The Politics of Ignorance and the ART of Exploitation

Part of the Studies of Organized Crime book series (SOOC, volume 2)


Organize Crime Gang Member Organize Crime Group District Attorney Black Power Movement 
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  1. 1.
    For a substantive analysis of these initiatives, including a discussion of the economic and demographic trends predating the 1960s community development push, see Ronald W. Bailey (ed.), Black Business Enterprise: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (New York, Basic Books, 1971).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jon C. Teaford, The Twentieth-Century American City: Problem, Promise, and Reality (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), p. 136.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid., p. 138Google Scholar
  4. 4.
  5. 5.
    Tom Wolfe, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers (New York: Noonday Press, 1970), pp. 119–120.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Tamar Jacoby, Someone Else’s House: America’s Unfinished Struggle for Integration (New York: Basic Books, 1998), p. 19.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ibid., p. 20.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ibid., p. 122.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
  10. 10.
  11. 11.
    For background into the Ford Foundation’s decision-making process regarding the funding of race initiatives, see Jacoby, p. 183–184.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Jacoby, 122. quoting from Jack Newfield’s Robert Kennedy: A Memoir (New York: Dutton, 1969).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wolfe, pp. 122.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ibid., pp. 123.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Michael R. Blood, “An Odd Nod For Freddy,” Daily News (New York), September 6, 2001, p. 4. As of 1989, Carson had not lost his edge. When asked about anti-Semitic comments he made in the 1960s, Carson replied “I’m anti-white. I don’t limit my antis to just being one little group of people, and I think you would insult me if you tried to do that.”Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ibid. Jacoby, p. 163Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    William Kleinknecht, The New Ethnic Mobs: The Changing Face of Organized Crime in America (New York: The Free Press, 1996), p. 231; and Rufus Schatzberg and Robert J. Kelly, African American Organized Crime: A Social History (New York: Garland, 1996), p. 201, place this figure at $1 million.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wolfe, p. 141.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Malcolm W. Klein, The American Street Gang: Its Nature, Prevalence, and Control (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 83.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Howard Abadinsky, Organized Crime second edition (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1985), pp. 289–291.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Dennis Clark, “Urban Blacks and Irishmen: Brothers in Prejudice,” in Miriam Ershkowitz and Joseph Zikmund II (eds.), Black Politics in Philadelphia (New York: Basic Books, Inc. Publishers, 1973), p 25. By the end of the 1960s, there were only three African-American city councilmen out of seventeen.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Peter Binzen, “Bowser is an Old Hand at Playing the Political Game in Philadelphia,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 13, 1991.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Andrew Cassel, “Painful Adjustments Lie Ahead for Phila., But to What Result?” The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 3, 1999.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Harry A. Bailey, Jr., “Poverty, Politics, and Administration: The Philadelphia Experience,” in Ershkowitz and Zikmund, p. 168.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Zikmund Ibid., p. 169.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Zikmund., p. 169 Ibid..Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Zikmund Bailey, p. 170. For a detailed analysis of PAAC’s organizational and financial structures, see pp. 170–185.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Incorporation data contained in OCU Black Mafia files. I have been unable to identify when CYUD formally ceased operations. The last reference to CYUD in the intelligence files is contained in the OCU’s “Investigation of James Fox,” December 14, 1973. Fox was still active in the “organization” at that time.Google Scholar
  29. 30.
    Jane M. Von Bergen, “A Fugitive for 13 Years, Phila. Man Held in Killing of Camden Contractor,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 20, 1986, Local, p. B02.Google Scholar
  30. 31.
    Camden, New Jersey Police Department, supplementary offense report (homicide arson), “Interview with source,” November 13, 1973, p. 1.Google Scholar
  31. 32.
    Von Bergen, p. B02.Google Scholar
  32. 33.
    Camden, New Jersey Police Department, supplementary offense report (homicide arson), “Interview with source,” November 17, 1973, p. 1.Google Scholar
  33. 34.
    Camden, New Jersey Police Department, Detective Division, memo regarding information received from the FBI, November 8, 1973.Google Scholar
  34. 35.
    Camden, New Jersey Police Department, supplementary offense report (homicide arson), “Interview with source,” November 17, 1973, p. 1. Also see The Associated Press, “Man Held for 1973 Murder,” The Bergen Record, November 21, 1986, p. A15.Google Scholar
  35. 36.
    Camden, New Jersey Division of Fire, “Fire Investigation Report — 564 Division Street,” October 29, 1973.Google Scholar
  36. 37.
    Confiscated documents; contained in the Strike Force’s “Intelligence Summary, Black Organized Crime, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” n.d.Google Scholar
  37. 38.
