"Those at the top of the organizational hierarchy liked him because he had an ability to successfully interface with people beyond the circle of the mob without scaring the pants off them. On the outside he was suave, good looking, impeccably dressed and gentlemanly. On the inside Roselli was like a rattlesnake in a box. You should always think twice before sticking your hand in it."
Johnny Roselli, also sometimes John Roselli and/or Rosselli, was a high ranking member of organized crime, also refered to as the mob, the Mafia, the syndicate, the outfit, and any number of other names and titles. Call it what you will, Roselli was an integral part of it all most of his life, from a young teenage boy in the 1920s to his ultimate demise under their aegis in 1976. Even though he was never a don in the classical sense, he carried a huge amount of sway, influence and stature ahead of himself in the mob, most certainly well beyond his made-man status. His position was totally different and unusual in the organization, a role that did not exist before him and that has not been duplicated since.
Roselli was born Filippo Sacco in Italy in 1905 and immigrated to the U.S. with his mother in 1911, settling in East Boston. He dropped out of school taking a job driving a milk wagon basically to cover the delivery of morphine to a variety of customers. On September 14, 1922, at age 17, Roselli had his first recorded run-in with the law. He was being trailed in a sting operation by Federal narcotic agents during one of his deliveries to a drug addict who was also a government informant. Roselli was arrested and released after six months in jail. Shortly thereafter the informant was found murdered and Roselli became the number one suspect.
Harassed and suspected of murder Roselli fled to New York taking up with the New York gangs. Soon he was farmed out to Johnny Torrio who had moved to Chicago in 1918 taking his eventual underboss Al Capone, who was facing a potential murder charge in New York, with him, becoming a member of the Chicago mob. In Chicago one of the 18 year old Roselli's early jobs, as a predecessor to Joe Accardo, was being the driver for the 24 year old Al Capone before Al Capone became Al Capone. When Roselli was diagnosed with early stages of tuberculosis, doctors recommended a warmer climate. Having established himself as a staunch foot soldier and loyalist to the creed and not wanting to waste Roselli's talents as a fearless follow through enforcer Torrio sent him to Los Angeles in 1924. There he was supposed to fall under the auspices of Joseph Ardizzone and Jack Dragna. Instead he turned to bootlegging working for Tony Cornero without planting his feet under anyone specific. Cornero was indicted by federal authorities on Dec. 22, 1926 for his bootlegging activities. He escaped from the authorities and was on the lam for two years before turning himself in, after which he served two years. With Cornero out of the picture Roselli began focusing his efforts exclusively toward Dragna.
During that period Dragna had continually strengthened his position and eventually took over as the sole Los Angeles don after Ardizzone disappeared October 15, 1931. Dragna had his own longtime core of people around him that he knew, trusted, and was familiar with. In a sense Roselli was an outsider, albeit with strong ties to the Chicago outfit. One area Dragna was weak in was the entertainment industry, that is, Hollywood and the film industry. Keeping Roselli at arms length yet still providing a much needed service he put Roselli in charge of dealing with Hollywood --- which inturn he did amazingly well.
By May of 1932 Al Capone was pretty much out of the picture, not only in Chicago but across the board, having been convicted by the Feds on income tax evasion and sent to the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia (transferred to Alcatraz on August 11, 1934). Most people would say that with Capone gone Roselli's link to the top was severed. However, he had long made a favorable name for himself up and down the oganization because of the way he always conducted himself. Those at the top of the organizational hierarchy liked him because he had an ability to successfully interface with people beyond the circle of the mob without scaring the pants off them. On the outside he was suave, good looking, impeccably dressed and gentlemanly, modeling himself after the mobster Paul Ricca. On the inside Roselli was like a rattlesnake in a box. You should always think twice before sticking your hand in it.
Roselli's modus operandi was quite simple. He collected the money from his "endeavors" himself, then he divided and distributed it himself --- rather than have it go to the Dragna organization for example, for them to divide and distribute. In Dragna's case he was happy because before Roselli and his enterprising Hollywood methods he was not getting any money from that area. Chicago was happy because Roselli was making sure they were receiving their full cut without worry that it was getting skimmed before the cut was made. Roselli's mob related talents and strengths did not just happen overnight, they were cultivated for years. Although the link to the orginal source of the quote below is now lost in cyber-space, it has been attributed to the pretty much anonymous author of DIELAND: Mob: The Los Angeles Satellite. So said, rather than attempt a rewrite or restate it in my own words, I'll present it as it is:
"By the close of the 20's Johnny Roselli was a man of unlimited power and respect. As Roselli's stature grew in both L.A. rackets and social circles, Johnny began to cultivate himself into a gentleman in the mode of his mentor Paul Ricca. Johnny began dressing in hand tailored suits and sported expensive jewlery and dropped the guteral dialect of the streets of Boston, New York and Chicago, where he had grown up and made his reputation. These ways would open the doors of high society to Roselli for the rest of his life. Mixing his gift of charm with the knowledge of when to throw in a well placed act of violence would forever provide a special place in the outfit leadership."
