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Topic: The Prosecutor, the Feds, the Mob and Aladdin Casino
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El Supremo

With all of the rhetoric surrounding the alleged Rizzo Environmental Bribery extortion case, citizens have every right to be concerned about the impact of corruption on their finances. For far too many years, there have been allegations of corruption and cronyism against our community leaders, politicians, those i the legal profession and even our jurists and the court system. The costs of corruption have put a tremendous burden on those least able to bear it.

Former Prosecutor Robert F. Leonard was called a "rising star" and a "prosecutor on the move" in the 70's. He established a national reputation with programs he established that were copied in other communities. His diversion program, consumer protection, and white collar programs made him a national figure and a sought after speaker.
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:38 am 
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El Supremo

As President of the National District Attorney's Association, he was instrumental in leading delegations of district attorneys to the then Soviet Union on behalf of Soviet Jews.

On the flip side, he was known i his office as a demanding and sometimes abusive boss that was not afraid to drop the "F' bomb in communicating with his staff. He bragged about hiring the best attorneys for his office which gave him the freedom to travel. Indeed, a large number of his former staff went on to be Judges.

He sued at least two Judges for "superintending control" when he disagreed with their decisions on his cases. He seemed to have a running fued with Judge Elsa Papp, but he lost his attempt to force Judge Yeotis to indict a local restaurant owner in a conspiracy case.

The case came about when he sent an undercover operation into another state and his undercover operative was shot i the head but, survived, This case involved Joseph Giacalone and a burglary ring and counterfeit money long before the city approved his 108 federal loan for OK Industries.
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:53 am 
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El Supremo

Hubris was Leonard's downfall. He built powerful friendships in the community and in the District Attorneys Association, some who went on to higher positions in the government. But it was his Tamer, Goldfarb involvement and their mafia associations along with his multiple "comps' for freebies at the Aladdin casino and Hotel that contributed to his federal investigation. He was indicted for embezzlement of $34,000 from his fund for undercover operations . Early news stories estimated losses of $100,000 to $600,000, but that was never proven. Sentenced to 5 years , the judge was angered at attempts to cover up the crimes and added 6 months for contempt.

Actually, this was a far more complex series of investigations and some links to the Hoffa disappearance and mob involvement did not come out for years. Even a top Nevada Supreme Justice was later indicted for corruption.
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:08 pm 
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El Supremo


Richard Zuckerman, partner in Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, and Cohn LLP, was named by Chambers USA as one of Michigan;s leading lawyers in the field of white collar crime and investigations.

He was featured in the Flint Genesee County Legal News in an article written by Sheila Pursglove entitled "Tax fraud subject continues to pique interest of attorney.

His bio features the years between 1974 to 1978 when he was an integral part of the US Department of justice Organized Crime and Racketeering Section and the Detroit Organized Crime Strike Force. He credits these years as a federal investigator and prosecutor for giving him more investigative and trial experience than he would have received i 10 to 15 years in private practice.

On his website, Zuckerman emphasizes his work "supervising a complex, multi-agency investigation " and then prosecuting the criminal case. In his interview he cited the tax evasion cases of Detroit capo Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone and the former Ecorse Police Chief Richard Enright, the first major case in the Eastern District of a police agency providing police protection for illegal gambling.

He was one of three attorneys hat were responsible for investigating the disappearance of former Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa and the hidden mob ownership and influence of the Aladdin Casino and Hotel that eventually led to the prosecution and conviction of Genesee County Prosecutor Robert F. Leonard.
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:43 pm 
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El Supremo

The Federal Prosecutor

An Oakland County Legal news story on September 10, 2014 by Tom Kirvan featured the experience of Rich Rossman as Chief Assistant to the late US Attorney James Robinson. As Chief Assistant Rossman served "lead counsel in the investigation, trial and conviction of Robert Leonard, then the Prosecuting Attorney for Genesee County, for several counts of public corruption,"

Chief of Staff, Criminal Division DOJ 1978-99
Chief Assistant US Attorney Eastern District Michigan 1997-80
Chief Deputy Federal defender EDMI 1972-75
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Oakland County, Michigan 1965-67 1971-72
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:55 pm 
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El Supremo

Kirvan cited Rossman's work on the highly publicized Leonard trial for helping define Rossman's career as a Prosecutor. Calling Leonard "brash and feisty", Rossman said Leonard was convicted of embezzling from funds meant for undercover operations and sentenced to five years. Rossman noted Leonard was also found guilty of contempt of court while trying to conceal evidence of his wrongdoing .

"It was a breach of trust that ruined a career of a longtime and respected county prosecutor", Rossman said, noting Leonard was suspected of stealing up to $600,000. In the interview Rossman called the case a public tragedy that played out in the courtroom.

"Leonard's mother proved to be an unwitting accomplice to his crimes, being called as a defense witness to offer an alibi for his transgressions."
"It was horrendous that he put his mother in a situation like that, but as the prosecutor, I had a duty to cross examine her and to poke holes n their story"
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:25 pm 
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El Supremo

Scott Burnstein has produced a whole series on organized crime in his Gangster Reports. He discussed how the Detroit Mob was unable to gain control of the Riviera Casino, so they focused on the Aladdin and the Frontier.

