THE CITY, THE CASINOS, AND THE MOB

 

 

    During the spring 1985 semester, which I was not attending school, the Golden Nugget was there recruiting students to sell change for there slot department during the summer.  Leif, who was now paying $300 a month for rent after Mark moved out last December, applied for that job and was accepted.  He was excited when he brought me the news.  He wanted to stay the summer but was not going to have his part-time job in the school lab.  Figuring this was the best move, he took the job.  I would not recommend a job in the casinos even to my worst enemy.  I told Leif what gamblers were like but he didn't care.  At least it was a more honest job than dice dealing.  I told him congratulations and wished him good luck.  He would start in May.

    About that same time, my father invited me to spend three weeks with him in Taiwan.  He knew I was unhappy with my job and school and that I was looking for a new plan.  I think he may have been trying to spark an interest in the business for me.  If that was the plan, it backfired.  There were many business practices which, as a Christian, I could not agree with.  I spent three weeks there and a weekend in Hong Kong.  But while in Taiwan I got my biggest lesson not about the shoe business, but about the casino industry.

    It happened one afternoon when I was having lunch with my father and his partner Mr. Hill.  His partner asked what I thought about all I had seen so far.  I told him my feelings about the exploitation of the factory workers and how I disagreed with it.  He looked over at me and said in an insulted tone, "Yeah, well it beats working for the Mafia."

    That threw me for a loop. I told him I did not work for the Mafia. He came right back with, "Oh, don't be so naive. The Mafia runs that entire industry.  You work for Nicky Scarfo.  Who do you think started Bally's Manufacturing? It was the Al Capone gang in Chicago.  They started Bally's making one armed bandits for Las Vegas."

    My father just sat there and listened to our conversation.  I didn't want him to think I would be involved with such people, so I began to argue against the statements made by mentioning the Casino Control Commission and the Department of Gaming Enforcement, both respected agencies, and Donald Trump, a respected businessman.  Hill just stared into my eyes, waited for me to stop making a fool out of myself, and said, "Bullshit.  They're all in on it.  Even the people who make the dice and the cards.  How do you think you get to open a casino?  If you're not in with the Mafia they won't let you build.  Look at Bennie Hannah.  He bought land and was going to build, but he wouldn't play ball with the big boys, so they wouldn't let him in.  You better smarten up.  You work for very dangerous people."

    I was flabbergasted.  I believed Hill because he was three times my age and had lived on the island since before casinos.  He knew his shit and what went down.

    When I returned to work I asked questions about the Bennie Hannah story and found it to be true.  That was the first time I fully understood and accepted what was going on.  My only thought was to get out of there as quickly as possible.  From that moment on, I never looked at anything in that business quite the same again.

 

    Atlantic City has had a long history of Mafia affiliation, which I did not fully learn about until six years later when I was doing research for an anthropological ethnographic study for a class at Stockton State College.  Everyone in the class, mostly anthropology and sociology majors, had to do a study on an ethnic group in the area.  Since I was working full-time and going to school full-time, I decided to combine the both and do mine on the African-Americans of Atlantic City.  At work, I would be able to interview the people I had to for chapter two of the three-chapter assignment.  The first paper gave a history of Atlantic City from the point of view of a cultural anthropologist, namely me.  The professor, Laurie Greene, was a wonderful person and an inspiration to me.  She had but one comment written down after reading it, "excellent".  The paper got an A.

    This is the paper as it was presented to Laurie on March 4, 1991.  It had three-foot notes that I will put in parenthesis next to them and mark with a "FN".  The paper is entitled Black Ethnicity In A Changing City:  The African-Americans of Atlantic City, New Jersey. This is chapter one entitled The City and Its People.

 

    Although African-American citizens make up only twelve percent of the United State's population, most large or densely populated cities have African-American populations anywhere in upwards of over fifty percent.  Atlantic City, New Jersey is one such city.

    African-Americans were first brought to North America as slaves in 1619, 157 years before the United States became an independent nation. It was the British colony of Virginia, and by 1681 the slave population there reached 2,000.  On July 4, 1776, the United States declared its independence as a free country.  In The Declaration Of Independence they wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that these are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.--"  This did not, however, include the black slave.  For them, their ethnic identity was continuing to be stripped in favor of overt acculturation.