    Confiscated documents; contained in the Strike Force’s “Intelligence Summary, Black Organized Crime, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” n.d.Google Scholar
  38. 39.
    DEA report, “Vernon Earl WALDEN/ Larris FRAZIER ORGANIZATION: West Philadelphia; 60th and Pine Streets/60th and Market Streets,” n.d.Google Scholar
  39. 40.
    Incorporation data contained in OCU Black Mafia files.Google Scholar
  40. 41.
    Joe O’Dowd, “70s Drug Gang Figure Found Murdered,” Philadelphia Daily News, January 23, 1986, Local, p. 4.Google Scholar
  41. 43.
    John F. Morrison, “‘Black Mafia’ Was Short-Lived,” Philadelphia Daily News, January 24, 1986, Local, p. 4.Google Scholar
  42. 44.
    OCU debriefing report, “Black Mafia Notes,” September 24, 1973, p. 1Google Scholar
  43. 45.
    Earl Vann, an African-American deeply involved in politics and civil rights, was elected to an at-large Council seat in 1975 and became a South Philadelphia Democratic leader. He later served in the state House of Representatives for three consecutive terms before he suffered an irreversible political setback by supporting Frank Rizzo’s mayoral bid in 1978. Vann died on October 23, 1985 at age 72. Douglas A. Campbell, “Earl K. Vann, 72, Leader of South Phila. Democrats,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 26, 1985.Google Scholar
  44. 47.
    Paul Dandridge served as a Municipal Court judge from 1968 to 1973, and served for the Court of Common Pleas from 1974 to 1984. He was chief of community rights as an Assistant District Attorney under D.A. Arlen Specter (R) prior to becoming a judge. In the early 1970s, Dandridge was considered as a potential Republican candidate for mayor. Later, D.A. Ed Rendell called him “too lenient” on the bench when he advocated things like the legalization of heroin. He was especially known for “Dandridge Specials,” which were cases in which Dandridge refused to adjudicate juveniles with extensive criminal histories delinquent. One noteworthy case had a twelve year-old accrue 27 arrests before Dandridge ruled him delinquent. In 1982, Specter supported Dandridge for the post of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District before being removed from consideration when he failed the requisite FBI background check. Though numerous news articles have been written about the Specter-Dandridge bid, the reason for the FBI concerns has never been disclosed. One common speculation revolves around a 1972 testimonial dinner, organized by two lawyers who had appeared before him 54 times. The dinner raised $23,500 for Dandridge’s personal use, and the matter was later taken up by the State Supreme Court which ordered him to turn the money over to the state. In 1975, the Court’s Judicial Inquiry and Review Board wrote, “The acceptance of the said proceeds by Judge Dandridge for his own personal use gave the appearance of impropriety and was improper.” See Larry Eichel, “U.S. Senators at Odds on Prosecutor,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 5, 1981, p. B01. As Eichel points out, “Ironically, the speaker at the dinner was Arlen Specter, who was then Philadelphia’s District Attorney.” Beginning on August 17, 1983, Dandridge began serving part-time as the city’s bailmaster. Philadelphia’s prison system was under a court order to reduce its prison population, and Dandridge would conduct hearings to identify non-violent persons eligible for bail in the hopes of releasing them to ameliorate the overcrowding problem. Dandridge, 75, as of 2002 is still listed in business and political ventures, including serving: on the board of directors for First Chesapeake Financial Corp.; as chairman of Philadelphia Health Management Corp.; as a Temple University trustee. The following sources, among others, have been utilized in the above summary on Dandridge’s professional history. Elliot Jaspin, “Judge Dandridge: Discretion vs. Delinquency,” Philadelphia Daily News, September 23, 1981, p. 22; Larry Eichel, “Impasse Broken: City Judge in Line to be U.S. Attorney,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 7, 1981, p. A01; Susan Bennett, “Search On Again for U.S. Attorney,” Philadelphia Daily News, July 21, 1982, p. 12; Linn Washington, “34 Released to Cut Crowd in City Prisons,” Philadelphia Daily News, October 2, 1984, p. 5; H.G. Bissinger and Daniel R. Biddle, “Party and Family Ties Shape the Payroll,” fourth in the series “Memo: Disorder in the Court,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 29, 1986, p. A01; and Joseph N. DiStefano, “The Philadelphia Inquirer Loose Change Column,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 19, 2000.Google Scholar
  45. 48.
    Author’s interview of “Patrick Kelly”, taped interview with confidential source. Also see, for example, Strike Force’s “Intelligence Summary, Black Organized Crime — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” n.d.Google Scholar
  46. 50.
    See, for example, OCU debriefing report, “Information from informant,” February 6, 1974.Google Scholar
  47. 51.
