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The Iron Range Mafia


Organized crime in Minneapolis first attracted national attention in 1903 when mobster Mayor Doc Ames (1842-1911) was exposed by Lincoln Steffens in the book, The Shame of the Cities. Steffens account and subsequent trials revealed a police department recruited from ex-felons shaking down the Minneapolis underworld on the Mayor’s behalf. Ames later fled the state, spending a short period as a fugitive before being arrested and extradited to Minnesota. He was convicted of receiving a bribe and sentenced to six years in prison after his death. His sentence was later appealed and overturned.

In 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution transformed American crime, shaping small-time hoodlums into major organized crime figures. In Minneapolis, the underworld was dominated by local gangs of the Irish mob, flanked by Jewish gangsters, and corrupt cops and politicians from the Republican, Democratic, and Farmer-Labor Parties.

Romanian-Jewish immigrant Isadore Blumenfeld, alias Kid Cann (1900-1981), was changed overnight from a nickel-and-dime pimp and bookmaker from the Northside, Minneapolis into a respected godfather with close ties to both the Chicago Outfit and the Genovese crime family. Assisted by his brothers Jacob and Harry, Kid Cann’s “Minneapolis Combination” dealt in bootleg booze, trucking distribution routes, illegal gambling, and real estate deals throughout the American Sun Belt. He was the most notorious gangster in the city’s history.

Rival crime families were run by David Berman, Thomas W. Banks, and “Big Ed” Morgan. These gangsters tended to cooperate on business and avoid turf wars by appealing to the mediation of the National Commission. In the process, Minneapolis became a major center of bootleg booze, gambling, brothels, and unbridled corruption.

Deuce Casper(1936-2003) was a Baldy street gang founder and boss. In Minneapolis, during Casper’s time, more than 1,000 thugs roamed the streets from 1955 to 1975, creating mayhem and fear. Casper robbed banks, jewelry stores, and armored cars, while his associates robbed commercial businesses and ran large drug-dealing operations.

The most notable Baldy was Perry (The Scholar) Millik (1944 – 2003), who ran commercial burglary rings and drug-manufacturing houses, was involved in widespread real estate frauds and was the front man for real estate purchases for the infamous Alexander Brothers (porn and prostitution kings).

Currently, the Capra/Patterson syndicate controls all nationally organized crime activities in the Twin Cities. Gambling is their primary source of income, and they are sanctioned to work under the auspices of the old Genovese Mafia Family from New York City. (2011)

See alsoCrime in Minnesota ReferencesBook: Minneapolis Organized Crime (1900-2000)

David “Davie the Jew” Berman (1903, Odessa, Russian Empire – 1957, Las Vegas, Nevada) was a Jewish-American organized crime figure in Iowa, New York City, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was also one of the pioneers of gambling in Las Vegas, Nevada. Berman was a partner with Bugsy Siegel at the Flamingo Hotel and one of the few mobsters of his era to die a natural death (death during surgery.)

Contents [hide] 1 Early life 2 Gangster 3 World War II 4 Las Vegas 5 Family 6 References 7 Further reading

Early life Berman was born into a Jewish family in Odessa, Ukraine, at that time in the Russian Empire. His father was a former rabbinical student who played the violin. When he was a young child, his father departed for America and settled in Ashley, North Dakota,[1] on land provided by Baron Maurice de Hirsch’s Jewish Colonization Association. Mr. Berman then sent for his wife and children. Davie’s mother was reportedly horrified after getting off the train and realizing that they had exchanged the warmth of Odessa for the icy cold of the Great Plains.

Gangster after failing on the land, the Bermans moved to Sioux City, Iowa, where David got his start as a mobster. At the age of 13, he ran a crew of teenaged thugs committing petty shakedowns and eventually a string of illegal distilleries. He then went on to run his own bank-robbing crew. After developing close ties to the Genovese crime family, he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he operated a major bookmaking operation in rivalry with local mob bosses Kid Cann and Tommy Banks. One of Berman’s closest enforcers during those years was Israel “Ice Pick Willie” Alderman, a homicidal Jewish gangster from North Minneapolis. His brother, “Chickie” Berman, also worked for him.

Due to his close relationship with Minneapolis mayor Marvin L. Kline, Berman briefly eclipsed his rivals as boss of the Minneapolis gambling rackets.

According to his daughter, Susan, Berman also used his crew to intimidate and terrorize members of the pro-Nazi Silver Shirts, driving them out of Minneapolis.

