37°F
weather icon Clear
app-logo
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Part Three

Claim to Fame

‘Mobbed Up’ podcast: ‘Claim to Fame — Part 3’

Updated June 2, 2020 - 1:35 pm

A string of gunshots rattled the Chicago suburb of Elmwood Park in the early morning hours of April 26, 1962.

Two brothers, Phillip and Ronald Scavo, and a woman, Lydia Abshire, had been ambushed while exiting a bar, chased down by car after attempting to drive away and shot to death.

Elmwood Park was the mob’s home turf, as former mob associate Frank Cullotta recalls, and this apparent gangland execution had not been authorized by the mafia.

Frank Cullotta
Anthony “the Ant” Spilotro

“That’s a no-no,” Cullotta says. “Elmwood Park was controlled by the Chicago Outfit.”

When Cullotta heard about the murders on the radio that morning, he knew immediately who was responsible — he says he had told them where to find his guns the night before.

It has to do with agreeing to an oath to the group, to this secret society, that supersedes any family obligations.

Geoff Schumacher, Mob Museum Vice President of Exhibits and Programs

‘Mobbed Up, Part 3’: ‘Claim to Fame’

The third episode of “Mobbed Up,” available now, details the path taken by reputed Las Vegas mob enforcer Tony Spilotro to become a ‘made’ member of the Chicago Outfit.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what being a ‘made man’ is, and why it’s important,” Mob Museum Vice President of Exhibits and Programs Geoff Schumacher says on the episode. “It has to do with agreeing to an oath to the group, to this secret society, that supersedes any family obligations.”

As Cullotta recalls, the unauthorized 1962 triple murder in Elmwood Park handed Spilotro an opportunity to prove his loyalty to the Chicago Outfit by tracking down the killers.

“That was Tony’s claim to fame,” Cullotta says.

Where and how to listen

“Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas” is available for free on all major podcasting platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more.

Search for “Mobbed Up” on your preferred mobile podcasting app and tap “subscribe” or “follow,” or click here to listen to the series on the Review-Journal website.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Related
 
Tony Spilotro and the mystery of Lake Mead’s body in a barrel

Two experts at Las Vegas’ Mob Museum hypothesize that the ruthless enforcer killed one of three men with mob ties who disappeared decades ago without a trace.

Aladdin’s Curse

It was the final chapter of the troubled Las Vegas Strip resort controlled by the mob two decades earlier, then rescued by a big-name entertainer only to fall into ruin.

A Judge Falls From Grace

Harry Claiborne — the Nevada judge who stood up to prosecutors fighting the mob — was charged with bribery and filing false tax returns, and was the first federal judge to be impeached by the House.

Wayne Newton’s ‘Nightmare’

Newton wound up suing NBC for libel, and even tied his nemesis, Johnny Carson, into what became a decade-long litigation after a news report by Brian Ross.

Threats, Bombs and Stings

Nevada Governor Robert List was embarking on one of the most critical tasks in the history of the state — breaking the mob’s grip on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.

Wayne Newton vs. Johnny Carson

Wayne Newton and Johnny Carson, two of the biggest stars in the entertainment world, both set their sights on buying the Aladdin after regulators stripped the resort’s owners of their gaming licenses.

‘Close the Place Down’

State gaming control agents were on the Las Vegas Strip preparing to take unprecedented enforcement action to shut down the casino of the mob-ridden Aladdin Hotel.

Jimmy Hoffa’s role in developing Las Vegas

Jimmy Hoffa and his friends in the mob played a big role in developing Las Vegas through their control over the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund, and the millions of dollars in loans it extended to casinos.

‘Mobbed Up’ podcast: ‘Strawman — Part 8’

Part 8 of ‘Mobbed Up’ tells the story of the start of the FBI’s Strawman investigation, through electronic surveillance audio and interviews with former members of law enforcement in Kansas City.

‘Mobbed Up’ podcast: ‘Open City — Part 4’

This installment of “Mobbed Up” delves into the history of organized crime in Las Vegas from the 1930s up to the 1960s and sets the stage for the arrival of Frank Cullotta and Tony Spilotro in the 1970s.