    "The black inhabitants of America showed a remarkable ability to survive and to increase.  Over 250,000 new slaves were introduced into the mainland during the first eight decades of the eighteenth century, but the black population increased by twice that amount during the same period (from 28,000 to 567,000)."  (FN #1: James A. Henretta.  The Evolution Of American Society, 1700-1815. 1973. p.57.)  By the 1850's their population was over 4 million.

    The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ended slavery on December 6, 1865.  This would begin the amalgamation of African slaves into American culture.  Up until this period the United States was mostly homogeneous.  With the end of the civil war came also a tremendous influx of emigrants from all over the world.  Between then and 1920 over 30 million emigrants entered the U.S.  The WASP's of America now found themselves in a pluralistic society with each group bringing a bit of their culture with them.

    As time went on the black population grew.  "In 1950 one-third of the total Afro-American population in the Western Hemisphere was resident in the United States despite the fact that it had originally received less then 5% of the total number of slaves."  (FN #2: Ibid.)

    Today, African-Americans make up 12 percent of the total population in the United States.  That puts them at over 27 million people.

    Atlantic City was founded in 1854, a decade before the abolishment of slavery.  It is located on the northern tip of Absecon Island off the eastern shore of southern New Jersey.  The city covers an area of just under 12 square miles.  It is sixty miles from Philadelphia.  In 1880 a railway linked the two cities and Atlantic City now received its lifeblood from the big city.  Tourism would boom.

    In 1920 the population of Atlantic City reached 50,707.  It was enjoying the good life.  In 1923 Atlantic City High School opened.  It could hold 2100 students.  The black/white ratio of the time was nothing compared to what it is like today.  Then African-Americans numbered only 10,946 or just 21.6 percent of the total population.  Still, higher than the national average.

    1930 saw the height of Atlantic City's population.  It was over 66,000, but has been in a steady decline ever since.  In 1940 the population fell a little over 2,000 from the previous decade.  However, the black/white ratio saw a greater increase in the black population to 24.4 percent.  In the forty years following 1930 the population deteriorated by 20,000 and the city was in a decline.

    By 1980 the city's population was only 40,199.  However, the African-Americans numbered over 20,000 and they were now enjoying the majority status.  White population had gone from 48,347 in 1940 to just 18,614 or 46 percent in 1980.  Clearly the minority.

    The entrance of casino gambling brought another decline to the city's population during the 1980's.  Although the overall population fell a little over 2,000 to 37,986 in 1990, the African-Americans lost only 500 people while 5,000 whites moved out.  The difference was a dramatic increase in Hispanic, Asian and other ethnic groups emigrating to work in the casino industry.  The African-American population now makes up 51 percent of Atlantic City.  The whites make only 35 percent while Hispanics, Asians, and others make up the other 14 percent.  (FN #3: This shows the great shift in ethnic representation over the past seventy years.  In 1920 the percentages stood at whites 78.2 percent, blacks at 21.6 percent and other at only 0.2 percent.)

    In 1956 many club and hotel owners saw a decline in the town's tourism.  The idea of casino gambling was first introduced at this time.  It saw heavy opposition lead by the owners of the Chalfonte-Hadden Hall and never materialized. It is ironic also because the Hall is now Resort's International Hotel - the first casino to open in 1978.

    Once again, in 1973, the city tried for legalized gambling.  It was defeated at the polls.  Not to be discouraged, Resorts tried to bring it about in 1977.  This time they promised to revitalize the dying city and bring jobs and a better standard of living for the large majority of African-Americans citizens.  There was also talk of lowering property taxes and doing away with the state sales tax.  This was to model Nevada.  The residents went for it and the first casino opened in 1978.  Many landmarks were now to fall at the wrecking ball.

    The city has always played a role in American organized crime and also played one during prohibition.  Atlantic City has always been neutral ground for organized crime families.  It was a vacation spot for tourists and a meeting point between mob bosses.  The general rule is no guns and no "hits."  There has never been a mob related murder ever committed inside the city limits. It is a place for negotiations.

    During prohibition Atlantic City, along with its northern island border Brigantine and the city of Pleasantville on the mainland were ports of entry for rumrunners.  There were many speak-easies in the area.  In fact, Seagrams of Canada got its start bootlegging rum to this once small fishing village.