World War II Persecution of his fellow Jews enraged Berman so much that he enlisted in the Canadian Army. He had previously been turned away by the U.S. military as a convicted felon. In addition, Pearl Harbor had not yet brought the U.S. into World War II. He saw combat in the European Theater with the 18th Armoured Car Regiment (12th Manitoba Dragoons), a reconnaissance outfit, along with Minnesota friend Nathan Gittlewich. Berman was well liked, and fellow troopers did not know of his criminal background.

Las VegasAfter his return to Minneapolis, Davie’s gambling operations were shattered during the first term of racket busting Mayor Hubert Humphrey. Berman moved his crew to Las Vegas and operated there in concert with Genovese Family associate Moe Sedway,

Almost immediately after the assassination of Bugsy Siegel, Sedway and Berman walked into the lobby of the The Flamingo and announced that they were in charge. Berman died on the operating table during surgery to remove polyps from his colon on Father’s Day, 1957.

Family While he lived in Minneapolis, Berman met and married Gladys Ewald, a German-American dancer who later converted to Judaism. Their only child, daughter Susan Berman, wrote a memoir about growing up as Las Vegas mob royalty titled Easy Street (1981, ’83). In her memoir, Susan indicates she knew little of her father’s past until an acquaintance brought to her attention the mentions of her father in the book The Green Felt Jungle. Gladys Berman died shortly after Davie Berman at age 39 of an overdose of barbiturates, although it is unclear whether it was suicide or a mob murder for refusing to give up Davie Berman’s shares in the Flamingo for pennies on the dollar.

Isadore Blumenfeld (Alias Kid Cann) Born (1900-09-08) September 8, 1900 Râmnicu Sarat, Romania Died June 21, 1981(1981-06-21) (aged 80) Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States Cause Heart disease Alias(es) Kid Cann Status Deceased Occupation Mobster Isadore Blumenfeld (September 8, 1900 – June 21, 1981), commonly known as Kid Cann, was a Jewish-American organized crime figure based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for over four decades and remains the most notorious mobster in the history of Minnesota. The power and influence he held in Minneapolis were often compared to that of Al Capone in Chicago and were associated with several high-profile crimes in the city’s history, including his alleged involvement in the murder of a cab driver and the attempted murders of police officer James H. Trepanier and newspaperman Walter Liggett. He is also thought to have participated in the dismantling of the Twin City Lines street railway during the early 1950s.

Blumenfeld was convicted of violating the Mann Act in 1959 and, after a short prison term, retired to Miami Beach, Florida, where he and Meyer Lansky operated a real estate empire. He was involved in organized crime in Miami Beach and Havana, Cuba, until his death.[1]

Contents [hide] 1 Biography 1.1 Early life 1.2 Prohibition 1.3 Heyday 1.4 The Liggett murder 1.5 Notoriety 1.6 Conviction and imprisonment 1.7 Later years and death 2 Folklore 3 See also 4 References 5 Further reading

Biography Early life Isadore Blumenfeld was born in 1900 in the Romanian shtetl of Râmnicu Sarat, Buzau County, to a Jewish family. According to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service documents, his parents emigrated to America in 1902 via the port of Duluth, Minnesota. His father, a furrier, settled the family in Near North, Minneapolis. During childhood, Isadore had to leave school and support his family by selling newspapers on Minneapolis’s “Newspaper Row.” [2] At the time, the best selling locations had to be held by force against gangs of other boys. Kid Cann would also tell stories of how he had made extra money picking up bus tokens and reselling them. Enraged by the poverty of his family, he turned to running errands for the pimps and madams of Minneapolis’s red light district.

Prohibition With the onset of Prohibition, Kid Cann and his brothers were transformed from small time hoods into major figures in the American Mafia. His ties to the Chicago Outfit and New York’s Genovese crime family date back to the Prohibition period.

According to a later trial, they would legally import industrial grade alcohol from Canada, ostensibly for their perfume factory, and divert it to their illegal distilleries in the forests near Fort Snelling. Also, according to the book Minnesota 13, [3] Kid Cann and his brothers made frequent trips to Stearns County, Minnesota to purchase the area’s legendary moonshine from local farmers. Some was disposed of in the Twin Cities, but most of it was sold to the Chicago Outfit, which was then bossed by Al Capone. The same book also alleges that the Blumenfelds owned a lake side cabin near Melrose, Minnesota.

By his 20s, Blumenfeld and his brothers, Harry Bloom and Yiddy Bloom (their family name had been changed by this time) held considerable power over the Jewish neighborhoods in North Minneapolis and oversaw illegal activities such as bootlegging, prostitution, and labor racketeering.[2] According to Twin Cities crime reporter Paul Maccabee, Kid Cann’s rivalry with Minneapolis’s Irish Mob ended after he and Irish Mob boss Tommy Banks divided their territories with a handshake.

