He started as a simple docker, was engaged in bootlegging on a large scale and was known as the “King of Rum Runners”. Big Bill Dwyer made so much money that he partnered with famous gangsters at several chic nightclubs in New York. Dwyer also owned two professional hockey teams, including New York Americans, and was the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers football team. However, in the end, when Big Bill Dwyer passed away, he died due to attention, and the apartment broke down.
William Vincent Dwyer was born in 1883 in the kitchen of Hellish cuisine in western New York. At that time, two gangs, Hudson's Rags and Gophers, controlled Ada's kitchen, but Dwyer avoided joining both gangs and instead got a job at the docks as a stevedore for the International Union of Loaders (ILU). )
Working on the docks, Dwyer began his own bookmaker activity. After the Law of Wolstead, prohibiting the distribution of alcohol, to the money that he earned at bookmakers, was adopted in 1919, Dwyer went into the bootlegging business. Dwyer bought a fleet of steel-coated high-speed boats, each with a machine gun mounted, in case the scammers tried to seize the cargo. Dwyer also acquired several large ships traveling around the rum, which were necessary in order to unload an illegal hot dog from any boat that supplied it.
Dwyer went to Canada, England and the Caribbean to establish contacts with those who sold him the spirits needed to smuggle into the United States. Dwyer then created a system whereby his ships met ships that supplied him with alcohol, many miles out of the sea. There, the drink was handed over to Dwyer ships, and then quickly delivered to Dwyer speed boats, which were closer to the coast of New York.
Speedboats were unloaded at the docks, which were protected by Local 791 ILU, of which Dwyer was a member. From the docks, the liquor was transferred to several warehouses in the New York area. When the time came, trucks filled with illegal alcohol and escorted by convoys of team members transported alcohol across the country: heavy loads went to Florida, St. Louis, Kansas City, Cincinnati and even New York. Orleans.
Dwyer was able to ship a large amount of booze to New York because he knew one simple fact: you had to bribe the police and the coast guard if you wanted to succeed in the bootlegging business. And Dwyer did this, passing thousands of dollars to the one who needs to be lubricated.
Dealing with cops from New York was easy. Police officers who did not have money to raise money were far apart. However, Dwyer was particularly adept at recruiting members of the coast guard to look the other way when his speedboats entered the waters of New York.
Dwyer's first contact was the Olsen Coast Guard Junior Officer. Through Olsen, Dwyer met dozens of Coast Guard, whom he called "Sentinels," who could take bribes. Dwyer would bring these Sentinels into the bright lights of New York, where he could feed them sumptuous food, take them to Broadway shows and even get a chic hotel room occupied by a lady of her choice, for which Dwyer would pay too much. As soon as the Guardsman received a bribe from Dwyer, he was informed that he could earn hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars more, if he could attract other guards to protect Dwyer's supplies.
Soon, Dwyer made so much money in bootlegging that he was considered the largest distributor of illegal alcohol in the entire United States of America. However, Dwyer had one huge problem that he needed help to solve. Whenever one of his trucks drove out of New York to distribute booze to other parts of the country, they were vulnerable to capture by the hundreds of hijackers who were operating throughout the country. Dwyer knew that in order to prevent this from happening, he had to take on partners – members of Italian mobs and Jewish mobs. Since he earned millions of profits, Dwyer did not mind and, of course, could afford to share wealth. The problem was that Dwyer considered himself to be nothing more than a businessman and himself was not a gangster. Dwyer needed someone from the underworld who could make the contacts Dwyer needed to continue acting without fear of being hijacked.
Almost by accident, this man fell right on Dwyer's knees. In 1924, two Dwyer shipments were captured in upstate New York. Dwyer relied on the cops on his payroll to find out who was responsible for the thefts. It soon became known to Dwyer that the criminal who was arrested for theft was none other than Owenie Madden, an Irishman who grew up in Liverpool, England, before he emigrated to New York as a teenager. Madden was a vicious swindler nicknamed “Assassin” and once controlled a gang of a killer gopher in “Hell's Kitchen”.