    The community has had its share of disorganized crime as well.  Three of its past five mayors have been indicted. The last one to fall was its previous mayor, James L. Usry. Usry, the city's first African-American mayor came to office after his predecessor, Michael Matthews, was jailed for his connection with the Scarfo crime family. He brought hope for the black community who felt they were being let down.

    Political corruption is not the only crime being committed in the community.  The streets are rampant with it.  Almost 46 percent will be the victim of a crime and slightly over 3 percent will be the victim of a violent one.  This all happening under a 560 member police force.

    With the casinos came prostitution.  Every night one can drive down Pacific Ave. (the street which most of the casinos are located) and see them lining the streets beckoning the cars as they go by.  Although there is a curfew for minors, many are still exposed to such doings.

    Drugs also plaque the many neighborhoods.  For the dealers it is seen as an easy way out of the ghetto like surroundings.  The drug problem is eminent also in the high amount of crack babies being born in the Atlantic City Medical Center.  Many of which are born to unmarried black school children.

    Atlantic City has a population density of 3,395.2 people per square mile packed inside 11,414 residential and 248 apartment units.  There is also 2,861 vacant buildings which mark a city in decay with all the eyesores.

    In July of 1987, the South Jersey Center For Public Affairs did a population and demographic field survey of the inlet section of the city.  This is considered to be the least desirable and most crime-ridden neighborhood of the entire town.  They found 3.26 persons per household with and average household income (AHI) of $18,524.  Homeowners were found to have a better standard of living.  They had and AHI of $22,252 of which only 21 percent of their gross income went to housing costs.  The renters on the other hand had a much lower standard of living.  Their AHI was only $13,288 of which they had to spend 44 percent of their gross income to housing costs.

    Most of the residents are blue-collar workers working in the casino industry or casino related businesses.  If they are not positioned in a high paying casino floor job, they are members of Local 54, the hotel and restaurant union.  This union, although under investigation for its ties to the Scarfo crime family, brings many social benefits to the workers.

    The life-style of the African-Americans in Atlantic City is one of despair.  The casinos and boardwalk are more of a tourist trap.  There are no meeting halls or parks or even a movie theater for them to attend.  Life is more confined to the neighborhood.

    The city has many religious organizations throughout.  These act as the only places for socializing.  There are temples for the Jews and a mosque for the Moslems.  Also, there is every type of Christian Denomination churches available as well as nondenominational neighborhood houses of worship.

    In this paper I will examine how black ethnicity, in Atlantic City, might have changed since the introduction of casino gambling.  Has this economic boom in Atlantic County, New Jersey done anything to change how African-Americas are perceived or how they may now perceive themselves socially, culturally, or economically?

 

    Let's run through it and pick it apart.

    Right away we see a problem with the way the United States is viewed by the rest of the world, especially in the European communities. They are all taught that the United States have been the biggest hypocrites on the planet since the signing of The Declaration Of Independence.  To be able to write such words and keep enslaving men shows the potential of their evil from the start.

    While it may be true that Atlantic City saw a decline in tourism in the 1950's the decline could have been attributed to the invention of the airplane.

    In 1956 it was one club owner who spearheaded the move for Atlantic City to have legalized gambling.  According to the book "Atlantic City Diary:  Century of Memories 1880-1985 written by Ed Davis, it was suggested by Paul "Skinny" D'Amato, the owner of the 500 Club.  I did further investigating with a person who was my informant about the black community and he stated that the 500 Club was a very popular club in those days and particularly with the Mafia. It was the most popular club and had many entertainers there including Frank Sinatra.  Everyone in the town knew the place was a Mafia joint and knew if Paul D'Amato was in on trying to get gambling to the city it was not going to be good for them and that is why it was voted against.  It was only undergraduate work so I did not see the need to mention this.

    I have been in hiding because of something "Skinny's" son did to me recently.  I am all alone in the southwest and secluded from any major towns where I could get the supplies needed for writing this book.  Four days ago I ran out of ribbon while writing the first two thirds of this chapter.  While I was waiting for my contact to deliver more, I read two books.  One by Donald Trump, the other by Antoinette Giancana entitled Mafia Princess.  The latter was a great book and I advise every one of my readers who have not read it to pick up a copy. Antoinette Giancana was the daughter of the late Sam Giancana.  This was the thug who took over Chicago after Al Capone got pinched. It was said that he was the biggest hood in organized crime and probably the boss of bosses.  I felt very saddened reading her story, which made so many things make sense to me.  But one thing she mentioned in her book, which caught my attention, were the FBI transcripts mentioning Paul "Skinny" D'Amato.

