The full line-up from Chicago, 1932.
Paul “The Waiter” Ricca, Salvatore Agoglia, Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, Meyer Lansky, John Senna, and Harry Brown.
My father, Paul Lansky, was named after Paul Ricca.
The National Crime Syndicate (organized crime) is said to have been established in 1929 at a meeting in Atlantic City. Italian and Jewish criminal groups were heavily represented. The main topic was bootlegging. Meyer Lansky also happened to be on his honeymoon in Atlantic City, with his wife, Anna. Meyer often combined business and pleasure.
It was determined that Charles “Lucky” Luciano was instrumental in organizing these many criminal gangs into one “big” family, with Meyer Lansky and others. The main focus of this “big” family was the agreement to stay on your own side of the street and quit fighting amongst themselves. End the gang wars, to allow all their efforts to be put towards making money, by bootlegging specifically. Through the media, this “big” family became known as “The Syndicate.” As with any “big” family, there is agreement and rules. Rules need enforcement. They needed a law enforcement arm of the American Mafia. Especially since the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929.
Enforcement came from Brooklyn gangs in the 1930s and 1940s who carried out a lot of murders. Their task was simple, enforce the “ turf agreement.” Thus, allowing “all” to make mass amounts of money from bootlegging. The media called these gangs “Murder, Inc.” It was said they reported to Meyer Lansky and Joe Adonis. Ben “Bugsy” Siegel was a leader in “Murder, Inc.”, but not a common everyday hit man. The Bugs and Meyer Mob was a precursor to “Murder, Inc.” and Benny was the enforcer for Meyer. Benny knew odds and finances too and Meyer was a fighter in the early days. Benny listened to Meyer. So they settled into their paths, Benny as the enforcer and Meyer as the brains. Nobody liked to mess with them. Siegel in response about “Murder, Inc.”, once said, “we only kill each other.” By the late 1940s, “Murder, Inc.” ceased to exist since their purpose had been to enforce the “turf agreement” during Prohibition.
“At the height of his notoriety, Meyer Lansky was reckoned to be, and was targeted by the U.S. Justice Department, as the biggest gangster in the United States – a dangerous lawbreaker of extraordinary power. He was identified as the Mafia’s banker, the boss of the National Crime Syndicate, the head of the Combination – the Chairman of the Board.” – Robert Lacey, Little Man