    Philadelphia Police Department Intelligence Unit debriefing report, “Black B Incorporated,” February 13, 1973, p. 1. I have tried unsuccessfully to identify the politicians to whom the Reverend referred. As I have stated above, the clear backers were Councilmen Thomas Foglietta and Earl Vann, and Court of Common Pleas Judge Paul Dandridge. Beyond these three figures, I have been unable to identify political figures who assisted the Black Mafia in getting government funds.Google Scholar
  48. 52.
    Andy Wallace, “Rev. Muhammad Kenyatta, Activist,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 7, 1992, Local, p. B05.Google Scholar
  49. 53.
    Author’s interview with “Joseph Vincent”; and Morrison, “‘Black Mafia’ Was Short-Lived,” p. 4.Google Scholar
  50. 54.
    United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Eugene Baynes v. United States Parole Commission and Warden of Otisville Federal Correctional Institution, No. 86 Civ. 7075, September 9, 1988.Google Scholar
  51. 55.
    BNDD, Philadelphia, PA regional office, “debriefing report,” September 18, 1969.Google Scholar
  52. 56.
    Commonwealth v. Fairbanks, No. 469, Jan. T., 1971, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 453 Pa. 90; 306 A.2d 866, July 2, 1973.Google Scholar
  53. 57.
    Strike Force’s “Intelligence Summary, Black Organized Crime — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” n.d., p. 4.Google Scholar
  54. 58.
    Ibid., p. 5.Google Scholar
  55. 59.
    Author’s interview with “Connor Jamison”.Google Scholar
  56. 60.
    From 1965–1967, the NYSP sponsored a series of conferences in Albany focused on combating the “Mafia”. As Dwight C. Smith, Jr. states, the meetings “sustained a network of law-enforcement personnel who had been principal supporters [of the “Cosa Nostra”, alien conspiracy hypothesis].” The Mafia Mystique (New York: Basic Books, 1975), p. 220.Google Scholar
  57. 61.
    New York Times, July 24, 1970, p. 18, cited in Smith, p. 324.Google Scholar
  58. 62.
    Federal Bureau of Investigation, AIRTEL, SAC, Los Angeles to the Acting Director, FBI, May 12, 1972. This memorandum is included in the Bureau’s Freedom of Information Act file (#92–13267) on Jerry Quarry.Google Scholar
  59. 63.
    See Amanda J. Schreiber, “Dealing with the Devil: An Examination of the FBI’s Troubled Relationship With its Confidential Informants,” Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, vol. 34 (2001), pp. 301–368. The particular analysis of Bulger and Flemmi appears in pp. 330–340.Google Scholar
  60. 64.
    Associated Press, “Ex-FBI Agent Sentenced for Tipping Off Mobsters,” The Washington Post, September 17, 2002, p. A2.Google Scholar
  61. 65.
    See Jay Lindsay, “Ex-agent on trial in mob case,” The Philadelphia Inquirer (Associated Press), May 9, 2002.Google Scholar
  62. 66.
    Associated Press, “Ex-FBI Agent”. Connolly “took bribes from Bulger... tipped him off to government investigations and provided information that led to the killings of rival gangsters.” Fox Butterfield, “Ex-F.B.I. Agent Sentenced for Helping Mob Leaders,” The New York Times, September 17, 2002. Connolly was convicted in May 2002 of racketeering, obstruction of justice and lying to an FBI agent for tipping off Bulger and Flemmi to investigations and warning them of a coming indictment in 1995. Bulger fled and remains a fugitive on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list, while Flemmi is serving ten years for money laundering, extortion and obstruction. As of September 2002, Flemmi is awaiting trial for his role in ten murders, all committed while he was an FBI informant. Connolly was sentenced to ten years in prison, the maximum under federal sentencing guidelines. He is also being sued, as is the FBI, for their supposed roles in the murders of 22 people Bulger and Flemmi have been charged with killing. Lawsuits against the FBI relating to the Connolly/Bulger/Flemmi scandal total approximately $2 billion. For the most comprehensive analysis, see Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, Black Mass: The Irish Mob, The FBI, and a Devil’s Deal (New York: Public Affairs [Perseus], 2000).Google Scholar
  63. 67.
    Fox Butterfield, “F.B.I. Covered Up for Boston Mobsters, Lawsuits Assert,” The New York Times, May 31, 2002. Two of the four innocent men died in prison, a third had his sentence commuted after serving 30 years in prison, and the fourth was released in 2002.Google Scholar
  64. 68.
    Robert Alan Goldberg, Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001, p. 240), states “Those distant from power may sense a loss of control, stripped of authority over the basic decisions that shape their lives... For many, conspiracy thinking proves an antidote to powerlessness.”Google Scholar
  65. 69.
