I Love this town and we moved here from Chicago..

Our Mayor Oscar Goodman was a mob lawyer and is the self proclaimed "Happiest Mayor in the world" he has an endorsement contract with Bombay Gin which he drinks in martinis on a daily basis and is always touting along a couple of showgirls.

"During his career as a defense attorney he represented defendants accused of being some of the leading organized crime figures in Las Vegas, such as Meyer Lansky, Nicky Scarfo, Herbert "Fat Herbie" Blitzstein, Phil Leonetti, former Stardust Casino boss Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal, and Jamiel "Jimmy" Chagra a 1970s drug trafficker who was acquitted of ordering the murder of Federal Judge John Wood. His most notorious clients was reputed Chicago mobster Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro, who was known to have a short and violent temper. Goodman also represented former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock, who was convicted of accepting illegal campaign contributions and eventually forced to resign. In 2003, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith wrote a book titled Of Rats and Men: Oscar Goodman's Life from Mob Mouthpiece to Mayor of Las Vegas, which chronicles Goodman's life, including 35 years spent defending notorious U.S. crime figures, including, among others, Meyer Lansky, Anthony "Tony The Ant" Spilotro and Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal"

4th grade gin

On March 3, 2005, Goodman was speaking before a group of fourth-graders at Jo Mackey Elementary School. When asked what he would bring if marooned on a desert island, the mayor replied "a showgirl and a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin." Further, when asked about his hobbies, the mayor named drinking Bombay Sapphire Gin as a favorite. Later, when asked to comment, Goodman was unapologetic: "I'm the George Washington of mayors. I can't tell a lie. If they didn't want the answer, the kid shouldn't have asked the question." This caused an uproar from parents whose children heard the remark, and school officials said the remark was inappropriate

Thumb amputation and caning

On November 3, 2005, Mayor Goodman suggested that those who deface freeways with graffiti should have their thumbs cut off on television. Goodman, appearing on the "Nevada Newsmakers" television show, said, "In the old days in France, they had beheading of people who commit heinous crimes", "You know, we have a beautiful highway landscaping redevelopment in our downtown. We have desert tortoises and beautiful paintings of flora and fauna. These punks come along and deface it", I'm saying maybe you put them on TV and cut off a thumb", and "That may be the right thing to do."

Goodman also suggested that whippings or canings should be brought back for children who get into trouble.

"I also believe in a little bit of corporal punishment going back to the days of yore, where examples have to be shown," Goodman said. "I'm dead serious. Some of these (children) don't learn. You have got to teach them a lesson, and this is coming from a criminal defense lawyer." But, he added, "they would get a trial first."

Aug. 05, 2009
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

Nostalgic, not noble: Mob Museum not meant to glorify organized crime, officials say

Mob Museum not meant to glorify organized crime, officials say


Tuesday's Mob Museum announcement could make your head spin from the contradictions.

There were elected officials and a former U.S. senator dressed as mobsters in suits and fedoras giving their blessing to a project they hope will energize downtown Las Vegas and give tourists a new reason to visit.

For props they had a crowbar and a baseball bat, implements for which the mob famously found creative uses. And with great excitement, one of the exhibits was announced: a wall where seven people were mercilessly gunned down.

Which just shows the tricky nature of the task of the Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement: showcasing the role of mobsters in local history while trying not to glorify the organized crime.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and former U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan used a baseball bat and a crowbar -- both real -- to pretend to break through a fake brick wall Tuesday morning, signifying the start of museum renovations.

Goodman, a lawyer who in decades past represented figures who probably will be featured in exhibits, also announced the museum will be home to a very real, and really gruesome, brick wall section: a wall used as a backstop for the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago.

Interior renovations to the historic federal courthouse downtown, the museum's home-to-be, started this week, and the museum is expected to open in early 2011.

The museum aims to show the mob's role in Las Vegas' history as well as law enforcement's ultimately successful push against the gangsters.

"There's a history of the mob's involvement here, and this will record the history," said Bryan, a museum board member and former Nevada governor and U.S. senator. "It certainly was a part of the growth of the city. You can't deny that.

"It's important, I think, to emphasize that this is not to glorify the mob. They weren't fun guys at all."

Take the aforementioned St. Valentine's Day Massacre. On Feb. 14, 1929, four men dressed as police officers entered a warehouse used by members of a gang run by George "Bugs" Moran. They lined up six gang members and one hanger-on against a wall, produced machine guns and blazed away, according to the Chicago Historical Society.

The killings became a symbol for organized crime and gang violence and were attributed to rival Chicago gangster Al Capone. No one was ever tried for the slayings.

Mob money helped fuel development on the Strip from the 1940s to the 1970s, an era that defined Las Vegas to the world, said Goodman -- who, as a practicing attorney, represented organized crime figures after moving here in 1964.

"When I got here, the casinos were owned by individuals. At least, that's what they purported to be," he said. "It was discovered they were representing interests primarily from the Midwest with hidden ownership of the casinos."

Still, Goodman voiced some nostalgia for an era he recalls as being full of iconic entertainers, comped drinks and meals, and service with a smile.

"They knew your name. They treated you like a king. I hope that Las Vegas returns to that someday," he said. "I think that we've lost that as we've become more corporate. The mob was the one that set the bar."

But Goodman says he's not romanticizing the mob: "The bottom line is -- and nobody knows it better than I do -- law enforcement won. The mob is not here, and that's one of the reasons I became the mayor. I didn't have any clients left."

The museum carries an estimated $50 million price tag, broken down into $7 million in state and federal grants, $8 million in city funds and $35 million in redevelopment agency bonds.

A nonprofit group called 300 Stewart Avenue Corp. is working on the exhibit portion and will operate the museum. Some possible exhibits that have been mentioned are courtroom drawings from mob trials, memorabilia Goodman has in storage, and FBI evidence, such as old weapons, that the agency has retained.

The St. Valentine's Massacre warehouse was demolished in 1967. Canadian businessman George Patey purchased the wall and used it as an attraction in various venues, including a restaurant he ran. The bricks were later put into storage, and various reports have some of them being put up for sale.

Patey died in 2004 and it fell to his heirs to find a home for the bricks, whose cost to the city was not available.

In the early days exiting the Federal Court building with his friend Anthony "Tony The Ant" Spilotro and his brother Michael who he was quoted as saying are friends of mine and welcome to come to my house for dinner any time.