Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas

Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas

Mobbed Up chronicles the rise and fall of organized crime in Las Vegas through the eyes of those who lived it: ex-mobsters, law enforcement officials, politicians and journalists. From back alleys to bank vaults, dimly lit basements to the neon glow of the Las Vegas Strip, the Review-Journal's Reed Redmond will guide listeners through the 20th-century criminal underworlds of Chicago, Kansas City and Las Vegas.

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May 5, 2020 1 min

'Mobbed Up' chronicles the rise and fall of organized crime in Las Vegas through the eyes of those who lived it: ex-mobsters, law enforcement officials, politicians and journalists. From back alleys to bank vaults, dimly lit basements to the neon glow of the Las Vegas Strip, the Review-Journal's Reed Redmond will guide listeners through the 20th-century criminal underworlds of Chicago, Kansas City and Las Vegas. This 11...

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“You never become a rat. That’s against our religion, let’s say.”  Thursday, October 11, 1979. Around 4:30 a.m., a woman returns to her home in Las Vegas to find her belongings tossed around, bullet holes marking the walls and a trail of blood leading to her backyard. Hours later, the front page of the evening edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal displays the headline, “Con Suspect Killed in ‘Bloody Murder.’” Forty years later,...

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May 26, 2020 30 min

"And I said, 'What's your name?' And he says, 'Tony Spilotro.'" 

As a kid, Frank Cullotta’s first job was stealing. His second job was shining shoes on Grand Avenue in Chicago. One day, another young shoeshine yelled at him from across the street, and the two kids stepped into the middle of the road to defend their turf, both ready for a fight. Instead, the encounter sparked a friendship that would span...

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June 2, 2020 42 min

"It supersedes family." 

Tony Spilotro always dreamed of becoming a ‘made’ man—a full-fledged member of the Chicago Outfit—according to his childhood friend Frank Cullotta. In the spring of 1962, as Cullotta recalls, an unauthorized triple murder on mob turf would give Tony an opportunity to make that dream a reality and cement his claim to fame. 

For more information on this episode, visit www.reviewjournal.com/mobbedup....

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June 9, 2020 43 min

“The mob had been, of course, heavily integrated in the casino industry here from day one.”

To understand the city of Las Vegas as it existed in the 1970s, we have to back up to Dec. 26, 1946: opening night at the Flamingo Hotel on what we know today as the Las Vegas Strip. The project, started by Hollywood Reporter founder Billy Wilkerson before being taken over by notorious mob figure Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, would set a new sta...

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June 16, 2020 49 min

"You don’t buy Mr. Spilotro drinks. He buys you drinks." In 1971, Tony Spilotro moves from Chicago to Las Vegas to look after the mob's interests, alongside a longtime oddsmaker named Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal. A few years later, a mob-connected holding company, the Argent Corporation, begins buying up casinos using loans from the Teamsters Union Central States Pension Fund.

For more information on this episode...

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June 23, 2020 32 min

"Now I’m getting this directly from, you know, Cleanface. You follow me?"

In 1977, future Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was appointed chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission. Before long, Reid would find himself battling bribery accusations, working with the FBI on a sting operation and going toe-to-toe with Chicago mob associate Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal at licensing hearings.

For more on this episode, visit www.revi...

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June 30, 2020 32 min

“This was the end of organized crime in Las Vegas.”

In 1978, mob-connected thief Frank Cullotta moves from Chicago to Las Vegas to work alongside his childhood friend, reputed Las Vegas mob enforcer Tony Spilotro. When he arrives, Frank says his first assignment was to put together a crew of guys⁠—a crew that would soon earn a reputation as one of the most prolific burglary outfits in the country.

For more on this episode, visit ...

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July 7, 2020 36 min

"Las Vegas was the last thing on our mind."

In the spring of 1978, the FBI’s Organized Crime Squad in Kansas City placed microphones in a restaurant, hoping to pick up information about local mob activity. Instead, they picked up on something far bigger: casino skimming operations in Las Vegas.