    OCU debriefing report, “Information Re: Black Mafia,” November 7, 1973, p. 1.Google Scholar
  66. 70.
    Listed among the targets was the legendary numbers operator Caesar Nelson.Google Scholar
  67. 71.
    Philadelphia Police Department, Organized Crime Unit, memo, “December 18, 1973”, in the Black Mafia files.Google Scholar
  68. 73.
    Daniel Bell, The End of Ideology (Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press, 1988), pp. 127–150. Also see, for example, Desmond Cartey, “How Black Enterprises Do Their Thing: An Odyssey Through Ghetto Capitalism,” in Glenn Jacobs (ed.), The Participant Observer (New York: George Braziller, 1970), pp. 19–47; and Roger Lane, Roots of Violence in Black Philadelphia, 1860–1900 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  69. 74.
    See, for example, Mark H. Haller, “Urban Crime and Criminal Justice: The Chicago Case,” The Journal of American History, vol. 57, no. 3 (December 1970), pp. 619–635.Google Scholar
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    Francis A.J. Ianni, Black Mafia: Ethnic Succession in Organized Crime (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974), p.325.Google Scholar
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    See, for example, James M. O’Kane, The Crooked Ladder: Gangsters, Ethnicity, and the American Dream (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1992), pp. 132–135. O’Kane provides an analysis of the “Gangster’s Social Honor”, including the case of legendary Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson circa 1967–68. Also see St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton, Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993 [1945]), pp. 470–494.Google Scholar
  72. 77.
    More recently, Elijah Anderson, Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999), pp. 132–133, re-stated this finding in his ethnographic work in Philadelphia. He stated: People residing in the drug-infested, depressed inner-city community may understand the economic need for the drug trade. Many residents have become demoralized yet often try to coexist with it, rationalizing that the boys who deal drugs are not necessarily bad boys but are simply doing what they think they need to do to make money ⋯ Many have come to believe the police and the public officials don’t care about their communities, and this belief encourages them to give up any hope of doing something about the drug trade. As a result, they condemn the dealing but also tolerate it.Google Scholar
  73. 78.
    Francis A.J. Ianni Black Mafia: Ethnic Succession in Organized Crime (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974), p. 323.Google Scholar
  74. 79.
    ATF, “debriefing report,” November 5, 1973.Google Scholar
  75. 81.
    This argument holds for other ethnic organized crime groups as well. Some have posited the reason law enforcement did not respond appropriately to Philadelphia’s Black Mafia lies in a bias against minorities since the vast majority of their victims were African-Americans. White it is nearly impossible to entirely diseount this line of reasoning as a researcher. I have interviewed many people in and out of the criminal justice system who each dismiss this as a possibility. One of the many confounding variable to such logic revolves around the fundamental, albeit informal, reward system peers (i.e. merit raises, bonuses, etc.), police administrators must find creative ways to promote positive activities. See, for example, Samuel Walker, The Police in America (3nd edition (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999). and John Crank, Understanding Police Culture (Cincinnali: Anderson Publishing, 1998). These may include honors, awards, citations, etc. and other public events that acknowledge, and thus promote, appropriate. Another tactic is to pay officers overtime for court appearances. This has been the dominant strategy in Philadelphia for some time. The logic is simple — arrest (generally positive police actions) lead to court appearances which lead to overtime pay. The notion of law enforcers ignoring criminal activities (and thus arrests) for racist reasons (i.e. the officers were predominantly white and the complainants were predominantly African-American) goes against this logic, and supposes that officers working in minority neighborhoods are willing to sacrifice substantial financial sums because of bias. In the case of Philadelphia’s Black Mafia, this is even more difficult to fathom, considering the high-profile nautre of the cirmes they conmitted, and the peer-status increase and financial windfalls that awaited the arresting officers(s).Google Scholar
  76. 83.
    James Nicholson, “Philadelphia’ Black Maifa,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, TODAY, August 12, 1973, p. T-11.Google Scholar
  77. 84.
    “The Underworld on the Brink of War, Part 1 — The Muslim Mob Gets It On,” Philadelphia Magazine, November 1973, p. 126. Nicholson was quoting and anomymous white politician.Google Scholar
  78. 85.
    Author’s interview with “John P. Gallagher”.Google Scholar
  79. 86.
    Morrison, “‘Black Mafia’ Was Short-Lived,” p. 4.Google Scholar
  80. 87.
    Fora detailed discussion of the political power of Philadelphia’s African-American community, particularly in the 1960s and early 1970s, see Ershkowitz and Zikmund’s Black Politics in Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  81. 88.
    Author’s interview with Jim Nicholson.Google Scholar
  82. 89.
    Taped interview of confidential source, September 4, 1973.Google Scholar

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