Quietly standing off to the side in the shadows, yet contributing heavily to Roselli's continuing cultivation moving into and throughout the 1930s, was his old boss Tony Cornero. Within weeks of the Nevada legislature's March 1931 law legalizing statewide casino gambling, Cornero and his brothers opened up the Meadows Club, one of the first casinos in Las Vegas. The Meadows, with it's wildly fancy interior and live entertainment was considered the finest casino in Las Vegas and the forerunner to all the casinos that came after it in the 1940s. Roselli had no stake in any of the operations, but Cornero gave him free run of the place. Same with the fleet of gambling ships Cornero had moored beyond the three mile limit off the Southern California coast in the late 1930s --- including Cornero's flagship the Rex stationed off Redondo Beach. The Rex was a high class well-appointed vessel costing upwards of $200,000 to outfit. Cornero designed it to appeal to middle and upper class customers rather than just underworld types. All of it worked perfectly into Roselli's image by providing pull on one end and gaining access on the other with high-rollers, big spenders, movie stars and flush fringe elements such as mobsters and their families.
To show how smooth and easily Roselli was able to work both sides of the fence, right on the heels of a quickie marriage to newspaper heiress Marajen Stevick followed by a just as quick annulment, on April 1, 1939, the 33 year old Roselli married an exceptionally beautiful up-and-coming 22 year old actress with over 20 movies under her belt named June Lang. Reports are that Lang was madly in love with Roselli BUT, like many on the periphery or slightly out of the loop, had no idea he was a mobster. Lang divorced him in March 1943 after she apparently had somekind of leakage of an epiphany and became aware of the truth --- that and rumors of a potential and flowering interest by Roselli toward another actress by the name of Helen Greco.
On December 4, 1942, just three days short of one full year following the attack on Pearl Harbor --- and while still married to Lang --- at age 37, for reasons not clear, Roselli either joined or was inducted into the U.S. Army. He only served until he was arrested on federal charges March 18, 1943.
Roselli, along with Chicago mobsters Charles Gioe, Frank Nitti, Paul Ricca, Louis Campagna, Phil D'Andrea, Frank Maritote, and Ralph Pierce, in addition to New Jersey hood Louis Kaufman were indicted on federal labor racketeering charges. Nitti committed suicide the day after the indictments were announced and during the trial the charges were dropped against Pierce. The trial began on October 5, 1943 and on December 22, 1943 they were found guilty of conspiracy to extort more than $l million from the motion picture industry. After spending Christmas with their families the seven men were sentenced on New Year's Eve. The five Chicago mobsters and Johnny Roselli received prison terms of 10 years each and a $10,000 fine. Kaufman drew a seven-year sentence and a $10,000 fine. After serving roughly three and a half years all of them were paroled.
As quick as he was released Roselli landed on his feet, securing a legitimate cover in Hollywood working as an associate producer for his friend Bryan Foy and his Bryan Foy Productions, distributing through Eagle Lion such film noirs as Canon City and T-Men. As entertainment and enterainers slipped back and forth between Hollywood and Las Vegas he became deeper ingrained in the mob's ties and interests in Nevada's gambling capital, overseeing and ensuring that a huge number of different people in a huge number of different casinos, all with different allegiances and interests, were not edging out of their full share of what should be going to the Outfit.
Roselli soon veered himself into operating a talent booking agency called Monte Prosser Productions whose base of operations was in the Desert Inn. Monte Prosser Productions quickly became the ONLY agency used by ALL of the casinos. His agency even had the contract to represent the company that put in and maintained all the ice machines in ALL the hotels in Vegas. People often laugh or make fun of Roselli because of his ice machine connection, thinking it was small time rinky-dink stuff. However, he did it on purpose. Besides being lucrative it gave so-called work crews and maintenance men under his direct control free and unfettered access to almost every floor in every hotel, basically coming and going as they pleased without being noticed, in turn giving Roselli eyes and ears all over Vegas unlike anybody else. For sure, housekeeping workers on the floors knew who they were and more than likely mutually beneficial cooperation came into play between the two on more than one occasion. Although it was well known Roselli could be brutal, albeit usually at a distance, he was also known to be generous. Anything that worked out in his favor was always remembered, things that didn't were never forgotten. If a string of expensive pearls or a gold Rolex fell into his hands every member of the chain, even at the lowest level, received their due in some fashion.
Around that time actor/singer Frank Sinatra sponsored Roselli into the Los Angeles Friar's Club. No sooner had he become a member than with his astute knowledge of such things he quickly figured out there was some sort of a card cheating scam in play. When he learned Maury Friedman, who owned the land the Silver Slipper was built on and helped finance the Frontier Casino --- and that Roselli knew had helped siphon off millions of the casino's profits for the the Detroit mob --- was in the mix he knew for certain there was something going on. Roselli demanded and got, because nobody was willing to go against him, twenty percent of the take. When the whole thing began falling apart for a number of assorted reasons, a man by the name of George Emerson Seach, who assisted the main players in the scam, ratted them out after being granted immunity as a government witness.
The Grand Jury returned an indictment December 21, 1967. The trial started June 11, 1968 and lasted six months. Roselli received a $55,000 dollar fine and five years in prison on pretty much unproven, although most likely true, trumped up charges. He was released in September 1973 and retired to Florida.