    The first time D'Amato's name is mentioned was when Miss Giancana was explaining why her father did not like Dean Martin.  She was convinced after listening to a conversation recorded by the FBI dated December 6, 1961.  The conversation was between Sam Giancana and another gangster named Johnny Formosa.  She states,

 

         "The discussion between Sam and Formosa centered on Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Paul (Skinny) D'Amato, who was from New Jersey and who, Sam told me, took care of things for him, looked after his interests at a Lake Tahoe casino Called the Cal-Neva Lodge.  Sam had told me that he and Sinatra had an interest in the casino together, and FBI documents make the same conclusion, but Sinatra has denied that mutual interest in testimony before the Nevada State Gaming Control Board."

 

    This should show how the organizing of gaming in Atlantic City in 1956 was not for the best interest of the city, but for the best interests of Paul "Skinny" D'Amato, Frank Sinatra, and Sam Giancana, one of the biggest (if not the biggest) killer[s] ever to live in this country.  President Ray-Gun even testified at the above hearing and told the board that Frank Sinatra was a nice guy and to leave him alone.

    More of Paul D'Amato's involvement with Giancana is mentioned on page 249 where she writes,

 

         "In a memo dated April 30, 1963, for example, the FBI observed that on February 10, 1963, Sam was in Jilly's restaurant in New York City with Frank Sinatra, Paul (Skinny) D'Amato, and two other men.  I knew Jilly's.  It was owned by Frank's sidekick and shadow, Jilly Rizzo, and it was a popular hangout for a lot of people.  Sam had brought me there once or twice when we were in New York doing the sights.  D'Amato I knew was a friend of Sam's from New Jersey--Atlantic City, as I recall.  He was also with Frank Sinatra a lot, particularly when Sinatra was a listed owner of the Cal-Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe, Nevada."

 

    While reading more of this book I came across Paul D'Amato's name again.  This time it is in a FBI transcript.  She explains,

 

         "This conversation was recorded at the Armory Lounge in December, 1961, shortly after Sam had returned from his trip to Europe with Phyllis.  It not only identified Sam's interests in the Cal-Neva, but it also described efforts Sinatra made on behalf of my father to have the family of President John F. Kennedy ease the FBI's harassment of Sam. It also suggests that President Kennedy's father wasn't very successful in living up to a promise to help my father after Sam had donated money to the political campaign of President Kennedy during the Democratic primaries."

 

Phyllis refers to Phyllis McGuire of the McGuire Sisters.  She was Giancana's girlfriend for a number of years. The name Roselli in the transcript refers to John Roselli.  He was a friend of Sam's and D'Amato's and was "Murdered following his testimony in congressional hearings about his and Sam Giancana's roles in the Central Intelligence Agency plot to murder Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.  Was Giancana's representative in Las Vegas and in the entertainment industry and wielded enormous power.  Faced deportation prior to his congressional testimony, and was found later in a bullet-riddled barrel in Florida waters."  It is funny the way these flunkies speak.

 

ROSELLI:  Did you go to Luciano's home [Charles (Lucky) Luciano, the former leader of national syndicate, who was deported to Italy and lived in Rome]?

 

GIANCANA:   No.

 

ROSELLI:    Oh, that's a hell of a place...a real nice home.  He's a real nice guy.

 

GIANCANA:   I couldn't get out of that country fast enough.

 

ROSELLI:    How do you feel, buddy?  Did you have a nice time?  Did you get a lot of heat over there?

 

GIANCANA:   What kind of heat?

 

ROSELLI:    Over there.

 

GIANCANA:   Naw.

 

ROSELLI:    Nobody tailed you?  Well, Skinny called me, and said get ahold of the guy, he wants to see you.  I says, right away, so I calls him back.  I went to Vegas after I come back from...[The reference to Skinny is to Paul D'Amato, a  New Jersey nightclub operator and a close friend of Sinatra's and Giancana's who worked at the Cal-Neva.]

 

GIANCANA:   Who was [it]?

