He was an insider for the mafia who, according to his former friend Louis “Lepke the Buhalter,” knew too much to live in. As a result, Harry “Big Green” Greenberg was the victim of a mafia strike in sunny California.
Harry Greenberg, also known as Harry Shakter and Harry Schober, grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with Lepke and longtime partner Lepke Jacob "Gurra" Shapiro, who were lovingly called the "Gorillas", and then, as they became more prosperous, – "Gemini from the golden dust." Greenberg was closely associated with the two killers and was their partner in various areas of clothing and fraud. Obviously, several murders were committed, and although there is no evidence that Greenberg participated in these killings, he knew exactly about the killings and why they were committed. Maybe Greenberg even knew who committed the killings. This knowledge was not a very good thing in the evil world of Louis "Modeling" Buchalter.
Greenberg talked with Lepke and Shapiro, and he even spent most of his summer with them at the Loch Sheldrake Country Club, in Catskills in upstate New York, owned by a legitimate businessman named Sam Tannenbaum. Sam Tannenbaum had a teenage son named Ellie, who worked at the hotel, either waiting for tables, or setting up sun loungers by the lake. Sam hoped Ellie would be his heir at the hotel when Sam decided to resign, but Ellie was destined for bigger and better things.
Or so Ally thought.
At the end of the summer of 1931, Tannenbaum was walking along Broadway in Manhattan when he came across Greenberg.
Greenberg asked Tannenbaum: “Do you want a job?”
“I could use one if it pays,” Tannenbaum said.
Greenberg smiled. “This is for sculpting. You know what kind of work it will be. ”
Greenberg unwittingly just helped hire one of his killers.
Over time, Tannenbaum climbed the stairs to Murder Incorporated Lepke, which was a branch of the mafia whose sole purpose was to kill anyone who was the main mafia boss in New York and then the boss around the world. America said you need to be killed.
The situation with Lepke went south when in 1936 special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey, who had already sentenced Laki Luciano, a partner of Lepke in the National Crime Syndicate, to prison in a 30-year-old. right on the Modeling. Dewey followed the Lepke & # 39; s garment center and Shakown Lepke & # 39; s "Bakers Union" rackets. However, these frauds were small potatoes compared to what Dewey really meant for Lepke. Convicted drug dealers always spent considerable time in prison, so Dewey convinced the Federal Drug Enforcement Bureau to institute proceedings against Lepke during a massive drug smuggling operation. Assuming that he was faced with a big bang in the clap, Lepke continued to run. Lepke was hidden in several shelters in Brooklyn by his co-leader Murder Incorporated Albert Anastasia, while Lepke's rackets were served by other Syndicate leaders.
While Lepke was hiding, he began to think about who knows enough about his rackets to put Lepke in prison for a very long time, if not directly on an electric chair. Lepke told all his killers and everyone who was in the know either “Get out of town or die.” Lepke thought that if any of his people were arrested, they could squeal at him to decide for themselves a better deal. It turned out that Lepke was right when he was worried about this, and therefore in the spring of 1939 Lepke sent the word "Big Green" to Greenberg to remove him from the city.
Greenberg took Lepke’s “advice” to heart and sent him to Montreal, Canada. While in Montreal, Greenberg thought: “Hey, I'm here, nowhere in Canada, and I can’t even earn a decent penny. These guys are better off taking good care of me. ”
As a result, “Big Green” Greenberg did something very stupid. He sent a letter to Mendy Weiss, who was second at Molding at Murder Inc., and said: “I hope you guys are not forgetting about me. You better not do that. ” He then asked Weiss to provide $ 5,000 to help him deal with cold weather in Canada.
Greenberg was waiting for an answer, or money, or both. When he received none, he thought again. “Hey, maybe sending this letter was not such a good idea.”
By this time, Weiss, after a conversation with Lepke, had already ordered Tannenbaum to go to Canada and delete Big Zelenka from the list of “people to worry about”. But when Tannenbaum arrived in Montreal, Big Green was already running a chicken coop and was officially a “hamster” not only by law, but also with guys whom he considered his best friends.
Greenberg decided he would bring the matter to Detroit, where the Purple Gang, another subsidiary of the National Crime Syndicate, might be good enough to bet him a few dollars and maybe even give Greenberg a safe place to hide. The Purple Gang, run by Sammy Cohen, nicknamed Sammy Purple, was very sweet with Greenberg; too sweet, Greenberg thought. While he was waiting for the money to stake, Big Green thought again, and it occurred to him that the Purple Gang was stopping him so that the New York killers could come there to do a lot of work for Big Green.
They must have checked the New York office, Greenberg thought. "The guys from New York must have told them," Keep him in tow until we find a couple of guys there. "
Greenberg was right. Tannenbaum and two other gunsels were heading to Detroit at the same time that Greenberg decided to follow the advice of Horace Greeley and "Go west, young man."
Greenberg went as far west as possible without swimming, and stayed in Hollywood, California, in the new hometown of Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, the main boss at Murder Incorporated and one of the few killers who thoroughly enjoyed doing their job.