In June and and then again in September, 1975 Roselli was called to testify before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the so-called Church Committee. His appearance before the committee circulated around testimony regarding his knowledge of the CIA, the Mafia, and specifically his involvement in a number of attempts to kill Fidel Castro during the 1960s. He was called back again in April, 1976 to testify on what, if anything, he knew about a conspiracy surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Three months later the committee wanted him to testify again, but found he had been missing since July 28, 1976.
On July 16 Roselli, along with his sister and her husband, went to dinner with known bigtime Mafia don Santo Trafficante. On July 27 a mob-connected lawyer called Roselli from Los Angeles and told him to get out of Miami immediately. The next day, July 28th, Roselli disappeared on the way to play golf. On August 9, 1976 Roselli's body was found stuffed into in a 55-gallon drum floating in Dumfounding Bay near Miami, Florida. He had been strangled, shot, and his legs sawn off. The barrel was punched full of holes and wrapped in chains.
When Roselli started up through the ranks he was young. Age 13. When he went before the Church Committee he was in his 70s, his mentors and those he swore alligence to throughout the years were either old or dead. The younger ones that were coming up behind him he neither helped nor knew him. Roselli's objective was to set the record straight. In the eyes of the mob however, that is, in the overall scheme of things as it related back to the code, regardless of all of his years of being a loyal member in the past, his testimony before congress was seen as voilating "Omerata," the code of silence, a Cardinal sin punishable by death. If Roselli actually violated Omerata or was simply a victim of a personal vendetta for having stepped on someone's toes is up for argument.(see)
WORLD WAR II COMES TO REDONDO
ON THE RAZOR'S
SOME RESEARCH PROVIDED THROUGH, AMONG OTHER SOURCES
ALL AMERICAN MAFIOSO: THE JOHNNY ROSSELLI STORY
by Charles Rappleye and Ed Becker
As to the subject of donations, for those who may be so interested as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
Over and over it has been brought up if and when Roselli showed up in California. It has been reported that as early as January 1924 Roselli was arrested in Burbank, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, after he purchased forty cases of beer. He pleaded guilty before a federal judge stating he wanted to bear full responsibility for his actions and paid the $500 dollar fine. The case was lodged under the name of James Roselli.
In August 1925 Roselli was arrested in the town of Roscoe (renamed Sun Valley in 1948, adjacent to Burbank) by officers of the Burbank Police Department and charged with operating a 1,000 gallon storage facility for beer and distilled spirits. The case was lodged under the name of name Sam Roselli.
Paul Ricca came up through the organization almost from the beginning. When Al Capone was arrested and sent to prison it looked to all the world that Frank Nitti had taken over the Chicago organization. Actually it was Ricca who pulled the strings. Ricca felt that what brought Capone down was the spotlight he put on himself through his high-profile flamboyant lifestyle and that the spotlight put to much illumination on their day-to-day activities. Ricca was much more subdued staying almost exclusively out of the limelight. When he did appear in public he was impeccable. Roselli having known Capone from the beginning decided the Ricca model was the way for him. In Like Cashmere On A Leper (Part One) by John William Tuohy, Tuohy writes the following about Ricca:
"In the working class dominated underworld, where ignorance is a virtue, Ricca was not only relatively well read, he practiced old world manners. He never spoke a vulgar word. He bowed slightly to women and they adored him. He was refined in the peasant Italian view of what refinement was. He never told an off color story."(source)
As to the quote cited in the main text about Roselli, I have received a number of responses informing me the original source can no longer be accessed. At onetime it was found as part of a whole series of interelated mob pages all done by the same author, I mean page after page, outlining the background and lineage of every single one of the various mob families and individuals --- all on the web under the old, free, FortuneCity webpage providers, of which the Roselli page was one. However, now all of those pages are defunct, lost in cyber-space, although the original FortuneCity page titles and URLs live on in Google search even though the pages cannot be called up. The author, whose name I will not mention, who has moved on, requested me to remove his name from my works so a search of him will not lead back to him or connect him with the now defunct pages.