 

ROSELLI:    Frank.  You know.  So the first week, I didn't see him. [Then] I saw him, hello, how are you, and that's all. After his wife left, he sent for me...Now, I said, Frank, I don't want to be in your way.  I don't want to bother you.  He said, I want you to bunk with me...will you do that, he says, bunk with me?  I says, all right.  So he says, when are you going home?  I says, today.  So he says, cancel out, I want you to come to my home. I says, that'll be fine with me.  So he was real nice to me and offered me some money.  I threw it back at him.  I had a chance to quiz him.  Towards the end I took three...three thousand I was able to pay.  I said, Frankie, can I ask you one question?  He says [answer blanked out].  I took Sam's name and wrote it down and told Bobby Kennedy, this is my buddy.  This is my buddy, this is what I want you to know, Bob....And he says to me, he says [blank] is he still with Phyllis?  I says, I think he sees her, and he says, that don't help anything, either.  I said, in what respect?  He figures they can always find you through her. 

 

GIANCANA:   What am I supposed to do?  If I don't have her...

 

ROSELLI:    They'd [the FBI] follow the next girl.

 

GIANCANA:   In other words, I should stick my head in the sand with my ____in the air.  Is that it?  Or I shouldn't go no place.

 

ROSELLI:    Between you and I, Frank saw Joe Kennedy, the fatherů

 

GIANCANA:   Called who?

 

ROSELLI:    Called Frank [blanked out, but known to be Sinatra].  So maybe he's starting to see the light...you're friends. He's got it in his head that they're not faithful to him. That's what I'm trying to get in his head.

 

GIANCANA:   In other words, then, the donation that was made [campaign contribution to Kennedy primary fight]...

 

ROSELLI:    That's what I was talking about.

 

GIANCANA:   Had to pay for it, regardless.

 

ROSELLI:    That's what made the issue with him.  Nothing deliberate, take it back.

 

GIANCANA:   In other words, if I even get a speeding ticket, none of these____would know me?

 

ROSELLI:    You told that right, buddy.  And I'm for you a hundred percent for that...

 

GIANCANA:   ...they just worry about themselves and keep themselves clean, take the heat off of them.

 

ROSELLI:    Sam, I think you gotta start, you gotta start giving them orders.  This is it, Frank, and that's how you got to start.

 

GIANCANA:   No, let him get his own.

 

ROSELLI:    He says, I'll put you in the Cal-Neva and I'll open up a swinging bar. The boys will bankroll it and, if you can't, come to me.  I told him, I'm gonna tell Sam everything...

 

GIANCANA:   I sent for [identity censored] and was gonna say, listen I'm getting sick and tired of this.

 

ROSELLI:    He's not in town, you know.

 

GIANCANA:   I know.

 

ROSELLI:    Aren't you gonna be tied up with Cal-Neva?

 

GIANCANA: Who gives a____about Cal-Neva?  ____him.  Don't worry about it.  I'm gonna get my money out of there...and I'm gonna wind up with half of the joint with no money.  Not gonna make any difference.

 

ROSELLI:    If you do that, please send me there, will you...to look out for you?

 

    There is a lot of interesting talk in that FBI transcript.  I have no doubt that because of the failed attempt by Frank Sinatra, reported by Paul D'Amato, to get Joe Kennedy to have the President to get his brother off Giancana's and the rest of their backs, they played a part in killing John F. Kennedy and later Bobby as was told to me at Bally's.  It is known that the Kennedy family got rich by bootlegging during prohibition and loan sharking during the depression.  Yet, we keep on electing them.

    The other very interesting line is the one where Giancana said how he was going to get his money out of the Cal-Neva casino.  In another section, Antoinette Giancana describes her father doing just that at another casino.  She wrote,

 

         "...I don't think I ever saw Sam pay for anything when I was  with him at the Desert Inn, whether for the stacks of chips he obtained to gamble with, or for our meals, or for anything that I bought.

        

         "For example, Sam liked to gamble.  Throwing dice, usually a loser's game, was his favorite, but when he played he was always a winner.  I certainly never saw him lose.  It was as if he were acting as a shill for the casino.  He would walk in, get a stack of chips from the cage--using the name of Richard G. Flood--and walk to the table.  Then he would start working the dice, and the chips would begin to pile up in front of him as he won one bet after another.  And as he played, a crowd gathered.  On one of those occasions he had a huge stack of chips in front of him--thousands and thousands of dollars' worth--and the crowd seemed to be ten--deep around the table.

