, » « The Hump, » « The Camel, » « John Brunswick, » « G. Logan, » « Mr. Lincoln, » « Dave Ostrand, » « Cy Pope, » « Einstein, » « Mr. Moneybags. » Labor-racketeering, corruption, and bribery genius of the Chicago Outfir, Sidney Korshak’s direct superior and liaison to « the Chicago boys » after Korshak was sent West.
Burton W. Kanter (1930-2001)—Abe Pritzker’s Chicago tax attorney, and a founder of the Castle Bank in the Bahamas, where the Pritzkers and other clients were able to dodge millions in taxes in the 1970s. Kanter, himself a multimillionaire, openly admitted to not paying taxes for decades. With the Pritzker dynasty, devised a kickback scheme involving Prudential lnsurance and creative forms of offshore film financing used to bankroll some of Hollywood’s biggest hits. At the rime of his death, after a complicated ten-year IRS investigation, he was awaiting sentencing for massive tax evasion. Noted philanthropist.
Kerkor « Kirk » Kerkorian (1917-)—California-born, hugely successful dealmaker and conglomerate builder. After an early profitable airline venture, he purchased MGM and numerous Las Vegas hotels, including the Hilton International, MG.M Grand, The Mirage, and Mandalay Bay. In his early career, he was linked by telephone wiretaps to Genovese crime-family enforcer Charlie « the Blade » Tourine.
Arnold S. Kirkeby (1900-1962)—Chicago real estate speculator who partnered with Conrad H ilton (openly) in numerous hotels and restaurants, and with hoods such as Meyer Lansky and Longy Zwillman (covertly).
Morris Jerome « Marshall » Korshak (1910-1996)—Sidney’s kid brother and anothcr Chicago-born attorney, one of the most successful elected politicians (liberal Democrat) in twentieth-century Chicago, and a lifelong supporter of the state of Israel.
Sidney Roy Korshak (1907-1996)—aka « The Fixer, » « The Myth, » « Mr. Silk Stockings, » and « The Duke. » Chicago-born attorney who was the point man in the Chicago Outfit’s power plays in Hollywood and Las Vegas, often conducting business from his table at the Bistro restaurant in Beverly Hills, where he had relocated in the fifties. Middleman between the mob-controlled Teamsters and legit corporations who curried its favor for labor peace. In Vegas, he was in charge of a numbcr of hotel-casinos, most notably The Riviera. Frequent escort of actresses Jill St. John (Oppenheim) and Stella Stevens (Estelle Eggleston), among others.
Irv Kupcinet (1912-2003)—aka « Kup. » Iconic Chicago Sun-Times gossip columnist and Emmy Award-winning television host, Kup was a longtime friend of Sid Korshak’s, with whom he shared Table One in the Ambassador East’s Pump Room. Korshak came to Kup’s aid when Kup’s daughter was murdered in Hollywood in 1963.
Paul Dominque Laxalt (1922-)—Nevada-born U.S. senator (1974-87) and governor of Nevada (1967-71). Ronald Reagan’s closest pal, and his presidential campaign chairman, he was also close to his own chief fund-raiser, Ruby Kolod of Cleveland’s Mayfield Road Gang, and Chicago’s Sid Korshak. When Laxalt needed a loan to build his Ormsby House Casino in Carson City (soon to be skimmed by the Chicago Outfit), Korshak allegedly had him writc a character reference letter on behalf of imprisoned Jimmy Hoffa to President Nixon; Korshak then set him up with a loan from a friendly Chicago banker. When these associations and allegations were reported in the Sacramento Bee, Laxalt’s long-planned presidential bid was torpedoed.
James Caesar Petrillo (1892-1984)—aka « Little Caesar » and « The Mussolini of Music. » Longtime Chicago president of the powerful American Federation of Musicians (AFM). Often linked to the Chicago Outfit, Petrillo gave favored-fee status to Stein’s fledgling MCA, enabling it to bury the competition. Target of three congressional investigations and two federal prosecutions for union corruption.