For those who may be so interested I have captured the original page the quote I used was found on and have reproduced a facsimile of that portion of the page related to Roselli. That facsimile can be found by going to:
DIELAND: Mob: The Los Angeles Satellite
Some people have said that the $200,000 dollar figure was low and that it was more like $600,000 dollars that Cornero put into the Rex. Others have said just the opposite, that the Rex was a tub and unseaworthy, a death trap waiting to happen. Thing is, is when the Rex was no longer being used as a gambling ship by Cornero it was reconverted back to its original configuration in 1942 and renamed Star of Scotland. According to records obtained by U-boat.net, the former Rex, renamed as the Star of Scotland, was attacked November 13, 1942, by the German Submarine U-159 about 900 miles west of Lüderitz Bay, Southwest Africa and sunk. Quite a little journey for an unseaworthy tub.(source)
Gordon Hunter in JUNE LANG: Meet the Girl, with interview notes from the files of Colin Briggs, writes:
"Mafia historians claim Roselli was the Chicago mob’s man in Las Vegas. Roselli also was a friend of producer Bryan Foy, and aspired to be a film producer himself. 'The experts' on Hollywood stars in the past have often declared that the reason for the termination of June’s contract with Fox was because of her marriage to Roselli. Actually, her contract was 'torn up' the year before the marriage took place, when she quit England and the set of So This Is London. June applauded Colin Briggs when he wrote the truth on this matter back in 1992. She wrote, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you, my dear Colin, for setting the record straight at last.'"(source)
Around the same time Lang married Roselli she was working on a movie called Convicted Woman with Rochelle Hudson. The two of them struck up conversation in a friendly manner because both had worked on Shirley Temple movies, inspiring a sort of special esprit de corps between them. Like Lang's career would soon be, albeit for totally different reasons, Hudson's film career would be interrupted as well in the years just prior to the war and into it's early years when she worked as a spy for the Naval Intelligence Service. She along with her husband, a Naval officer posing as a civilian, who like Lang, she had just married, participated in espionage work primarily in Mexico, but also Central and South America. Together they posed as a vacationing couple to detect if there was any German activity in these areas. Hudson's career, like Lang's would never get back on track following the war.
For more regarding Roselli and his "quickie marriage to Marajen Stevick followed by a just as quick annulment" go to the account of same on the website of Maureen Hughes. For more on Helen Greco, aka Helen Grayco, who married bandleader-entertainer Spike Jones in July 1948, and her relationship with Roselli see page 35 of Hughes' book Countess and the Mob.
JOHNNY ROSELLI IN UNIFORM CIRCA 1943
Despite Roselli's age, sketchy background, and illnesses, he still was able to make it into the army and through basic training well enough to be assigned to further training, participating in some fashion in advanced training with a tank battalion --- said to be one of the tank battalions that was a member of an armored division that hit the beaches during the Normandy invasion. Of course, well before that was to happen he was indicted on federal charges, spending the invasion in prison. Author Thomas Reppetto in AMERICAN MAFIA: A History of Its Rise to Power, (2004) writes:
"(T)hirty-seven-year-old Johnny Roselli had joined the army despite severe arthritis and chronic TB. He was brought back from his training with a tank battalion to be arraigned. If Johnny hoped for sympathy from the jury because he was a serviceman, he was disappointed --- the U.S. attorney's office obtained a court order stripping him of his uniform."
No sooner had Roselli been paroled than I, as a very young boy, met him, the first of three meetings that I am willing to admit to. The initial two meetings were under the auspices of my Stepmother who knew him, and a third time on my own when I went by to thank him for helping her.
I wasn't even ten years old when my stepmother took me to visit Roselli while he was in a hospital in Santa Barbara. She said he was a longtime friend and was recuperating after having been in the army and wanted to pay her respect. While it is true Roselli had been in the army, he only served until he was arrested on federal charges, found guilty and sentenced to ten years in federal prison. After serving roughly three and a half years he was paroled. Roselli had tuberculosis and the time in prison only aggravated the condition. As soon as he was released he immediately put himself under hospital care. When my stepmother and I saw him in the hospital he may have been recuperating alright, but not from the army, but prison.
The second meeting occurred when I had just turned 21 and decided to go to Las Vegas for the first time on my own. On the way I stopped by my stepmother's, who had since fallen on hard times, to see how she was doing and slip her a few bucks. When she learned I was going to Vegas she asked if I remembered our trip to Santa Barbara and the man in the hospital. When I told her yes she scribbled a few things on a piece of paper, put it in an envelope and told me to look him up and give him the note. Which I did.
When I went to see Roselli in Vegas, our second meeting, to deliver the note for my stepmother it just happened to be when he was at the absolute top of his game. At the time I had no clue who he was, his stature, or his power. After he read the note he asked where I was staying. When I told him he picked up a phone on the table, dialed a number, told them he was Johnny Roselli, talked a few more minutes, then hung up. He told me he had "comped" my room for me, moved me up to a suite, and that during my stay, except for gambling, everything was on the house. He said if there was any problem tell them to call him. Then he told me to make sure I looked him up before I left as he wanted to return something to my mother. Just as I was getting up he made one last comment asking "Ride any trains lately?" I just pointed at him and we both laughed.(see)
When I went back to the Desert Inn I didn't see Roselli but there was a large manilla envelope waiting for me with one of my stepmother's old aliases written on it. On the way home I stopped by her place and gave her the envelope. When she opened it inside was $5000 in cash.(see)
My third meeting with Roselli was in 1961, during one of the busiest, and by mid-year, the start of the most surveilled time of his life. Although I set the meeting into motion myself, for me, the fact that it transpired at all was through pure luck, anti-luck, fate, or just plain happenstance, having just undercut the start of the government's 24 hour around the clock surveillance. As I look back on the history of events that went on in his life during that period of time I cannot believe how incredibly naïve I was. The Bay of Pigs, assassination attempts on Fidel Castro, interactions with the Kennedy brothers JFK and Robert, Marilyn Monroe, Sam Giancana, the list goes on and on. Here I was, a dumbass twenty-something, blatantly walking into the casino I saw him last, not knowing anything about anything, and asking to see Roselli. I was practically thrown out of the place until I called him by his mob name and asked some growler to give him a note.