   

         "'He's just shilling for the casino,' said one gambler who tried to appear knowledgeable.  'When it's over, the casino gets everything back.'

   

         "I smiled but didn't say a word, certainly nothing about the so-called shill being my father.  Finally, when Sam tired of the game, he threw a bunch of chips to the croupier and some to the pit boss, and a casino employee hustled over, gathered up the huge bundle of chips, placed them in a bag, and took them to the cage.

   

         "A short time later, the employee came over and handed Sam an enormous wad of bills, and I thought to myself, some shill. I just never consciously registered that maybe Sam was skimming from the casino, that maybe he owned a piece of it..."

   

    I find the above excerpt very interesting.  How else could Sam have been "skimming from the casino" by always winning if the game was not fixed?  She must have known that, but was afraid to mention it because it is still happening.  The way she said "...start working the dice," convinced me she knows that is what goes on but knew she couldn't mention it.

    There was one more mention of Paul "Skinny" D'Amato.  It was a story about how Sinatra let Sam Giancana stay at the Cal-Neva after a list of gangster names came out which had Sam's name on it.  They got caught after an incident that occurred.  She wrote,

 

         "Things got complicated when Sam threw a punch at one of Phyllis's staff members in the Cal-Neva bar, causing more problems.  The incident was witnessed by an employee, who was ordered to testify about the fight but failed to show up at a hearing of the Control Board.  At that point the board charged that Sinatra had something to do with the employee's reluctance to appear.

   

         "Things got even hotter when the press reported that Sinatra had called Control Board Chairman Edward A. Olsen and used what Olsen described in an eight-page complaint against Sinatra as 'vile, intemperate, base, and indecent' language in an attempt to intimidate him.  Olsen also reported an attempt by Paul D'Amato to bribe board agents into calling off their investigation.  The result was that Sinatra had to sell off his interests in not only the Cal-Neva but also in the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas.  Now all is forgiven.  Sam is dead and no longer an albatross for Sinatra, and Sinatra is regaled by presidents and attorneys general, and as a result, once again he is allowed to invest in and represent a casino...Ceasar's Palace."

   

    This Paul D'Amato was a very bad man.  I don't know if he is alive or dead today.  One can only hope.  But his son, Paul R. D'Amato is alive and well practicing law in Linwood, New Jersey, from a degree he gained with the Mafia money his father made.  And, from the hearsay I receive, he still maintains the same connections his father had.

    So, "Skinny" D'Amato tried to bring the Boys to Atlantic City, but the residents were not buying what he had to sell.  It is kind of hard to fool honest, hard working people (although all the presidents could) who care about their community.  That is why gambling could not pass until 1977.  At that time they knew the population of Atlantic City was not in favor of it.  What they did instead was use the greed of the entire state who would not have to put up with seeing the negative effects in their neighborhoods and got them to vote on it.  Those idiots bought it and now everyone is paying the price.

    A documentary which came out recently, produced by WHYY, the public TV station in Philadelphia, called Mob Fathers, was where I learned a lot about Nicky Scarfo. It also mentioned that Atlantic City was a very important city to Al Capone. He was the one bootlegging all the rum into that location.  I wonder if Joe Kennedy and Paul D'Amato had a hand in that as well?  The program also talked about the mayors getting busted.

    The informant I talked with said the black community believed the arresting of the mayors to be a plot by the state to control the city ever since they tried to legislate gambling in 1956.  Whether or not it was, the people were probably guilty.  At the casino, when the new mayor James Whelan took office, there was a line out on how long it would take the Boys to get him on the payroll.  They had no doubt he would play ball.  He would have no choice when approached.  The metaphor is that "they make the offer with a gun to your head."

    The rest of the report is accurate except for one thing; I later learned from my informant that prostitution was always in Atlantic City, but not as rampant or costly as it is today.  Even still, the city is nothing but a sewer.