Dwyer paid the one who needed to pay to drop charges against Madden, with the order: “Bring me, Owen Madden. I want to talk to him. I have a business proposal that we need to discuss. ”
Madden found out who his benefactor was and what was expected of him to meet with Dwyer. The two men met at Dwyer’s office in Lowe’s Times Square State Building. There is no record or transcript of this meeting, but TJ English in his masterpiece about the Irish gangsters by the name of Paddy Wake said that the conversation between Madden and Dwyer could look something like this:
“You have a problem,” Madden would say to Dwyer. "The gangsters collected your trucks like sedentary ducks, and what are you going to do about it?"
"That's why I called you here."
"You have to organize shooters and cherry pickers, not to mention bulls (policemen) and police (politicians)."
"You're right. I need to stop the hijacking. I need a place where you can make your own drink, right here in the city. Protected by the Tiger and the tinkers. And I need outlets – speakeasies, night clubs, you name it. "
"You need a lot, my friend.
"Are you with me?"
“Give me one reason.”
"I can make you rich."
"Pal, you and I are two drops of water."
And that was the beginning of the Irish Mafia in New York, which would then combine with Italian and Jewish crowds to control the bootlegging business throughout the United States. A group of three ethnic mobs was known as Combine.
With millions of Dwyer, Madden led the establishment of the Phoenix Bread Drink Company, located on 26th Street and 10th Avenue, in the heart of the hell kitchen, where both Madden and Dwyer grew up. This red-brick building that comprised the entire block was originally the Clausen & Flanagan Brewery, which was created to produce and sell beer that no real beer lover would ever miss. The beer produced in Phoenix was called Madden & # 39; s No 1.
With Dwyer, basically a backstage man, Madden became the architect who created and raised his empire. Madden invited a former taxi owner named Larry Fay as the leader of several high-end establishments that were needed to sell Madden No. 1, plus all the scotch, rum, vodka, cognac and champagne that the factory smuggled into the country. city. One such place was El Fay at 107 West 54th Street.
The main attraction in El Fey was Texas Guinan, an obscene cabaret / comedian who was later copied by May West. To encourage Ginan to work in El Fay, Madden and Dwyer made Ginan a partner. Ginan became famous for her wise cracks, which she spewed between cracks from the nutcracker or shoes from a piercing whistle, while she was sitting on a high chair in the main room. Ginan's signature read: "Hello, Sucker," and that is how she greeted all the well-cured clients of El Faya.
When the singer or dancer finished their performance at El Fey, Guinan exhorted the crowd: “Give the little lady a big big hand!”
One day, a ban agent, whom Madden or Dwyer could not buy, raided El Fey. He went to Ginan, laid a hand on her shoulder and told his agent: "Give the little lady very large handcuffs."
Dwyer did what he did best, Ginan was released from prison, and El Fay soon jumped again, making all the participants really very rich.
Madden and Dwyer also collaborated with former bootlegger Sherman Billingsley at the very fashionable Stork Club on East 53rd Street. Two Irish gangsters spread their wings in upstate Manhattan when they bought Club De Luxe from former heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. They incorporated Big Frenchy De Mange as their operating partner and changed their name to Cotton Club. At the cotton club, De Mange introduced a White Only reception policy, despite the fact that waiters, dancers and headline artists such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Nicholas Brothers, all were black.
Nevertheless, the Cotton Club was a huge success, spending a lot of money from the center, investing tons of money in the pockets of Dwyer and Madden.
In 1925, Dwyer was arrested for trying to bribe members of the Coast Guard during a special operation led by the Prohibition Bureau. Dwyer was sentenced to two years in prison, but after 13 months he was released for good behavior. With Dwyer at the bank, Frank Costello took Dwyer's business to bootlegging.