During the year 1961, although I didn't know it, Roselli barely had time to set foot in Las Vegas, operating out of Los Angeles and traveling back and forth to Miami, Frank Sinatra's Cal-Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe and a variety of other places taking care of business. Like I say above, I was incredibly naïve. I just happened to be in Las Vegas traveling with master sports car mechanic Joe Landaker for the SCCA road races at McCarran Field and thought while I was there I would thank Roselli for helping out my stepmother. The note I handed the growler was just that, a thank you note pure and simple with no intention to meet with Roselli or for it to lead to anything else bigger. It just so happened, for whatever reason, with all his travels and such, during the same time I was there he was in Vegas too --- and got the note.
The Fremont Hotel downtown was one of the major sponsors of the road races that weekend and because of that Landaker and I were staying in one of several comped rooms (i.e., free) set aside for people associated with the races. My note to Roselli was a last minute idea and without really thinking about it I used Fremont Hotel stationary to write the note on. From that he was apparently able to track me down and make contact because that evening Landaker and I were sitting in one of those infamous all you can eat, cheap (in those days) buffets having dinner when a man stepped up and told me Roselli wanted to see me. Landaker's jaw fell open. He had worked for Tony Parravano and, although I am not intimating any sort of a connection, he was familiar enough to know who Roselli was, but had no clue I knew him or why Roselli wanted to see me. Roselli and I met in a room behind the gift shop at the New Frontier Hotel. We spoke for a few minutes, I told him how much what he had done had helped out my stepmother and he thanked me for delivering a message to Brenda Allen a year before. That was it.
AND NOW THIS:
At the top of this footnote I open by me saying I met Roselli three times that I was willing to admit to. Over time a number of people have come forward interested in anything else I might be willing to share. For those who may have an interest, since this page first went on online I have put together aspects of a fourth meeting, actually a string of interrelated meetings that add up to one meeting, between Roselli and myself.(see)
As for Landaker, I had known him since I was a teenager. In 1958 I even traveled cross country with him in a truck full of Ferraris and Maseratis to Miami then on to Nassau for the Bahamas Speed Week. For whatever reason, a couple of years later we bumped into each other and he asked me to go to Vegas with him for the races, and for no other reason than doing it, I did. For more on Landaker, et al, see:
OF COBRAS, SCARABS, MASERATIS, AND ZEN
THE WANDERLING AND HIS UNCLE
Their Life and Times Together
In 1967, a full twenty years AFTER Roselli had been released from prison for the motion picture industry extortion incident the Feds were still trying to catch him on anything. He was followed everywhere, a string of snitches began showing up amongst casino, restauarant, and hotel employees. In a long line of hearsay, mobster and known hitman Frank Bompensiero, who had become an informant for the FBI, told the agency that their primary witness George Emerson Seach had been targeted to be taken out. According to Bompensiero, because of the Friars Club indictment, before Seach could testify, Roselli told Jimmy Fratianno to kill him. While Bompensiero was staking out Seach's home Fratianno learned that the FBI had taken Seach to Hawaii for safekeeping.
Bompensiero, the informent he was, was certainly no sweet smelling bed of roses. During the heyday of the gambling ships off the coast of Redondo Beach and the likes of the brothel of Fifie Malouf well established along the the Strand, the city, especially the length of the waterfront, was wideopen. On the evening of Monday July 19, 1937 a mob affiliated gambler named George Lester "Les" Bruneman was walking arm and arm with two young women along the waterfront business district in Redondo, just past the north entrance to the Horseshoe Pier when at least one bullet ripped through his back from several shots fired by two contract hit men. The women half-carried, half dragged the wounded Bruneman north along El Paseo, eventually taking refuge in the lobby of the Fox Theater at the north end of the street.
Bruneman survived the shooting. Three months later, on Monday, October 24, 1937 he wasn't so lucky. Bompensiro and Leo "Lips" Moceri walked into the Roost Cafe located at 2700 Temple Street, Los Angeles while Bruneman was sitting and having a few drinks with a ladyfriend and pumped eight bullets into him. Within seconds of hitting the floor they ensured the job was completed by throwing several more rounds in him. A couple of bullets that passed through Bruneman and tore into the legs of the woman that was with him, a 24-year-old nurse named Alice Ingram he met in the hospital from the first shooting.(source)
I call it "trumped up charges" because there is no federal law for cheating in gambling. The Feds put together a bunch of money crossing state lines and tax evasion scenarios, none of it directly related to the events in the Friar's Club that inturn led to Roselli's arrest. Besides, it was only hearsay that he was getting a 20 percent take, plus the cheating scam was already in place and running when Roselli came across it in operation. He had no part in setting it up or in it's operation. The following is from 432 F. 2d 879 - United States v. Roselli:
The proceeds of one "peeked" game included three checks totaling $31,500 given to Teitelbaum by one of the victims. At Teitelbaum's request, the victim subsequently replaced one of the checks with a new one for $10,000 made out to "J. Martinez," a fictitious name. Friedman ultimately gave this same check to his secretary in Las Vegas and instructed her to collect it and give the proceeds to Roselli. She delivered to Roselli an envelope containing $10,000 in cash. He gave her a $100 gratuity in return. Friedman denied that this represented Roselli's share of the proceeds of the rigged game and testified that Roselli was merely acting as a messenger to pay a debt Friedman owed to a third party. The trial court, however, was not required to believe this improbable explanation.