Abe Pritzker (1896- 1986)—Chicago attorney (Pritzker, Pritzker and Clinton) and corporate mogul (Hyatt Hotel chain, the massive Marmon Group conglomerate). His firm’s Stanford Clinton was a trustee of the mob’s bank, aka the Teamsters Pension Fund, from which Hyatt made low-interest loans. Often linked to Chicago’s Outfit, and L.A.’s « Capone, » Jack Dragna, Pritzker employed lifelong friend Sid Korshak to keep labor unions in line. His company paid penalties of $460 million for a fraudulent bank failure and millions more to the IRS for tax evasion; the Pritzker empire was the largest depositor in the offshore Bahamian Castle Bank, which was developed by Pritzker’s tax attorney Burton Kanter as a vehicle for tax dodging. Noted philanthropist.
Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911-2004)—aka « Dutch, » « The Gipper, » and « The Great Communicator. » Sub-B actor from Iowa, who started out in Outfit-controlled joints before being promoted by his agents, MCA’s Stein and Wasserman, into the Screen Actors Guild presidency, the California governorship, and eventually the U.S. presidency. Lifelong hunter of commies, both real and imagined, and an informant on fellow actors for the FBI’s]. Edgar Hoover. Told the Soviets, « Tear down this wall. »
Harvey Silbert (1912-2002)—Chicago-born attorney; moved to L.A., where he was a partner in the powerful law firm Wyman, Bautzer, Rothman, Kuchel, Christianson, and Silbert, which represented many A-list celebrities; personal attorney for Frank Sinatra. Silbert was a stockholder in Korshak’s heavily skimmed Riviera, which he managed for a time. (FBI sources alleged that Riviera skim was laundered through Silbert’s law firm.) Silbert was also a director of the beleaguered Parvin-Dohrmann Corporation. Prolific philanthropist, especially to Jewish causes.
Michele Eugenio Sindona (1920- 1986)—aka « The Shark » and « St. Peter’s Banker. » Charlie Bluhdorn’s Sicilian alter ego, successful industrialist, banker, conglomerate builder; also a reputed made mafioso who laundered Gambino-family heroin profits through the Vatican Bank (one of his clients), and a member of the secret Italian Masonic Lodge, known as P-2. After investing heavily in Bluhdorn’s Paramount Pictures, he was convicted of bank fraud in 1980 (sentenced to twenty-five years), then extradited to Italy, where he was convicred in 1986 of ordering the murder of an Italian prosccutor who was investigating Sindona’s vast Mafia entanglements. Two days after his murder conviction, Sindona died in an Italian prison, poisoned under mysterious circumstances.
Dr. Julius Caesar »Jules » Stein (1896-1981)—Chicago ophthalmologist and founder of Music Corporation of America (MCA) and Universal Pictures, arguably the most powerful entertainment conglomerare in American history. Early friend of Al Capone, who helped Stein muscle his way into the business by smoke-bomhing competitors. His MCA was continually investigated by the feds for six decades, with minimal repercussions. Noted philanthropist.
Lester Velie (1908-2003)-Classmate of Sid Korshak’s at the University of Wisconsin, preeminent award-winning investigative journalist for Collier’s and Reader’s Digest; a lifelong organized-crime gadfly and the first to crusade against Korshak, Ziffren, and the Supermob.
l.ouis « Lew » Wasserman (né Weiserman) (1913-2002)—MCA president who, with Jules Stein, became one of the most powerful entertainment moguls in America. Tried hard to stay out of the public eye and was known as a brilliant visionary, rough businessman, and master of corporate tax avoidance through the use of the Dutch Sandwich scheme. Heavily reliant on Sid Korshak’s sway over Hollywood unions and guilds. Together with Ziffrcn and Korshak, known as the Three Redwoods. Wasserman was an important West Coast supporter of many Democratic presidents.
Paul Ziffren (1913-1991)—Chicago attorney (and possibly the illegitimate son of Jake Arvey), specializing in tax law. Frequent real estate speculator, especially in postwar California, with the likes of Alex Greenberg, David Bazelon, Fred Evans, and Sam Genis. In his twenty-year run as California’s Democratic national committeeman, Ziffren became, like his mentor Arvey in Illinois, a kingmaker for the Democratic Party in California in the midtwentieth century. Brought both the 1960 Democratic convention (which nominated JFK) and the 1984 Olympics to L.A. His prestigious L.A. law firm, Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, which specialized in tax matters, had a large celebrity dientele.
Abner Zwillman (1904-1959)—aka « Longy. » New Jersey’s most notorious gangster, founder of Murder Inc. Among his enterprises were gambling, prostitution running, and control of labor unions. Zwillman was possibly the first big gangster to « wash » his money in so-called legit businesses such as Kirkeby’s Hilton Hotels, casinos from Havana to Las Vegas, and in Hollywood movie studios, where his interests (and girlfriends such as actress Jean Harlow) were often watched over by Sid Korshak.
