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Author Allan May got his start with Jerry Capeci, the dean of mob writers, at Capeci’s “Gangland News” website. He was the main organized crime writer for Court TV’s website CrimeLibrary.com in the early 2000s, and was one of the main contributors to both AmericanMafia.com. and CrimeMagazine.com. He has taught several courses on organized crime at Cuyahoga Community College and lectures at libraries throughout Northeast Ohio. He has appeared in documentaries and has been interviewed on both radio and television.
Allan May is an authority on the history of organized crime in the United States and has a personal library of over 800 books on the subject. Two of May’s works have been published – Mob Stories (2001) and Gangland Gotham (2009). He is currently under contract for a three-book series with Praeger Publishers.
May is also the historian at Lake View Cemetery and on the speaker's bureau. He wrote the "Who's Who of Lake View Cemetery" which includes biographies on over 250 noted personalities buried there. In the past he has written a monthly historical column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine. His website is http://www.allanrmay.com/
The Cleveland Police Department Never Gave Up!
From the moment of the senseless double-murder on New Year’s Eve Day 1920, the police never gave up the hunt for the six suspects involved in a payroll robbery-gone bad. Police officers and prosecutors tracked to and /or arrested the killers in Los Angeles, Mexico City, San Francisco and finally Sicily, taking some fifteen years to make sure justice was served.
The crime was carried out by members of Cleveland’s infamous Mayfield Road Mob. The plot to rob the local businessmen was hatched after one gang member, convicted of auto theft, was desperate for cash to file an appeal. Short on manpower, the gang’s leader was forced to involve himself and an immature teenager in the daring hold-up. The young man’s inexperience led to the double slaying and the manhunt was on.
In the end, of the six participants, three would pay with their lives in the electric chair, one would be sent to prison for life, another received 30 years at hard labor, and the last one, the younger brother of Cleveland’s first Mafia boss, would go free.
This story also gives a chilling look at one of the most violent periods the city of Cleveland has ever faced. When a new prosecutor took office on January 1, 1921, he was faced with handling three sensational murder trials in addition to the one which took place only the day before. This lawless period resulted in the Cleveland Crime Survey of 1921, the country’s first in depth study of the justice system in a major United States city.
“Crimetown, U.S.A.” is a narrative of organized crime in Youngstown, Ohio and the surrounding Mahoning Valley during the years 1933 to 1963. It begins with the Valley's participation in the Midwest Crime Wave of 1933-34, describing the demise of the legendary bank robber “Pretty Boy” Floyd. This is followed by the demise of one of the Valley’s own in the brutal slaying of “Happy” Marino, which also happens to be one of the Valley’s few gangland murders in which all the participants were tried, convicted and sent to prison.
The mid-to-late 1930s is chronicled showing the dominance of the ethnic-based lottery houses, which operated in Youngstown. These operations came to end after a run-away grand jury created enough interest to draw the governor’s attention. The late 1940s saw the height of popularity of the infamous Jungle Inn gambling den, located just over the Mahoning County line in Trumbull County. The history of this establishment is chronicled in “Welcome to the Jungle Inn,” also by Allan R. May, and is a companion book to “Crimetown U.S.A.” describing the history of organized crime in Warren and Trumbull County, Ohio.
By the end of the 1940s the citizens of Youngstown put a new mayor in City Hall. Charles Henderson ran on the platform of “Smash Racket Rule” in the city. The man he brought in to do the “smashing” was Edward J. Allen. The feisty and fearless police chief began by chasing out two-thirds of the Valley’s “Big 3,” including Mafia member Joe DiCarlo, who muscled into the race wire service and controlled the local bookmaking.
This period was followed by what was known as the "bug" craze, which was the Valley's nickname for the numbers game or policy, as it was also known. The battle for dominance resulted in a bombing war throughout the 1950s for supremacy in this field by the city's top policy racketeers, Sandy Naples and Vince DeNiro. By the end of the 1950s, Youngstown had become known as “Bomb Town.”
In the early 1960s, the bombs that were used to scare the competition were now being used to eliminate it. A wave of vicious killings took place, some taking the lives of innocent people. No murder was more notorious than the November 1962 car-bombing that took the lives of “Cadillac Charlie” Cavallaro and his 11-year old son. The senseless killing shocked the country and brought national attention to Youngstown. It also brought the city an everlasting and despised nickname, “Crimetown, U.S.A.”
A history of organized crime in the city of Warren and Trumbull County, Ohio; featuring stories about the infamous Jungle Inn gambling den, local ganglord Jimmy Munsene, the notorious Farah brothers, Detroit mobster-transplant Frank Cammarata, one-time Cleveland Mafia underboss Anthony "Tony Dope" Delsanter, and others.
"The whole story has not yet been told. The raid and the events of the past few days are proof that a community can allow places like Jungle Inn to exist only at its peril. The fact the crowds who went there to gamble were in constant danger of being burned to death is not the worst of the indictments that can be brought against it. Worse still was the nest of corruption that it fostered - the influence it wielded over public officials and over the political life of Trumbull and Mahoning counties. If money could not tempt men in public life - men with power over the lives of these communities - it had its gunmen always ready to persuade them"
From an editorial in the Youngstown Vindicator, August 16, 1949
Click on above book for link to purchase any of Allan R. May's fine books.
Organized crime and the mob figures who run it have long captured the imagination of the American public, appearing since the early twentieth century as characters in a host of popular books, movies, and television programs. But often what the public knew of such figures and their criminal careers was as much myth as fact. This book offers highly readable, carefully researched biographies that dispel the the myths but preserve the fascination surrounding 10 infamous New York mob leaders of the twentieth century. Each in-depth biography will help interested readers understand how and why each of these men achieved special notariety within the world of organized crime.
Each biography describes the early years of each man, assessing how he came to a criminal career; his rise to prominence within the mob, providing reaction from those who knew him and witnessed his actions; and the last years of his career, assessing why it ended as it did. Each biography is illustrated with a picture of its subject and concludes with a listing of additional information resources, both print and electronic. A detailed subject index provides further access to the large amount of information contained in each biography. A timeline allows readers to quickly and easily track the birth, death, and important events in the life of each mobster.
Allan May has been interested in organized crime since he saw his first episode of the old "Untouchables" television series. An admirer of Eliot Ness for years, in 1997, May initiated the movement which resulted in the spreading of Ness's ashes, along with his third wife's and adopted son's, at a memorial service in Cleveland's historic Lake View Cemetery. Allan R. May can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eliot Ness and family memorial in Cleveland.
(Photo courtesy of Ellen Poulsen)
Close up view of monument.
(Photo courtesy of Ellen Poulsen)