Burnstein notes how the Riviera was originally built by Detroit mobsters William (lefty Clark) Bishoff and Sam (Sammy Purple) Cohen in 1950 prior to the Nevada Gaming Commission forced them out of their leadership roles. By 1955 the Chicago mafia was said to be in charge of the Riviera.

The New Frontier was owned and developed by a group of west coast businessmen and real estate investors led by Maurice Friedman, a convicted felon and also the Casino and Hotel President. Friedman owned the land the Frontier was built on and the adjacent Silver Slipper Hotel next door.

Chicago mobster and west coast representative John (handsome Johnny) Roselli introduced Friedman to Antony (tony Z) Zerelli and Michael (Big Mike) Polizzi and the Detroit mob had hidden ownership of the Frontier by the early 1960's. The Detroit mob brought in a St Louis mob don Anthony (Tony G) Giordano and the skimming of the profits began. After allegedly stealing $6 million from the frontier in 3 years, the records shoe they sold it to Howard Hughes for $15 million.
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:14 pm 
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El Supremo

Friedman was later caught fixing gin rummy and poker games at the prestigious Beverly Hills Friars Club. He helped the FBI build a skimming and silent ownership case against the mob in return for a reduced sentence.

The next target was the Aladdin. In December of 1971, a Detroit mob associate George George joined with fellow Detroit mob associate and bail bondsman Charles (Chuckie G) Goldfarb (Michigan group) a Missouri investor and a St. Louis group headed by Giordano Associate attorney Sorkis (Sorkie Blue Eyes) Webbe to buy the Aladdin at the reduced price of $5 million.

George, Goldfarb, and Webbe were unable to be licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

George died of natural causes in 1974 and his widow, Mae Ellen George bought a 25% ownership in the Aladdin and applied for a license. Despite objections from members of the gaming commission, she was granted a license.
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:35 pm 
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El Supremo

FBI records show James (Jimmy Eyes) Tamer was running the casino on a daily basis and had the title of Director of Entertainment. He was George's cousin and surrogate brother. Although he was of Lebanese descent, tamer was said to be both liked and trusted as a Detroit mobster . Tamer was unable to be licensed because of a bank robbery conviction.

Tamer reported directly to Detroit Mafia capo Vito (Billy Jack) Giacalone over the affairs in Vegas.

The "skim" duties were assigned to a Detroit "wiseguy" Freddy (The Saint) Salem with the capital Avenue Social Club Crew. Although Lebanese, Salem was a specialist in gambling and had made money for the Detroit Mob for decades. He controlled his own crew and ran junkets to the Aladdin during the 1970's.
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:54 pm 
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El Supremo

Salem used his nephew terry and a subordinate Eddie (baldy) Sarkesian to transfer the skimmed money from the counting room in the Aladdin to Detroit and St. Louis to "chop up".

In order to attempt to be licensed, tamer had to get his conviction expunged.
IRS records were said by Burnstein to show Tamer wined and dined a Genesee
County Prosecutor on multiple visits to the Aladdin i 1975 and 1976. Other news reports allege Prosecutor Leonard was comped 13 times by the Aladdin. Leonard kept a photo showing him and his employee Lee Middleton at the Aladdin.

Former employees of Leonard claim Tamer was eligible to have his record expunged, despite the evidence of Tamer's links to organized crime.

Tamer, Goldfarb and 2 others were convicted in Federal Court in august of 1979 over their maintaining hidden ownership of the Aladdin on behalf of organized crime factions from St Louis and Detroit.

Sorkis Webbe was indicted in a separate racketeering case linked to million dollar kickback scheme that involved the use of teamster Union Pension funds for the expansion of the casino.
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:18 pm 
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El Supremo

Bill Randall, a retired FBI agent, told Burnstein the FBI watched Tamer fly back and forth from Vegas to Detroit, sometimes with Freddy Salem. Tamer usually met with Billy jack at a restaurant where they would talk casino business.

The Aladdin was sold to Wayne Newton in 1980 for $85 million.
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:25 pm 
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El Supremo

43 F2d 422 United States v. Goldfarb | OpenJurist

643 F2d 422 United States v. Goldfarb . ... UNITED STATES of America, ... introduced at trial were between Goldfarb and his co-defendants: James Tamer, ...

Tamer, Goldfarb, Abraham and Monazym appealed their convictions.

Last edited by untanglingwebs on Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:42 pm; edited 2 times in total
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:34 pm 
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El Supremo

This was a lengthy discussion by the Court.


Abraham and Monazym assign error because the trial court held certain in camera proceedings to which they were not admitted. Abraham and Tamer assign error in the admission of evidence of tape recorded conversations and documents tending to prove that Goldfarb and Tamer used their influence with Leonard, the Prosecuting Attorney of Genesee County in local court proceedings which Tamer believed would assist him in securing a license in Nevada.