For more on this episode, visit www.reviewjournal.com/mobbedup. To learn about The Mob Museum, visit www.themobmuseum.org.

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July 14, 2020 42 min

"You never become a rat."

Following their arrests for attempted robbery of a home furnishings store in Las Vegas, Frank Cullotta and five other members of the "Hole in the Wall Gang" face steep prison sentences. Loyalty wears thin, and the FBI sees an opportunity.

For more on this episode, visit www.reviewjournal.com/mobbedup. To learn about The Mob Museum, visit www.themobmuseum.org.

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July 21, 2020 41 min

“He always said if you pull a gun on somebody, you finish it.” 

Tony Spilotro goes missing in June of 1986, last seen driving away from his brother's home in suburban Illinois. Over two decades later, a racketeering trial in Chicago reveals what happened after that.  For more on this episode, visit www.reviewjournal.com/mobbedup. To learn about The Mob Museum, visit www.themobmuseum.org.

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July 23, 2020 18 min

"They didn't care if you were a mobster or a corporate executive or a politician or a federal agent." 

When Frank Cullotta arrived in Las Vegas in 1978, one of his first stops was The Golden Steer Steakhouse, where he and Tony Spilotro sat down to discuss their plans for the future over dinner. The restaurant's current owner, Dr. Michael J. Signorelli, shares a few tales from the Steer's storied past.

To learn...

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July 28, 2020 36 min

"I'm probably the only guy standing right now." 

Decades after it was at the center of a federal racketeering case, the aging Stardust hotel-casino is imploded to make way for a new resort project. Meanwhile, Frank Cullotta has returned to living under his own name in Las Vegas. 

 

Join us for Mobbed Up LIVE on Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. Pacific on the Las Vegas Review-Journal Facebook page. Send your questions in advance to r...

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August 7, 2020 52 min

This week, Mobbed Up host Reed Redmond and Mob Museum VP of Exhibits of Programs Geoff Schumacher hosted 'Mobbed Up Live,' which aired on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website and Facebook page. The livestream included panel discussions with voices from the podcast, as well as a follow-up interview with Sen. Harry Reid about his time on the Nevada Gaming Commission. 

Full video of 'Mobbed Up Live' is available at ww...

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Season 2 of “Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas,” an eight-part, true-crime series, takes you to the late 1970s and early 1980s, an unforgettable era in the battle against organized crime in Las Vegas. Mafia families wielded hidden control over more than a third of the Strip's casinos, and federal and state agents were waking up to the enormous task of pushing them out. This series is produced by the Las Vegas Review-Journal in...

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June 27, 2021 32 min

The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously to close the Aladdin’s mob-controlled gaming floor in August 1979, but colorful federal judge Harry Claiborne ordered it reopened. It was a big blow to both state regulators and federal mob-fighting prosecutors. Everyone was mad. The state had taken away the gaming licenses of the Aladdin’s top executives following their federal convictions in Detroit and fought Claiborne to regain con...

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June 30, 2021 11 min

Mafia is an Audioboom Original that delves into the criminal underworld, exploring the lives and careers of America’s most infamous gangsters. This season will cover mafiosos from around the US; including LA’s Aladena ‘Jimmy the Weasel’ Fratianno (an acting mob boss turned informant), ‘Silver Dollar’ Sam Carollo (a Sicilian immigrant who established Cosa Nostra in New Orleans), and the leader of the New England Syndicate, Raymond P...

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Wayne Newton and Johnny Carson, two of the biggest stars in the entertainment world, both set their sights on buying the Aladdin after regulators stripped the resort’s owners of their gaming licenses. Newton, the “Midnight Idol,” was the number one headliner at several hotels. Carson co-owned a Las Vegas television station and performed stand-up comedy on weekends on the Strip. Once friendly, their feud started after Newton got the...
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