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In reality, the bug was planted at a dinner table with bench seats in a now-demolished Kansas City pizzeria, the Villa Capri. In time, authorities discovered that tens of thousands of dollars in untaxed gambling revenue — the skim — unlawfully made its way monthly from Las Vegas casinos to the Civellas and other Mafia organizations in the Midwest. As a result, Mob operatives from Kansas City, Chicago and elsewhere were imprisoned in later court convictions.
At the November 24 screening, retired FBI agent William Ouseley ed the filmmakers in a question-and-answer session before a capacity crowd. As was clear at the event, the Villa Capri is not the only place in Kansas City of importance to Mob historians.
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Among other things, this corrupt machine also elevated a failed Kansas City haberdasher named Harry Truman to statewide office, paving his way in the mids to the U. Pendergast machine leaders and mobsters benefited from the cash flow generated by unchecked vice. This double homicide created a major stir, according to author Anthony M.
Another key Mafia site from that year is a residence known as the Marlo house. Located north of downtown across the Missouri River in a quiet neighborhood with weathered wooden privacy fences, the single-story residence once belonged to Josephine Marlo, a Civella relative.
He even boasted about some of his skimming exploits. What none of them knew is that authorities had bugged the home and were recording the profanity-laced explanations that Thomas gave to the Civella crime lords in attendance. Among them was Nick Civella, head of the organization, who lived nearby in a large corner house with a sloping lawn. The meeting was held at the Marlo house because Civella thought his residence would attract too much law enforcement attention.
On the audio, Thomas is heard talking about how much money is easily removed from casinos and how important it is to have a person under your control working on the inside. You got to have your guy reading the scales. I bought one of them myself: The scale cost me fifteen thousand, but my guy re it.
Thomas, who later regretted talking so much that day, was convicted of skimming but became a government witness in another trial and was released early from prison, ultimately dying in at age 60 in a single-vehicle rollover in Oregon. A decade earlier, Agosto died of a heart attack at age All the Civella leadership at the Marlo house that day also have died.
Jenkins, an attorney and former detective in the Kansas City Police Department intelligence unit, now operates the Gangland Wire website, which includes actual surveillance audio from those days. Those interested in Mafia history are a lot more familiar with the city.
For the most part, the Mob also has been eliminated from Kansas City. Larry Henry is a veteran print and broadcast journalist.
The Mob in Pop Culture blog appears monthly. Authors Terence M. Courtesy of Larry Henry.