A special Grand Jury sought to return an indictment against Mr. Leonard which was not signed by the United States Attorney. Chief Judge Kennedy who conducted the in camera proceeding, wrote an opinion ordering the files sealed. The trial judge ordered that the defendants who had not participated in the in camera proceedings be given access to them.

The government had issued a subpoena for the testimony of Mr. Leonard but obtained a stipulation from all defense counsel which obviated the necessity for its production.

We find no abuse of discretion on the part of the trial judge nor any prejudice to Abraham and Monazym (See Opinion Denying Post Trial Motions, (App. 456)), nor was there any abuse of discretion in denying the motions for a severance or Tamer's motion to suppress evidence.

Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:40 pm 
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El Supremo

Mob bust has old LV links - Las Vegas Sun News

Mob bust has old LV links. Rachael Levy. ... Gaming opponents may turn a federal indictment highlighting the Detroit mob's historical ties to Las Vegas into a weapon ...
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:04 pm 
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El Supremo

Mob bust has old LV links

Rachael Levy

Friday, March 15, 1996 | 11:59 a.m.

Gaming opponents may turn a federal indictment highlighting the Detroit mob's historical ties to Las Vegas into a weapon against the casino industry, top Nevada gaming officials said today.

Meanwhile, authorities say the arrests could produce new clues to the disappearance of former Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa.

State Gaming Control Board member Steve DuCharme and Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Bill Curran believe opponents will use Thursday's indictment of top La Cosa Nostra members to discredit casinos.

"Anything with the mob and Las Vegas has a sexy little sizzle to it," DuCharme said. "It's possible they can get a little mileage out of it."

But DuCharme doubted whether the indictment would become an effective weapon against the gaming industry because the references are 20 to 30 years old. Over the protests of gaming officials, Congress is trying to create a national gaming commission to study the effects of casinos on communities.

"Having the story retold yet another time, I suppose, isn't anything that's a positive development for Nevada," Curran said. "But the truth of it is it's the same old story told in another time in another way."

The government indicted 17 top members of Detroit's La Cosa Nostra mob, one of the most active organized crime families, bound tightly through blood and marriage.

The top defendant is 69-year-old alleged mob leader Jack Tocco, who authorities say is one of the most powerful bosses in the country.

The Detroit Free Press reported today that authorities believe the arrests might lead to information that could help solve the July 1975 disappearance of Hoffa.

The authorities, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the newspaper they believe the defendants know what happened to the union boss and might talk to avoid long prison sentences.

Tony Giacalone, 77, was among those arrested. He was one of the men Hoffa was supposed to have met the day the labor leader disappeared.

Agents have said in the past that they believe they know what happened to Hoffa, but lack the evidence to press charges.

The indictment spans 30 years of alleged activity that ranges from plotting murders and corrupting officials to extorting businessmen and infiltrating the Frontier and Aladdin hotel-casinos in Las Vegas and the Edgewater hotel-casino in Laughlin.

Although La Cosa Nostra's "street tax" and resulting violence are the cornerstones of this case, the Justice Department said it chose to mention the 1960s and '70s Las Vegas connections to help prove the criminal enterprise.

But the local reference is short and vague, totaling a page and mentioning three men -- James Tamer, Maurice Friedman and William Pompili -- acting as "fronts" for the mob's hidden casino ownership.

The most notorious of the three is Tamer, now 83, once considered to be so threatening to the gaming industry that he was added to the Black Book in 1988 and forever banned from casinos.

Much of Tamer's unsavory reputation was based on two "chance meetings" in 1976 between him and now-indicted Vito Giacalone, an alleged capo in the Detroit mob, wrote two UNLV professors in "The Black Book and the Mob."

"James Tamer is their man ... on the scene in Las Vegas and asks for reports on earnings, personnel and other important items about the management of the hotel whenever he is in Las Vegas," according to an FBI affidavit quoted by Professors Ronald Farrell and Carole Case.

In 1978, the Control Board denied Tamer a gaming license to serve as executive director of the Aladdin's showroom. That same year, a Michigan grand jury indicted Tamer, the Aladdin and others in connection with the mob's hidden casino ownership. He eventually was convicted for his role in the mob's control of the Aladdin.

"Maury" Friedman's connection to the mob is concrete -- he became a government snitch and testified against Detroit underboss Anthony Zerilli in 1972.

Friedman, who owned the land the Silver Slipper sat on and helped finance the Frontier, admitted that he helped the Detroit mob siphon off a portion of the casino's profits.

Several years earlier, Friedman was convicted in the Friars Club card-cheating case that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Hollywood stars and business magnates.

Friedman, reported to have died in 1980, was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in the rigged gin rummy games. The sentence later was reduced to three years.

William Pompili's connection to the Edgewater is the most unclear.

Ties to the Detroit mob forced the hotel-casino to open in 1981 with some of the stiffest operating restrictions at the time. It was forced to rid itself of its president, treasurer and three Detroit stockholders after the Nevada Gaming Commission discovered ties to the Mafia.

One of the Detroit stockholders was challenged because a brother-in-law "openly" associated with alleged mob boss Tocco, underboss Anthony Zerilli and capo Anthony Giacalone.

SUN REPORTER Jeff German and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Post Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:09 pm 
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