Heyday A number of deaths are attributed to him and his gang, including journalists who were killed after writing articles exposing the inner workings of his organization as well as his ties to corrupt politicians from several parties.[2] A Jewish restaurant owner who recalls this era once said that the Blumenfelds were worshipped by several generations of neighborhood boys.

There was a high degree of political and civil corruption in the region in the 1920s and 1930s. The mainstream newspapers hardly mentioned what was going on, as any outlet that published articles critical of the status quo were threatened. Some small tabloid newspapers attempted to report what was going on, but reporters and editors quickly became targets. Howard Guilford of the Twin City Reporter was shot and killed on September 6, 1934. A decade later the paper lost another reporter when Arthur Kasherman was killed on January 22, 1945.

The Liggett murder The most notorious murder was that of Walter Liggett, the founder and editor of a weekly paper called The Midwest American. He had been threatened and offered bribes to stay quiet, but he persisted in reporting on links he found between organized crime figures and Minnesota’s ruling Farmer-Labor Party. Liggett was beaten up, prosecuted for a non-existent rape incident, and finally died after being machine gunned in the alley behind his home on December 9, 1935. His wife and daughter witnessed the assassination as did several neighbors. All identified Kid Cann as the shooter. Kid Cann was indicted by a grand jury, but poor investigative work and a careless trial meant that he was acquitted.[citation needed] Liggett’s widow would always believe that Minnesota Governor Floyd Olson was deeply implicated in the murder. Her husband had repeatedly accused the Governor of corruption.[4]

Notoriety Blumenfeld was indicted for the killing of a taxicab driver, and was also suspected of being responsible for the attempted murder of police officer James H. Trepanier.[5] Paul Maccabbee, however, writes that Kid Cann, while present, had no part of the shooting, which was likely committed by fugitive bank robber Verne Miller.

As the area streetcar system, operated by Twin City Rapid Transit, was being dismantled in the early 1950s and replaced with diesel buses, Blumenfeld owned a 16% stake in the company. He was accused of allying himself with a corporate raider, using force to intimidate stockholders, and disposing of the scrap metal on the black market after their hostile takeover had succeeded. Some historians believe he held considerable responsibility for what happened, but when a Federal court case years later led several executives from the company to go to prison, Blumenfeld was not convicted.[6][7] What remained of Twin City Rapid Transit was taken over at the behest of governor Orville Freeman by noted Minneapolitan Carl Pohlad in 1960.

Conviction and imprisonment In 1959, he was convicted on Federal charges of transporting a Chicago prostitute named Virginia Tollefson across state lines (see Mann Act).[2] Although this conviction was later overturned on appeal, he was again tried and convicted of jury tampering and extorting kickbacks from bars and nightclubs throughout Minneapolis. The extortion was carried out by threatening to deny them liquor licenses. During the sentencing phase of this trial it was revealed that Kid Cann was receiving a cut of the money skimmed from at least one Las Vegas casino.

Later years and deathAfter his release from prison, he moved to Miami Beach, Florida with his friend Meyer Lansky. They reportedly continued to make money through illegal activities, though they changed tack, focusing instead on stock market fraud, money laundering, and questionable real estate dealings.[2] He frequently visited his family and friends in Minnesota and declared to a Minneapolis reporter in 1976 that he had recently turned down an offer to write his memoirs. He said, “I have nothing to say, really.” He died in Minneapolis of heart disease in the summer of 1981.[2] Rabbi Max Shapiro of Temple Israel recited the graveside services when Kid Cann was interred at the Adath Yeshurun Cemetery in Edina, Minnesota.

Rabbi Shapiro later recalled,

“After Kid Cann’s funeral, I received a call from someone who asked, how could I possibly officiate at the funeral of such a terrible human being? And I answered, it’s my belief that every Jew at death, no matter what he did in life, deserves to have the Mourner’s Kaddish – the last prayer – said for him. So I said Kaddish for Kid Cann.”[8]

Folklore In Minnesota today, tales of Kid Cann and his rumored dark deeds may be considered to have made him a local urban legend, similar to Al Capone or Whitey Bulger.

Two tales are told of the origins of his famous nickname. According to one legend, he picked up the name during a brief attempt at boxing. Another story told by his fellow North Side Jews alleges that young Isadore Blumenfeld would always lock himself in the outhouse to avoid gang fights in the neighborhood. Kid Cann indignantly denied both versions.