While he was in prison, a dull Dwyer told one of his cellmates. “Too bad I never saw a case of whiskey. I spent years in daily fear for my life, always expecting me to be arrested, always dealing with scammers and double crosses, and now look at me. My wife is heartbroken, and I'm worse than breaking.
As we shall see, this is not entirely true.
When Dwyer went outside again, he went out of the bootlegging business, leaving the operation to produce rum to Costello and Madden. To pass the time, Dwyer began to invest in a legitimate business, especially in sports teams.
In 1926, boxing promoter Tex Rickard tricked Duer into buying Hamilton Tigers from the National Hockey League. Dwyer did this, and he transferred his team to New York Madison Square Garden and renamed them New York Americans. As smart as Dwyer was in the bootlegging business, he was just as stupid as he was running a hockey team. Dwyer’s winning strategy boiled down to tearing his pockets with bootlegging money: basically, they overpaid everyone on his team. The average hockey player earned between 1,500 and 2,000 dollars a year, and Dwyer signed a three-year contract with Billy Birch for 25 thousand dollars. Shorty Green also got a huge raise when Dwyer signed a $ 5,000 contract with him.
Being at heart an old fraudster, Dwyer took an active part in managing his team, even trying to customize the game. Dwyer paid with the referees on goal to manage his team, who scored a goal if the puck just touched the goal line, instead of completely passing the goal line, which was the rule.
During a game in 1927 at Madison Square Garden, a goal referee held by Dwyer in his pocket for some unknown reason started taunting Ottawa's goalkeeper Alex Connell. Connell responded with a blow from his hockey stick to the referee’s bow. Dwyer got angry at the actions of the Ottawa goalkeeper (you did not touch one of Dwyer's employees), and Connell was ordered to leave the city quickly after the game. The police brought Connell to the train station and defended him until the train left the city. After the train left the station, a man asked Connell if he was Ottawa's goalkeeper Alex Connell. Connell was afraid for his life, told the stranger no. And, as a result, he lived to see other hockey goalkeepers.
Bypassing the league rule that a person cannot own two hockey teams, in 1929, Dwyer, who used former boxing champion Benny Leonard as a leader, acquired the Pittsburgh NHL pirates. In 1930, Dwyer put his dirty fingers into the newly created National Football League, buying the Dayton Triangles for $ 2,500. Dwyer moved the team to Ebbets Field in Brooklyn and renamed them Brooklyn Dodgers.
Three years later, Dwyer, again overpaying all his players, began to lose so much money that he sold the Brooklyn Dodgers to two former New York Giant players – Chris Cagle and John Simms for 25 thousand dollars. Despite the fact that he sold the team 10 times what he paid, Dwyer estimated that he still lost $ 30,000 in the three years he owned the team.
In 1934, with American sports teams (he still owned Americans from New York, but they had bloody money), Dwyer bought the famous racecourse in a tropical park in Miami, Florida.
However, the roof fell on Dwyer when in 1935 he was charged with gambling. Dwyer defeated this case, but then the government did the same with him as with Al Capone: he was charged with tax evasion. Those charges were stuck, and Dwyer was stripped of all of his assets except New York Americans, and at home in Bell Harbor, Queens. Almost penniless, Dwyer no longer had the money to keep New York Americans afloat.
In 1937, the National Hockey League temporarily took control of New York Americans. To show the NHL that he was financially solvent, Dwyer lent $ 20,000 from Red Dutton. However, instead of paying salaries to his team, Dwyer decided to try to increase his money in the game of dice. It didn’t go too well when Dwyer flew out and lost all twenty thousand. Unable to pay his team and unable to raise more capital, the NHL finally kicked out Dwyer and finally took control of New York Americans. Frustrated and depressed, Dwyer retired to his home in Bel Harbor.
On December 10, 1943, Big Bill Dwyer, the “King of Rum Runners,” died at the age of 63. Dwyer was reportedly penniless at the time of his death; his only advantage was a roof over his head.