This evidence was sufficient to support the trial court's conclusion that a prima facie case involving Roselli in the joint enterprise had been made out. Friedman's statements in furtherance of the common enterprise were therefore admissible against Roselli, and this additional evidence furnished adequate support for the jury's verdict against him under Count 1.28
Roselli was also convicted of substantive violations stemming from transportation of the "J. Martinez" check to Las Vegas from Los Angeles. There was ample proof, if believed, to convince the jury that Friedman was responsible for transporting the check to Las Vegas in furtherance of the conspiracy, and thus to justify Roselli's conviction of the substantive counts as Friedman's co-conspirator.
Finally, Roselli was convicted under Count 22 of willfully filing a false income tax return. The jury, as well as the judge, could have rejected Friedman's testimony and concluded that the $10,000 Roselli received in Las Vegas was not Friedman's money but Roselli's, and it is undisputed that Roselli failed to declare it as income.
ROSSELLI UNDER THE FBI MICROSCOPE
In Footnote  I mention that my stepmother and Roselli were friends. It was through their friendship I crossed paths with Roselli several times throughout my life starting at the young age of around ten years old right up into my early twenties in the 1960s when I was drafted into the military.
Typically, as a two-year draftee the Army wouldn't spend much time on me or anyone, but because I had a confidential clearance with so much of the investigative leg work done, it became a major key in the Army's decision with what to do with me. The confidential clearance came about because during the few years that transpired between graduation from high school and being drafted I landed a fairly high paying job for a seemingly innocuous little aerospace firm with a huge reputation. I was originally hired as a trainee technical illustrator for the firm, but was quickly put into a skunk-works-like smaller offshoot of the company that helped design and build the high altitude breathing equipment for the then super-secret U-2 spy plane, inturn requiring me to have the clearance.
Knowing Roselli or even having someone of his stature in my background could have easily derailed me obtaining a security clearance, but because of the era and the times the totally opposite happened --- it actually enhanced my chances and had a tendency for those in power to steer me toward areas I might not have otherwise been considered for. For clarification please see the following as found in The Johnny Roselli Dossier. Notice the Richard M.. Bissell and Roselli connection, Bissell being one of the main movers in the U-2 program:
1. In August 1960, Mr. Richard M. Bissell approached Colonel Sheffield Edwards to determine if the Office of Security had assets that may assist in a sensitive mission requiring gangster-type action. The mission target was Fidel Castro.
2. Because of its extreme sensitivity, only a small group was made privy to the project. The DCI was briefed and gave his approval. Colonel J. C. King, Chief, WH Division, was briefed, but all details were deliberately concealed from any of the JMWAVE officials. Certain TSD and Communications personnel participated in the initial planning stages, but were not witting of the purpose of the mission.
3. Robert A. Maheu, a cleared source of the Office of Security, was contacted, briefed generally on the project, and requested to ascertain if he could develop an entree into the gangster elements as the first step toward accomplishing the desired goal.
4. Mr. Maheu advised that he had met one Johnny Roselli on several,occasions while visiting Las Vegas. He only knew him casually through clients, but was given to understand that he was a high-ranking member of the "syndicate."
The Johnny Roselli Dossier
For those who may be so interested, there are several places where I write about my involvement with the U-2, getting security clearances, being in the Army, Bissell, etc. See:
CODE MAKER, ZEN MAKER
SHANGRI-LA, SHAMBHALA, GYANGANJ, BUDDHISM AND ZEN
AREA 51, GROOM LAKE, ROSWELL
Some people, questioning the nature of Roselli's death and how he was found, that is, floating in a drum wrapped with 200 pounds of chains, how was it the drum would even been able to float.
If the drum was weighted with chains and punched full of holes only around or near the top it would have begun to fill with as it settled. If it settled before it filled with the top side down, then air would have remained trapped in the upright lower half. As the body decomposed gases produced by the bacteria could have displaced the water allowing the drum to "float" at or near the surface. How it would work mathematically:
A cubic foot of water weighs a little over 64 pounds. A 55 gallon drum would displace about 7.3 cubic feet. 7.3 times 64 = 470. This implies that a sealed 55 gallon drum and it's contents would need to weigh more than 470 pounds to sink. So if you take the weight of the drum (say, 50 pounds), add the weight of the deceased (167 pounds), add some chain (another 200 pounds?) and you have 411 pounds, not enough to sink --- but if you add some water you could have enough to sink it. Now if some of that water is displaced by the gases produced by decomposition the drum will no longer sit on the bottom.