In later years, he was alleged to have installed bulletproof windows on his suburban house and to have been able to fix any problem with a single phone call. During his lifetime, Kid Cann bore a love–hate relationship with his legend, on one hand glorying in the attention and also feeling infuriated by the increased Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance that it brought him beginning in the early 1950s. In a 1976 interview he snapped, “Ninety percent of what was written about me is b— s—!”

The Baldies were a South Minneapolis, Minnesota street gang that existed from 1955 to 1975, organized by the late Deuce Casper. In Minneapolis, over 1000 gang members engaged in violence, crime, and fear mongering. Some members graduated to politics like Tommy “The Bomber” Ogdahl, and others went on to become members of organized crime like Perry “The Scholar” Millik. The Baldies were identified by their closely cropped hair and Ivy League, or preppy style, in contrast to their “Greaser” rivals, the Animals, who wore slicked back hair and leather jackets.

Contents [hide] 1 Notable Baldies 2 Deuce Casper (1936-2003) 3 Jack “The Book” Capra (1939-) 3.1 Tommy “The Bomber” Ogdahl (1939-) 3.2 Perry “The Scholar” Millik (1944-2003) 4 See also 5 References

Notable Baldies Deuce Casper (1936-2003)Minneapolis gangster who made a living robbing jewelry stores, banks and armored cars. his most infamous feat was starting the 1000 member “Baldy” street gang (1955–1975).

Jack “The Book” Capra (1939-)Along with his partner, George Patterson, control all of the illegal gambling throughout the upper midwest as well as other nefarious activities, working under the auspices of the Old Genovese Mafia Family from New York City.

Tommy “The Bomber” Ogdahl (1939-)Minneapolis politician with a past police record connected with Deuce Casper’s Baldy street gang. Ogdahl helped elect former police chief Charles Stenvig to the office of Mayor, and was appointed Deputy Mayor, eventually serving as an 8th ward Alderman.

Perry “The Scholar” Millik (1944-2003)A Minneapolis gangster who graduated from high school with honors while running a commercial burglary ring. Millik graduated from college with two degrees, and worked briefly in the field of corrections, but returned to crime when Deuce Casper was released from Leavenworth prison. He was front man for porn and prostitution kings the “Lebanese Alexander Brothers” who operated under the Old Genovese Crime Family of New York City.

Millik published a book entitled “5000 Years of Graffiti, Philosophy, and Humor” which is carried in the downtown Cleveland library.

See also Organized crime in Minneapolis References Bidem, Knut (2004). Minneapolis Organized Crime (IV ed.). Minneapolis, Minnesota: E. J. Johnson

Danny Hogan “Dapper” Danny Hogan (ca. 1880 – December 4, 1928) was a charismatic underworld figure and boss of Saint Paul, Minnesota’s Irish Mob during Prohibition. Due to his close relationships with the officers of the deeply corrupt St. Paul Police Department, Hogan was able to act as a go between, overseeing the notorious O’Connor System.[1][citation needed]

Known as the “Smiling Peacemaker” to local police officials, Police Chief John “The Big Fellow” O’Connor of Saint Paul allowed criminals and fugitives to operate in the city as long as they checked in with police, paid a small bribe and promised not to kill, kidnap, or rob within city limits.[citation needed]

Contents 1 Arrival in Saint Paul 2 Gangland murder 3 References 4 External links

Arrival in Saint Paul Around 1909, he permanently settled in Saint Paul, and turned to organizing major crimes from the sanctuary of the city. He became so closely connected to Saint Paul’s political machine that the police not only feared him, but actively protected his associates. The Federal Department of Justice made repeated attempts to prosecute him, but failed to incarcerate him.

Hogan was described by the Justice Department as “one of the most resourceful and keenest criminals” in the nation. He acted as an “ambassador” for Chief O’Connor and the visiting mobsters. Hogan himself owned the Green Lantern saloon on Wabasha Street in Saint Paul, which was also an illegal gambling casino, and became a speakeasy during Prohibition. Hogan was involved in planning armed robberies in the towns surrounding the Twin Cities, and also in money laundering and casino gambling in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area.

Gangland murder On December 4, 1928, Dapper Dan got behind the wheel of his Paige coupe and turned on the ignition. A bomb located beneath the floorboards detonated and blew off his right leg. He slipped into a coma at the hospital and died nine hours after the blast. He was given a funeral worthy of Prohibition-era Chicago and was buried in Calvary Cemetery. His widow, Leila Hogan, was heard to say, “I am sure there will be justice. If Danny had lived, he would have gone on the one leg they left him and taken care of it himself.”[2]

Hogan’s death was especially notable because it was one of the first instances of death by a car bomb. The most likely culprits in his assassination were rival mob figures.