Siegel was sent to California in 1937 by the National Crime Syndicate to take control of all illegal activities in a state that the East Coast mob considered virgin territory. After organizing the gambling interests of the syndicate, Siegel decided that you can earn a lot of money by combining Hollywood extras.
You can have the biggest movie stars, the best scripts, as well as the best producers and directors, but without additional features, most films will never be made. Thus, Siegel combined the extras and received from each of them neat amounts for the privilege of appearing, at least for a few seconds, in a Hollywood production. Siegel even became a movie himself.
However, this was a change in the block of wood compared to what Siegel actually meant.
Tall and handsome Hollywood, Siegel penetrated the upper reaches of the Hollywood elite. He dated two starlets at a time, and even had a hot and heavy affair with an Italian countess. The best actors and actresses of the time were Siegel's best friends, but they quickly learned to be friends with a man known as Bugsy (no one ever called him “Bugsy” on his face), and it was an easy way to express a dent in your bank account.
Using the same technique he learned from Lepke in the unions, Siegel approached the biggest stars with his fluid movement. He will admire the female stars, and then scare them with his reputation and a few harsh words. But with male stars, Siegel got right to the point
With a notebook and pen in Siegel’s hands, the conversation could sound something like this: “Hey, look, buddy, I am putting you up for $ 10,000 for additional services.”
"What is this deal?" the actor will protest "What should I do with extras?"
Siegel then shook his head, like a father disgusted by an ignorant child. “I do not think you understand. Take, for example, your new photo. Everything is ready to go. But what happens if the extras go on strike? because they are all allies
Without blinking an eye, all of Siegel’s Hollywood stars came up without exception, paid and paid well. In 1940, when the Fed received a warrant for Siegel’s Holmby Hill mansion, they found in the safe on the top floor a detailed account of the “loans” Siegel received for all of Hollywood’s main names. In just one year, Bugsy Siegel shocked actors and actresses for 400 thousand dollars. And no one even complained about the police. These frightened Hollywood suckers even chatted with Siegel when he put his hands in their pockets.
So when the news came that Greenberg was in Hollywood, on the east side, Siegel was given a contract. Now, as a rule, a person as tall as Siegel simply gave orders and possibly helped with planning. But Siegel, contrary to Lepke’s advice, insisted on dealing with the very killing of Greenberg.
Bugsy just really liked killing.
“We all begged Bugsy to stay out of the gunfire,” Doc Streicher, a friend of Lepke, said a few years later. “By this time he was too big a man to be personally involved. But Bugsy did not listen. He said that Greenberg is a threat to all of us, and if the cops grab him, he can tell the whole story of our equipment back. ” until the 1920s. "
At Newark's airport, shortly before he boarded a flight to Hollywood, Tannenbaum received a small bag with a doctor from the New Jersey mafia boss himself: Abner “Longy” Zwilman. Inside this bag were several “clean” pistols that were to be used in Greenberg’s Hollywood hood.
Meanwhile, Siegel was putting together his "hit team", which included Whitey Krakow, a Siegel relative from New York, and Frankie Carbo, a bandit from the Lower East Side and an employee at Murder Inc. He had already been arrested 17 times and charged with five murders, but none of the charges led to Carbo spending some considerable time in prison. Carbo was also an active fighter promoter and manager, and many of his top-notch fighters were suspected of not doing their best when their boss and his buddies made a big bet on another person.
Now the question arose of obtaining asylum of the car.
Sholom Bernstein, an independent cameraman from New York, just happened to be vacationing in Hollywood when he decided to visit his old friend Benny Siegel. Soon, Bernstein would be sorry that he had ever made this visit.
Even before secular conversations began, Siegel immediately understood.
“Clip car,” Siegel barked at Bernstein. “Leave it in the parking lot down the street.”
Bernstein, a veteran of such things, looked puzzled. Usually, when he cut a car, he hid it in a private garage, where the police could not see him.
"Parking?" Bernstein said.
“That's right,” Siegel snapped. "Just do as I say?"
So, Bernstein cut the car and parked it in the open parking lot, as Siegel requested. Almost immediately, the owner of the stolen car filed a police report. Since they were looking for a stolen car, the police discovered the car in the open air and returned it to its rightful owner.
Despite this misfortune, Siegel ordered Bernstein to cut another car. Bernstein said he would, and he even told Siegel how he usually acted. “Then you get license plates from another car, which, in your opinion, the owner only uses from time to time, like a Sunday driver,” said Bernstein. “By the time the guy finds out, you have done your job, and the police are looking for him – why his plates on a wrecked car.” Then you … "
Siegel cut short Bernstein in the middle of the sentence.
