Monday, April 1, 2013

Los Angeles 1970's

Gambling Racket in LA

The gambling plot started while Nick Licata was still boss of the LA Family.  He was sick at the time and he would die in October of 1974 in a hospital in Santa Monica.  The Underboss Dominic Brooklier was running the family day to day so he was in fact the acting boss.  They wanted to get some more gambling places up and running.  

John Vaccaro and John Ludlow Dubeck came from Las Vegas to run a restaurant on Sunset Blvd.  It was in a well known high rise office building.  John Vaccaro had a long history in gambling that could be traced all the way back to begninnings in New Orleans. In fact, he would later serve time for cheating slot machines in Las Vegas.  They opened an after hours gambling spot on Sunset Blvd at the restaurant Forget about the fact that the house always wins, they decided to hedge their bets.  They had card games and table games like craps. They also had John DocJon Deems.  DocJon was a wizard with cards and dice.   

They set up the games and the split went like this.  Luigi "Louie" Gelfuso and Pete Milano would get 20% of the profit.  Gelfuso the guy who worked at Nick Licata’s bar and now in Milano’s would later find locations for the games which included a house in the San Fernando Valley.   I met Gelfuso later in life and I liked him. He came to los Angeles from Providence, Rhode Island and he fell right in with the guys.  He was very close to Pete and Carmen Milano but he was a loyal guy.   Gelfuso's job was to provide security and collect markers from those who didn't have enough to cover their losses. John Vaccaro was to get 50% and he was supposed to cut in Dubeck and a lawyer named Calaway.  Vaccaro would run the game and the lawyer would provide legal services.  

Everything of course went bad because being Mobsters they were short sighted and greedy.  People started to complain about being cheated at the tables and that is a bad thing when you have an illegal casino.  They had enough problem just getting people to the games.  This was a Milano crew game and Milano was in charge because it was his crew.  Louie's son Michael Gelfuso told me about setting up the tables and the games. Being in his twenties at the time he found it exciting and fun.  The problem with Gambling in LA is that the LAPD Vice Squad knows everyone and when people get cheated they complain to LAPD Vice Squad and they come down on the guys running the games.  Soon LAPD and the FBI raided the games. Milano had a bail bonds business and he posted bonds for those guys who were picked up at the games.  

Things soon became even worse for the LA Family because the Feds took down everyone for running the gambling business and they had a star witness.  The star witness was John Ludlow Dubeck and he knew more than enough to put everyone away.

Things do not always work out for the good guy in life.  Sometimes they turn out bad.  Early in the morning of March 19th 1974 in Las Vegas John and Francis Dubuck returned from working the late shift at their jobs in a casino.  John was a shift manager and Francis was a cocktail waitress.  They were tired when the parked their car in their space and began the short walk to their apartment.  They had just walked into the garden courtyard when a man dressed in dark clothing stepped out of the shadows and let loose with two shots from a sawed off shotgun. He was so close he could not miss either person and they were both killed. They were scheduled to testify in the upcoming gambling trail of the LA Family.  They had been offered Witness Protection and refused. They had probably felt safe in Las Vegas since there had been no mob killings in the town.  It was against the commission rules to kill in Las Vegas because it would bring heat and unwanted attention to the Gaming Capital.  So the LA Family must have gone to the commission for the okay.  It was probably through Chicago because LA and the Cleveland family were close to Chicago.  This was the first of the major killings in gangland done with a shotgun. This is a big deal because there would be a large number of people killed with 22 Cal pistols.  The other killing would come two years later in California and that was when two men in a van blasted turncoat killer Joseph Barboza with a shotgun.

This is just the start of the killings that would come and be connected with the LA Family. The LAPD gave them the name the Mickey Mouse Mafia but they could kill. Louie and Michael Gelfuso have passed away.  Pete Milano passed away.  I just found out that Docjon Deems passed away.  Docjon contacted me years ago and sent me a dvd that he made. He was a facebook friend and his page is still up.

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