Although the murder is still considered unsolved, recently declassified FBI files reveal that the most likely person responsible was Harry Sawyer, Hogan’s underboss.[citation needed] Sawyer was a gangster known as “Harry Dutch”.

According to the FBI files, Sawyer felt that Hogan had cheated him out of his cut from a nearby casino. In addition, Sawyer also resented the fact that Hogan never repaid the which Sawyer had contributed to bail Hogan out of prison in 1924. Hogan’s death marked the end of an era in Twin Cities crime.

References^ John Dillinger Slept Here 1995

Paul Maccabee, John Dillinger Slept Here, page 18. 

Maccabee, Paul. John Dillinger Slept Here. Saint Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1995. External “Saint Paul gang figure slain” “Gangster Saint Paul: Where to Find Dillinger’s Hideout and Ma Barker’s Boys”

Near v. Minnesota References^ Holtan, Timothy D. (October 16, 2003). “Minneapolis Who’s Who”. Retrieved August 25, 2004. ^ a b c d e f King, Brendan (October 7, 2003). “Isadore “Kid Cann” Blumenfield”. Find a Grave. Retrieved August 25, 2004. ^ “Welcome to the ‘Wet’ Wild Days of Prohibition!”. 2007. ^ Zareen, Nadeshda (2002). “Book Review: Stopping the Presses.”. New Bangalore Online. Archived from the original on February 13, 2005. Retrieved August 25, 2004. ^ Minneapolis Police Federation (2005). “Officer James P. Trepanier”. In The Line Of Duty. ^ Meier, Peg (June 20, 2004). “What goes around … a look back at streetcars.”. Star Tribune. Archived from the original on March 5, 2005. Retrieved August 25, 2004. ^ Woodbury, Marda Liggett (1998). “Abstract for Stopping the Presses: The Murder of Walter W. Liggett.”. University of Minnesota Press. Retrieved August 25, 2004. ^ Mpls. St. Paul Magazine, November 1991, page 163. [edit] Further readingPaul Maccabee, “Alias Kid Cann”, Mpls. St. Paul, November 1991. Marda Liggett Woodbury, “Stopping the Presses; The Murder of Walter W. Liggett,” Minnesota Historical Society Press. Almog, Oz, Kosher Nostra Jüdische Gangster in Amerika, 1890–1980 ; Jüdischen Museum der Stadt Wien ; 2003, Text Oz Almog, Erich Metz, ISBN 3-901398-33-3

References^ Bismark Tribune, “Las Vegas mob boss had ties to N.D.,” January 2, 2011 Further readingBerman, Susan. Easy Street: The True Story of a Gangster’s Daughter. Bantam Books, 1983. ISBN 0-553-22935-4. Scott, Cathy. Murder of a Mafia Daughter: The Life and Tragic Death of Susan Berman. Barricade Books, 2002. ISBN 1-56980-238-6. Scott, Cathy. “Who Killed Susan Berman?” Las Vegas CityLife. February 25, 2004. DePaulo, Lisa. “”Who Killed the Gangster’s Daughter?” New York Magazine. March 12, 2001. Persondata Name Berman, David Alternative names Short description Date of birth 1903 Place of birth Date of death 1957 Place of death

I wonder which one of these mob families the AEOA (Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency) is hooked up with.  They masquerade as a humanitarian organization. but for the last few years have only been interested in the money.

I’m providing this information to give people an idea about organizations on the Iron Range that are most likely involved in Organized crime in Minnesota.


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Chris Blackwood

These are the sporadic musings, rants, and ramblings of a middle aged man who isn't exactly thrilled with the direction that America is taking today. I'm extremely opinionated where politics are concerned.

I'm a common sense conservative and a political atheist. I follow politics closely just to stay informed, but I don't believe a word the government tells me. I call it like I see it and I don't mince any words.

Life is too short to stay quiet.

Nope, this isn't just a kitty blog anymore, although there will be some of that too . . .

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It's all about the Caffeine & Kitty Treats

Chris Blackwood

These are the sporadic musings, rants, and ramblings of a middle aged man who isn't exactly thrilled with the direction that America is taking today. I'm extremely opinionated where politics are concerned.

I'm a common sense conservative and a political atheist. I follow politics closely just to stay informed, but I don't believe a word the government tells me. I call it like I see it and I don't mince any words.

Life is too short to stay quiet.

Nope, this isn't just a kitty blog anymore, although there will be some of that too . . .

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