ROSELLI VICTIM OF MAFIA BECAUSE OF SENATE TESTIMONY
SLOT MACHINES, ROSELLI, AND THE FBI
"The slot machines that were in a secret hidden room at my stepmother's ranch had been in storage in a lumber yard in Big Bear City, California, after having been removed from an upstairs room in the Sportsman's Tavern. My stepmother's ranch foreman Leo and another man, with me tagging along, took a big old truck, actually an old canvas covered four wheel drive World War II army truck, up the back road into Big Bear and with the help of a couple of other men already there, loaded the machines into the back of the truck."(source)
About two months after seeing Roselli during the April 1961 road race weekend in Las Vegas there was a fourth meeting --- actually a series of several meetings that sort of added up to one meeting because they were all connected and interrelated into a single issue --- slot machines.
Within a couple weeks or so of that race weekend I just happened to catch up with my stepmother. In that she and Roselli had been friends at one time, during general conversation I brought up the fact that I had seen him. Right away she got all jacked up and wanted me to go see him again, only on her behalf, as soon as I could. It seems she had 35 fully operable vintage slot machines hidden away in storage that nobody knew about and wanted me to see if Roselli could market them.
Although I didn't know the slot machines still existed I remembered them well, even having played them on occasion. I had first come across the slots as a young boy when I was playing in the lumber yard where my grandfather worked and stumbled upon them stored away in a back room. They had at onetime been in a bar called the Sportsman's Tavern in Big Bear Lake, California, owned by the gravel-voiced western movie sidekick Andy Devine. But, as attested to in the quote at the top of this footnote, they had been stashed away in a backroom of a lumber yard in Big Bear City after word got out his tavern was going to be raided and the machines confiscated.(see)
Several years later I mentioned I had seen a whole room of slots to my stepmother, telling her they were the ornate highly-polished one arm bandit types just sitting there in a lumber yard collecting dust. She got all interested and had me check with my older brother who had been living with my grandparents until my grandfather died. He said as far as he knew the slots were still there hidden away and nobody very far up the food chain except for my grandfather, who at one time had been a bookkeeper at the lumber yard, knew about them. My brother then went on to say the only way to really confirm if the slots were still at the lumberyard was to visit the place on the sly and check it out. He searched around and eventually found a whole bunch of lumberyard keys that had at onetime belonged to my grandfather. So said, my brother was sure at least one of the keys would allow access to where the slots had been stored. Not long after that he called and confirmed the machines were still hidden away in the storeroom looking all the same as they always had.
Since nobody knew the slots existed or who they actually belonged to, as soon as my stepmother could put it into motion she got a hold of the machines and set them up in a hidden area behind a false wall in the dancehall of her ranch near Edwards Air Force Base --- to provide the flyboys a little extra fun. Just before her place mysteriously burned down, without anybody knowing about it, she had moved the machines to an unknown location after hearing of a possible compromise. Most people who knew about the slots, like me for example, thought they had been destroyed in the fire like everything else. At the time she and I talked, the slot machines and a genuine 1847 Colt Walker pistol were the only things my ex-stepmother had left of any value. The Colt was long misplaced or lost somewhere in her junk. Needing the money she wanted to dispose of the slots. The problem was, not only were they illegal in California they had a history of a tie-back to the mob. To keep them operating without any hindrance at her ranch required a certain kick back. Once they were assumed destroyed that was the end of it. The thing is they weren't destroyed and now she wanted to market them. Enter Johnny Roselli.
The first meeting of the series with Roselli was on Sunday July 2, 1961 in Los Angeles with the other two in Las Vegas a few weeks later during the last two or three days of July. I remember the July 2nd date well because it was the same day Ernest Hemmingway was found dead from a gunshot wound first reported as an accident but later a suicide. After hearing my story Roselli said he couldn't promise anything because he wasn't sure if the machines didn't ultimately belong to the mob in the first place. However, if that glitch proved to be not so, or if it could simply be bypassed or overlooked without anybody's knowledge, in so many words, for a reasonable cut from my mom's side after any sale, he would see what he could do.
Following the L.A. meeting and consultation with my ex-stepmother with Roselli's conditions, the aforementioned other two meetings in Las Vegas transpired at the end of July, one on the night of the full moon over coffee at the Desert Inn, the second three days later during the early morning hours in the casino at the Stardust. Between those two meetings my ex-stepmother agreed to everything Roselli presented, with the second meeting basically me telling him of her OK. After that everything was handled by an unknown third party, the results of which I never learned.
In a pure coincidence of bad timing on my part, it just so happened that at almost the same second the feds decided it was necessary for whatever reason to put into place a 24 hour around-the-clock surveillance on Roselli I contacted him on behalf of my stepmother regarding the possible sale of the slot machines and got caught up in it. Re the following from Footnote  of the source so cited:
"The thing is, unbeknownst to me, during those months before I was drafted was, in Roselli's life, the exact sametime the feds put into place the most serious and intensive non-stop around-the-clock surveillance on him. In the process of that surveillance I got caught up in it to such a point that at least two of our three meetings were documented.
