After the Castelamarez War ended in 1931, with the two opposing bosses, Joe "Boss" Maseria and Salvatore Marantzano end up quite dead because of the betrayal of Lucky Luciano, among others, Luciano, along with Jewish Mafia Master Meyer de Lansky – created member of the National Crime Commission, which crosses ethnic lines. There was no head of this committee, but instead the leadership was split equally between Luciano, Lansky, Lansky's follower Benjamin "Buggy" Siegel, Frank Costello, Joe Bonano, Vincent Mangano, Joe "Adonis" Doto, Luis "Lepke" Buchalter , and his right-hand man Jacob "Gura" Shapiro. (The tool fired Dutch Schultz – real name Arthur Fleugenheimer – was not a member of the Commission for this very reason: he was a loose cannon and could not be trusted in his common sense decisions.)
Of course, all corporations need separation of powers within that corporation, while certain people are assigned duties that do not affect the power and duties of other members of that organization. (Don't be fooled, the National Crime Commission runs like a well-oiled machine and really works as an unregistered corporation)
This is where Murder Incorporated came into play.
It was decided that for the good of the National Crime Commission, sometimes unpleasant things had to be done in order to keep the Commission nice and profitable. This included the murder of people who threatened the continuous flow of money into the Commission's coffers. The Commission has decided that they should set up a separate branch of the Commission to be responsible for one thing only: the killing of those people whom the chiefs said should be killed.
Louis Lepke was charged with what the press called Murder Inc., and to assist Lepke in his duties, the Commission appointed Albert Anastasia, nicknamed the Supreme Executioner, as Lepke's right hand man. Lepke would never give a direct order to any of his killers to do the job. Instead, Lepke used trusted men like Mandy Weiss and Luis Capone to issue the final order and decree to the hit men chosen.
By maintaining a level or two of isolation between himself and the actual killers, Lepke realized that nothing could ever be directly nailed to him.
And at first, Lepke was right until he made a fatal mistake.
The first order of business for Lepke and Anastasia was to get a crack team together to do the actual dirty work. Through Louis Capone, who was close to Anastasia, Lepke nourishes a group of murderous maniacs, some of whom are more likely to kill, who breathe Brooklyn's cool clean air. These killers were called the Brownsville Boys. The Brownsville boys were hardly the only murderers hired by Murder Inc., but they were the basis that led to 100 freelance killers being paid a steady weekly salary (from $ 125 and up) to be prepared to kill anyone time when an order was placed. These men were sometimes paid extra for particularly well-done work and were allowed to work in certain areas in the gambling and lending business or in any illegal operation, such as abductions and even abductions. But one thing is for sure: even if a member of Murder Inc. does not kill anyone for a month, two or three, his pay for murder comes constantly every week.
Now let's move on to the cast of Murder Inc. characters
The first and most important was the biggest headache for Lepke: Abe "Kid Twist" Reles. Eliminating the three Shapiro brothers, Mayer, Irving and Willie, Reles, along with his childhood friend Martin Bugsy Goldstein, seized all illegal rockets in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. To do this, Reles turned to help Harry "Happy" Mayone and Frank "Dasher" Abandando from the neighboring Ocean Hill Bullies. Soon, cut-off killers like Harry Pittsburgh Phil Strauss, Vito Gurino and Blue Jaw Magun were taken to the fold, and the Brownsville boys were a really great killer group. The key to their transition from Brownsville to the big time was Louis Capone, apparently a restaurant in Brooklyn that was very close to Albert Anastasia.
When Anastasia, along with Lepke, was entrusted with the Commission to create "Murder Inc.", Anastasia approached Capone and said, "What about Relays and his Brownsville boys? Are these guys capable of doing what needs to be done? No questions asked. "
Capone assured Anastasia that Reles and his boys were stone murderers and that they were effective. The only problem Capone had was that Reles and Mayone, considered number one and number two leaders, hated each other's innards; and they did not trust each other very much.
Despite their minor differences, Reles and Mayone worked as a well-oiled killing machine. Under the leadership of Anastasia and Capone, the murderers of Murder Inc. operated in a way that was almost insane. When assignments were given by homicide bosses across the country, arrangements were made in such a way that finding the actual killers was nearly impossible. The key to their method was the concepts of confirmation and separation of powers. The bosses forced several men to perform different aspects of each job, with one man knowing nothing about the other men and their involvement. Yet each man was so intimately involved in the operation that he would be considered an accomplice, and any corroborating testimony would be useless in court should he ever decide to turn a rat.
For example, let's say Joe Schmoe of Illinois is next on Murder Inc.'s hit list Murder Inc. we will hire one person to steal a getaway car. Then another person will be directed to take as many rifles as they need to work. Then there would be a third person to be the "finger man": the one who would point out Joe Shmoo for the actual shooters. Then, of course, they needed an escape driver and a driver of a "crash car": a legitimately registered car that, when the case was completed, would collide in a chased police car or in the car of an overnight citizen. The reason for the legal car is that the driver of the crashed car could claim that it was just an accident while the shooters fled in the stolen car. (For obvious reasons, it was not a smart idea to crash into a police car with a stolen car.)
The beauty of this routine was that every man involved in the murder would have limited knowledge of the other men involved in the hit. The person who stole the car would not know who bought the weapons or who did the actual shooting, etc. …. etc. ….
Of course, Lepke and Anastasia did not rely entirely on the Brownsville boys to do all their dirty work. Other killers were needed to do various jobs in countless places. One killer was recorded from an unlikely location: the Loch Sheldrake Provincial Club, in the Catskills, in New York.