L’article suivant de Michael Collins Piper est probablement la meilleure présentation du livre qu’on puisse trouver.
By Michael Collins Piper
Forget everything you think you know about the Mafia as it’s been commemorated in such Hollywood extravaganzas as the famous Godfather trilogy. That’s all Tinseltown legend — some might even say “propaganda.” The truth about the organized crime syndicate in America goes much higher and deeper and in directions the mass media is not likely to ever tell you about. And if you have any doubts about it, you need to read the fascinating new book, Supermob, by veteran investigative journalist Gus Russo, who may well have put his career on the line by daring to write this stunning overview of a seamy history you’re not supposed to know about.
. . .Did you know that Ronald Reagan owed his early career in the entertainment industry and later his political career in California to a group of gangsters (many of them of Russian Jewish — not Italian-American — origin) who started out in Chicago and in other Midwestern cities such as Cleveland and Detroit? Well, that’s a fact, and in Supermob, Russo tells the story as it’s only been hinted at before.
. . .This group of gangsters and their associates, including union officials, attorneys, real estate developers, construction tycoons, hotel kings and military contractors — among other wheeler-dealers — played a major role (open and not-so-open) in the development of the casino industry in Las Vegas and in the rise of the motion picture industry as we know it today. Russo tells the story. You’ll be amazed by the wide-ranging connections of this sordid group that’s been called “The Kosher Nostra” (not to be confused with “Cosa Nostra”).
. . .Did you know that during World War II — and in the years that followed — this tightly-knit clique utilized its contacts in the federal Office of Alien Property to grab control of vast amounts of real estate and other assets that previously belonged to Japanese-Americans who were taken into custody by the Franklin Roosevelt administration and put in concentration camps on American soil? At the end of the war, one of the Supermob’s “inside” men — later a “respected” federal judge — was responsible for steering this confiscated property — now worth literally billions of dollars — into this hands of this crime-connected network.
. . .Once you’ve read Russo’s account of what happened to the Japanese-Americans, you’ll find it difficult to continue listening to the complaints about the confiscated properties of Jewish people in Europe (many of whom are living in Israel today) without recalling Russo’s expose of how Jewish-American gangsters and their associates (many of whom emerged as key supporters of the Israeli lobby in the United States) managed to amass billions of dollars in confiscated Japanese-American property.
. . .Russo’s book, which is subtitled “How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America’s Hidden Power Brokers,” hinges on the life and crimes of Chicago mob lawyer Sidney Korshak. However, it’s a story that’s much bigger than one man. Korshak relocated to California and became a top-of-the-line mover and shaker in the motion picture world, socializing with the Hollywood elite (including Ronald and Nancy Reagan) and acting as a proverbial “fixer” whose powerful reach stretched deeply into the organized crime milieu in which he operated, branching out into the complex and inter-connected worlds of finance and industry with organized crime always lurking in the background.
. . .And as Russo points out, the deeds of Korshak and company resulted in repercussions that “were felt by practically every American of their era,” not the least of which was the rise of Ronald Reagan to the presidency, setting the stage for much of the intrigue across the planet today.
. . .While in the realm of organized crime, Italian-American names were plastered across newspaper headlines and in filmland, the truth is, as Russo makes clear, this Supermob — this small handful of Jewish figures of Russian origin — “often pulled the strings of the visible power brokers” and yet, ironically, “most Americans never heard of any of them.”
. . .Now, Russo’s book sets the historical record straight in a trailblazing work that will leave you reeling. Russo writes:
. . . “Through deniable, often arm’s-length associations with the roughneck Italian and Irish mobsters imprinted in the popular imagination, the Supermob and the hoods shared a sense of entitlement regarding tax-free income.
. . . “This ‘Kosher Nostra’ stressed brains over brawn and evolved into a real estate powerhouse, an organized-labor autocracy and a media empire. If power does, indeed, corrupt, then the Supermob corrupted absolutely.
. . . “Through methodically nurtured political ties, the Supermob effectively insulated itself from prosecution. They were above the law . . . They propelled the making of the movies we watched, the music we listened to, the politicians we voted for, and the hotels and resorts we frequented. . . .” [The End]