"As well, there is a good chance Roselli and I may have been photographed together sub rosa. In trying to identify who I was, my connection through to theU-2 Project most likely was determined and brought to the attention of upper echelon personnel. Instead of impacting me adversely it granted me a certain beyond the norm status."(source)
In the Johnny Roselli Dossier, which contains copies of onetime classified files accumulated by FBI and CIA during that period, the following, albeit redacted in some areas, is found:
Page 11 LA 92-113
***** furnished information that during the evening of July 10-11, 1961, an individual believed by the informant to be JOHN ROSELLI visited the residence of ***** and that SAM GIANCANA was also present. According to the informant, ROSELLI offered to put GIANCANA in touch with an unknown individual in Los Angeles regarding some business venture in which ROSELLI would also have an interest. ROSELLI is reported to have remarked it was a good location and would have slot machines and there was no reason why they would not make money.
Page 3 LA 92-113
On July 28, 1961, SAs of the FBI observed ROSSELLI in the coffee shop of the Desert Inn Hotel during the evening.
On July 31 1961, SAs of the FBI observed ROSSELLI conversing with ***** at approximately 9:15 a.m. in the casino of the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
THE JOHNNY ROSELLI DOSSIER
GAMBLING IN BIG BEAR AND THE SPORTSMAN'S TAVERN
On March 30, 1949 the tabloid-like Los Angeles Daily News began publishing a series of exposé articles concerning slot machines in California. The very first article they printed was titled "Slot Machines Flourish In San Bernardino County," and without pinpointing specific locations per se' informed the reader there were quite a number of cash pay out machines in operation, a large portion of them in the Big Bear area. With the slot machine articles showing up in the Daily News March 30, March 31, April 1 and April 8, 1949, it was becoming apparent Andy Devine’s reputation was becoming more and more at risk. In Gambling in Big Bear and the Sportsman's Tavern, linked previously above, the following is found:
"(With} the press doing a lot of investigations, it was most likely at this point that gambling came to an end at the Sportsman’s Tavern. It is not known what happened to the slot machines from the Tavern, but considering that they cost $200 to $1000 in 1949, they most likely were sold off to someone else in the town (or out of town such as back to Las Vegas as used equipment)."
For anyone who may be so concerned, be assured there is no offense intended toward the on-screen persona or personal integrity of Andy Devine, an ardent exemplar and defendant of the Cowboy Code of the West, but more or less here, taking a cue by harkening back to the old days of the wild and wooly west and saloons.
When the envelope intended for my stepmother was given to me that morning at the Desert Inn the man who did so was the same man that initially blocked me from seeing Roselli a few days before. At the same time he gave me the large envelope for my stepmother he also handed me a smaller business-size envelope that felt like it had at least two pages or more and possibly even a key in it. The man told me that although Roselli was helping my mother he was doing so indirectly through me. In return for that help Roselli expected me to do something for him. That something was to hand deliver in person the smaller envelope to the person to whom it was addressed and NOT to lose it, and under no circumstances not leave it with anybody else, give it to anybody else or let it fall into anybody else's hands and for sure not to open it. I was also told the envelope had to be delivered in the next couple of days and after I did, to call a certain number and confirm it. He also told me incase it was undeliverable for any reason to call the same number and wait for further instructions.
The envelope had a type-written address to one Miss Marie Brooks, 1405 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, California and no return address. I went to the place and after waiting a good part of the day and into the early evening I was finally able to catch up with Miss Brooks and hand deliver the envelope.
I was almost stunned that I recognized Miss Brooks immediately. When I told her I knew her and under what circumstances we met she seemed quite relieved, saying she recalled our meeting six or seven years before quite well. She had been extremely nonplussed when I first stepped up and told her I had something for her from Roselli, turning away exhibiting a strong reluctance in taking the envelope and wanting to know how I found her. Showing her the address on the envelope and after hearing of our previous meeting she changed her mind, even opening the envelope in front of me. She tipped it up and tore off the end rather than along the top above the sealed flap, that way, in the process, any key, if there was one, stayed deep in the end of the envelope. The short term relief she exhibited a few moments before turned quickly into an almost full-body collapse after she read or saw the contents of the envelope. When I asked if everything was OK and if she was alright, she quickly recomposed herself and indicated things were either fine or soon would be. With that we shook hands and I left.
Miss Brooks, of 1405 E. Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, California, who I recognized, turned out to actually be one Brenda Allen, who, during the whole decade of the 1940s, before she simply fell off the grid following a never ending series of law related problems and disappeared, was Hollywood’s most notorious and prosperous madam.
Allen, who from before the war through to the end of the 1940s was rumored to have upwards of 114 working girls in her harem on a regular basis. In all the years of her operation she prided herself for never having stumbled or ever having to spend a night in jail. In the end she was caught in a more-or-less vendetta type sting put into place by disgruntled members of the Los Angeles Police Department (read: not on her payroll). The following is from the Brenda Allen site linked below:
"In a trial without a jury Allen was found guilty of pandering and sentenced to five years, the sentence to be served at the State Institution for Women in Tehachapi. Later it came out the female police officer lied under oath and, even though she personally admitted to the act of perjury, the sentence against Allen was not rescinded. Allen filed an application for probation which was granted on condition that she serve one year in the county jail in addition to five years probation. In May, 1949 she commenced to serve her time. Less than four months later, Friday, September 2, 1949, Allen was released from jail on order of the California Supreme Court based solely on the fact that the police officer had perjured her testimony."