The Loch Sheldrake Country Club was owned by Sam Tanenbaum, who for the first time owned an Orchard Street grocery store in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The Loch Sheldrake Country Club was a ritual establishment and housed many wealthy Jewish families for their summer vacations. Of course, Lepke and his crew were well represented at Loch Sheldrake. Those gangsters who rubbed elbows with legitimate Jewish businessmen included Lepke, his partner Jacob "Gura" Shapiro, Shimi Salsa, a rocket launcher for Lepke, Curley Holtz, a labor racket, and Big Harry Greenberg, who was partners with Lepke and Shapiro in various scams at the Clothing Center.
Gura Shapiro, a gorilla with thick breasts on a man, was himself quite a hero and also quite capable, like Lepke, of pulling the trigger when needed. Whenever Shapiro was angry, and often was, his favorite saying was "Get out of here." Yet, with his gravelly voice, the phrase sounded like "Gura is nowhere". Therefore, his friends gave him the nickname Shapiro Gura.
Sam Tanenbaum had a teenage son named Ali, who eventually took care of his alternate when Sam decided to retire. Sam Tanenbaum rented Ali at his hotel, either waiting tables or lounging by the lake. Sam also did not pay Ali a penny for his work to ensure that Ali did not disappear in his old pursuits in the Lower East Side of Manhattan until the summer season was over. As the owner's son, the Jewish gangsters invited Ali Tanenbaum to all their parties, and Ali got a fresh taste of what it is like to be around people who constantly ring coins in their pockets. This made him suspicious of their world of murder and grievous defeat.
One day, after the summer season of 1931 ended at Loch Sheldrake, Tanenbaum was walking down Broadway in Manhattan when he bumped into Big Harry Greenberg.
Greenberg asked Tannenbaum, "Do you want a job?"
"I could use it if it paid," Tanenbaum said.
Greenberg smiled. "This one is for Lepke. You know what the job will be."
Tanenbaum shrugged and said that he would do whatever it took to earn some fantastic money so he could spread it around like his Jewish gangster idols.
Little did Greenberg know that he was hiring one of his would-be assassins.
Tannenbaum started working for Lepke, initially for $ 35 a week. His work included common tasks such as dropping, destroying blows and throwing stink bombs where they had to be thrown. Later, Tannenbaum completed more important duties, such as "shame", which meant that he was "ashamed" or broke the heads of union workers who did not drag Lepke's line.
As production increased, Tannenbaum's salary increased. In short, Tanenbaum was intimately involved in six homicides and helped to dispose of the body of a seven homicide victim. As a result of his "bone-breaking" at the homicide squad, Tannenbaum began rowing an impressive $ 125 a week; more than all summer at his father's resort. Because of Tanenbaum's summer location in the Catskills, Tanenbaum's work was mostly about killings and blackmail in New York. Tanenbaum was a valuable asset for Lepke in Sullivan County, as Tanenbaum was familiar with the back roads and the many lakes where bodies could be dumped. In the winter, Tanenbaum and his family vacationed in Florida, where Tanenbaum worked as a strong-arm man in several of Lepke's gambling joints.
In the early 1930s, Lepke added another valuable asset to Murder Inc. when he hired Charlie "The Bug" Workman.
The "Bug" was born in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1908, the second of six children born to Samuel and Anna Watman. Workman dropped out of grade 9 and started wandering the streets of the Lower East Side looking for problems. When he was 18, Workman was arrested for the first time for stealing $ 12 worth of cotton thread from a truck parked on Broadway. Since this was his first crime, Workman came down with ordinary probation. The following year, Workman was arrested for shooting a man behind the ear over someone who owes $ 20. At that point, Workman's reputation on the street was such that the man he shot refused to testify against him and even stated that he could not truly identify Workman as the shooter. Mixed, the cops pulled out his file and decided that Robotman had conditionally violated his release from cotton theft. As a result, Workman was sent to the Reformed State of New York. Over the next few years, Workman was in and out of jail for such liberation violations as associating with "dubious characters" and "failing to find a job."
In 1926, Wardman enrolled as a freelance breaker or slammer for breakthrough activities at the Lepke union strike. Workman did such a good job, in the early 1930s, Lepke put Workman on his permanent salary of $ 125 a week as a killer for Lepke & # 39; s Murder Incorporated machine. Lepke liked Workman's cool demeanor, and after Workman made a few outstanding "hits" for Lepke, Lepke gave him the nickname "The Bug" because one had to be crazy to kill with the calm Workman squad shown while performing his scary tasks. Workman's other nickname, Handsome Charlie, was given to him by representatives of the opposite sex.
Over the next few years, Workman also had problems with the law. In 1932 he was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. In 1933, Robotman was arrested again for loading an off-duty police officer after a minor vacuum cleaner on the move. All the while, his specialty was killing whom Lepke said he should be killed. After being hit, Workman enjoyed the real advantage of "sweeping the pockets" of his victims. Most of the time, Workman was earning an extra thousand dollars or so for his efforts. And one time, he even found a $ 10,000 bonus in his pants pocket of some poor bastard he'd just hit.
The Murder of Lepke Inc. don't limit your exploits in the New York area. In fact, Murder Incorporated eventually hired anywhere from 150-200 murderers across America, and it has been reported that these murderers may have committed up to 800-1000 murders from the late 20's to the death of Murder Incorporated in the early part of The 40's.