    Crimes, drugs, poor, and abandon buildings are in abundance.  Most people who gambled there will tell you that they never left the casinos. It's true. The casinos were not there for the community; they were there for their own self-serving interests.  And it showed. None of the promises made were ever kept except the one about jobs.  The city is falling apart and unless the building is sitting on casino-zoned land it will remain an eyesore until it burns down.  I even read a piece in The Press which told about how most of the city councilmen own those buildings and were trying to get the zoning laws changed so they could make a fortune.  (Why else would they run for office?)  And not only that, but crime, property taxes, and state sales tax have all gone up. Why is this? Today the industry in New Jersey steals over 2.1 billion dollars a year from honest hard working people, yet the poor in Atlantic City keep increasing and existing in a standard of living lower than those of the people who were able to buy a house before gambling. After gambling, a lot of people had lost their homes because the property taxes were so high they could not pay them.  A person who was living in a $40,000 home on casino zoned land now found themselves having to pay taxes on an assessment value of $900,000.  Rent has gone up as well and is over-inflated.  Landlords are trying to get rich off of the casinos as well as the state.  Will it ever end?  I hope so.

    Yesterday I got a copy of The Denver Post.  I can't even get away from the casinos out here.  On the front page was an article about casinos that opened in the past week in some small mining towns of the Rocky Mountains.  This made me sick and disappointed with myself for not putting an end to this sooner then now.  On the first page, Capt. Gary Hamilton states, "We've arrested more people in the last month than in the entire year previous."  Wait until the Boys take over.  Then on page 4a of the October 3, 1991 edition they have a headline that read, "Teller County jail full after 1st gaming day."  What did they expect?

    It is really disturbing.  There is a picture on the same page of the article, which shows a group of feeble-minded gamblers, and the thief who is going to steal their money. You better believe that where ever on the planet there is a casino the Mafia is in on it. Under that photo were two articles.  One interview was with the misguided that work there.  "'Monday was crazy, today's slower, but it will pick up again,' said Dan Georgopulos, a bartender.  'Tips,' added Georgopulos, who lives in Lakewood, 'have been about average.'" Such bullshit. This man probably made more money in his first day than he ever made in a week.  He just didn't want the IRS or anyone who might be competition for his job to find out. Another person said the same thing, "At the Gold Mine casino in Black Hawk, where workers were still putting finishing touches on wallpaper around crowded blackjack tables, cocktail waitress Dorothy Howard assessed her surroundings, 'It's fantastic,' she said."  (That was an intelligent answer.)

    "Howard, of Westminster, added that, 'the tips have been good, and I love seeing so many different kinds of people.  I've worked as a waitress before, but it was never like this.'"  Of course it wasn't.  When did you ever make over $150 a day schlepping drinks while greedy imbecile gamblers gawked at your chest?  All the different people she noticed were the selfish gamblers who did not want to work for a living.  People from the low-life, to the poor, to the rich, to the mobster. You have no idea how much I can't wait for this to end.  When will everyone stop making it appear like gambling is the best thing to hit the Rocky's since Lewis and Clark, or anywhere else for that matter?

 
 
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Dedication

Behind These Eyes

Chapter  1 - OVERTURE

Chapter  2 - IN THE BEGINNING

Chapter  3 - MY FIRST SHOT

Chapter  4 - CHAD AND THE DEALER

Chapter  5 - THE DECISION TO DEAL

Chapter  6 - LICENSE TO STEAL

Chapter  7 - CASINO SCHOOL

Chapter  8 - SPRING '84

Chapter  9 - GETTING IN--THE AUDITION

Chapter 10 - BREAKING IN

Chapter 11 - LEARNING THE BIZ

Chapter 12 - SHOOTING DICE: THE HOOK

Chapter 13 - THE CITY, THE CASINOS, AND THE MOB

Chapter 14 - THE MOVE TO GET OUT

Chapter 15 - FIRED BY THE MAFIA

Chapter 16 - ALONG COMES MARY

Chapter 17 - THE TROP

Chapter 18 - OUTSIDE THE BIZ

Chapter 19 - BACK IN THE BIZ--ANOTHER AUDITION

Chapter 20 - THE BIRTH OF NICOLE

Chapter 21 - TRUMP: THE ART OF THE STEAL

Chapter 22 - PREVIEWS OF THINGS TO COME

Chapter 23 - THE BREAK-UP

Chapter 24 - THE NUT HOUSE

Chapter 25 - RECOVERY

Chapter 26 - PARENTAL ALIENATION

Chapter 27 - FIRED FROM TRUMP

Chapter 28 - I FIGHT FOR NICOLE

Chapter 29 - THE RUN-A-ROUND

Chapter 30 - THROWING IN THE TOWEL

Chapter 31 - WHAT NOW

GLOSSARY