The veins swelled around his neck, Siegel said: “Who the hell are you coming and telling me how to do the work? Everything is going my way here. And don’t forget about it. ”
Despite the fact that Bernstein was on vacation in Hollywood, the mafia rules were the same when the mafia boss orders you to do something, you do it, or you're dead. But Bernstein believed that when he returned to New York and asked for work, the mafia bosses, because Bernstein was a capable freelancer, allowed him to deal with things in his own way. Now, as Siegel dictated the terms, Bernstein felt that he was not obliged to continue work. Thus, Bernstein jumped into his car and headed back to New York, which caused Siegel's displeasure and made him find someone else who would steal a car for the Greenberg caper. Smoking, Siegel now wanted Bernstein's death.
But more on that later.
By this time, monitoring the residence of Greenberg in 1804 on N. Vista De Mar Street showed that Greenberg was just a hermit. He never left home, with the exception of his overnight 15-minute trips to get a newspaper in nearby Bel Air. Greenberg told his wife that his little night tour “didn’t let him blow himself up.”
On the night of November 22, 1939, on the eve of Thanksgiving, the militants blew him a goldstein.
Immediately after dark, Tannenbaum took the stolen car from the parking lot. He then drove Siegel and Carbo to Siegel’s house to pick up Siegel’s Cadillac, which was to be used as an emergency vehicle in case the police or a curious passerby decided to pursue them after the deal was done. Then two cars with Carbo in Siegel's car drove up to a place located in several houses from Greenberg's residence. They watched as Greenberg left his house a few hours later, carefully looked in both directions (passing two parked cars down the block), got into his car and rushed off. Then Carbo got out of Siegel’s car, crawled down the block and hid in the bushes near Greenberg’s house.
Like clockwork, just over 30 minutes later, Greenberg turned around the corner of Jucca Street and headed towards 1804 on Vista de Mar. Greenberg's car drove past two parked cars, but Tannenbaum and Siegel slid into place so that they were not visible. After a second, Tannenbaum’s spit lit up the headlights, warning Carbo for a moment, who was waiting in the wings, ready to leave the scene right at the scene of the murder. When Greenberg tried to get out of his car, Carbo sped out of the shadows and drove five bullets into Greenberg's head.
Then Carbo ran to the stolen car and jumped next to Tannenbaum. Tannenbaum accelerated, and Siegel followed him from behind in his Cadillac. (The wrecked car was always a legal registered car, so the driver could claim that after the accident, either with a police car or a civilian civilian car, he just lost control of his car.). Two cars rushed to a predetermined place where they met with another accomplice waiting in the third car. The third guy turned out to be Champion Seagal, a little criminal who is always ready to help older boys with anything. Seagal immediately took Tannenbaum to San Francisco, where, on a mission, Tannenbaum jumped east by plane.
However, Siegel had a stone in his shoes, and this stone was called Sholom Bernstein.
The National Commission on Combating Crime had a system for resolving contentious issues. Bernstein could not be touched by Siegel if Siegel did not have permission from the Chief of Bernstein Territory in New York. New York bosses considered Bernstein one of their best people and refused to damage the hair on his head. But Siegel was adamant that Bernstein must die, so this forced Siegel to fly to New York to defend his opinion on the death penalty for Bernstein.
The National Criminal Commission is proud of its internal justice system. Each person who was targeted at was allowed to consider his case in a kangaroo court, usually someone from the organization. The man who attended Bernstein was none other than Abe Reles, who had not yet turned into a canary and was still very much alive. As was shown when he opposed his old friends, Reles was able to speak in words, and he could be very convincing when he received the urge, which, given his career, was quite common.
The meeting took place in a hotel room in the city center, while a group of nine people decided the fate of Bernstein, the appeal process of which is impossible. At first, Siegel defended his position, firmly declaring that Bernstein was at work and not only did not obey direct orders, but also disappeared from the scene before his work was completed. Siegel noted that the punishment for this was death. Period.
Now it was Reles & # 39; turn.
Reles began by saying that he did not call witnesses. He also admitted that his client, Bernstein, had indeed escaped from California before he could steal a much-needed second-killing machine. And then Reles went on to explain why his client was completely innocent of all the charges.
Reles told the group: “On the same day that Ben gave him the contract, Sholom received news from New York that his mom was going to make money. Sholem is a good boy. His mother is dying; he believes that he should go there. mom is. Ей легче идти, если ее мальчик сидит там у кровати, говоря хорошие вещи – как будто он любит ее, и ей становится лучше и тому подобное ".
«Так что Шолом даже не думает о контракте. Он ни о чем не думает. Он уезжает из Лос-Анджелеса и суетится домой, чтобы быть со своей матерью, когда она выезжает. Он ездит днем и ночью. хочет держать, он хороший мальчик ".
Релес & # 39; поднял подбородок в воздух и поднял голос на октаву. «И эти джентльмены, – сказал он, – вот почему Шолом покинул город. Не из-за уклонения от контракта. Но из-за того, что его мама начинает».
Когда Релес закончил, в комнате не было сухого глаза; даже не Зигель. Бернштейн был единогласно оправдан, а Бен Сигел вылетел обратно в Калифорнию только для того, чтобы его собственный договор об убийстве был одобрен Национальным преступным синдикатом и в итоге казнен 20 июня 1947 года.