Little Bits of History

Bad Boys

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 6, 2014
Arnold Rothstein

Arnold Rothstein

November 6, 1928: Arnold Rothstein dies. Also called “the Brain”, Arnold was born in New York City in 1882. His father, Abraham, was a Jewish immigrant racketeer and businessman. Abraham left his life of crime and turned to legitimate business and philanthropy. He donated to the Beth Israel Hospital which had been established in 1890. Arnold was well-read and did exceptionally well in math. His father was hoping he would take over the legitimate business dealings but instead, Arnold dropped out of school and became far more interested in the illegitimate world of New York. Arnold’s older brother, listening to their father, became a rabbi.

Even as a child, Arnold gambled. By the age of 28, he opened a gambling casino in the Tenderloin section of Manhattan. He also was invested in a horse racing track located in Havre de Grace, Maryland. Arnold was often accused of fixing races in which he proved to be a big winner. Arnold had a large network of informants and used funds from his father’s banking community to buy the information he needed, regardless of where it came from. By the time Arnold was 30, he was a millionaire. There is evidence to both support and exonerate Arnold’s involvement in the 1919 World Series fix. Whether he was involved or not remains under debate; he was never indicted. Arnold was also heavily involved in Prohibition bootlegging and narcotics.

In October 1928, Arnold was playing high-stakes poker over a three day period. He claimed the game was fixed and refused to pay a $319,000 gambling debt. Some current research indicated the game was, in fact, fixed and that Alvin Clarence Thomas (Titanic Thompson) and Nate Raymond had rigged the game. Because of side bets, by the end of the three days, Arnold was down over a quarter million dollars. Arnold asked for time, hoping to make money off the elections in which he backed Hoover for President and Roosevelt for Governor. On November 4, Arnold was shot during a business meeting at Park Central Hotel. He was taken to Stuyvesant Polyclinic Hospital and died on this day without naming his killer.

George “Hump” McManus was arrested for the murder but was acquitted due to lack of evidence. Another possible suspect was Dutch Schultz, a crime reporter who may have killed Arnold as a revenge murder. Joey Noel had been killed by Arnold’s protégé, Jack “Legs” Diamond. Regardless of who killed him, with Arnold dead his territory was in dispute and the street gangs he had once controlled were running wild. Tammany Hall was greatly weakened and Frank Erickson, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, and others split up Arnold’s various enterprises. Ten years after his death, Arnold Rothstein’s brother declared the estate bankrupt and all the money gone.

You stick to your trade. I’ll stick to mine. – Arnold Rothstein, on his deathbed refusing to say who had shot him

I always gambled. I can’t remember when I didn’t. Maybe I gambled just to show my father he couldn’t tell me what to do, but I don’t think so. I think I gambled because I loved the excitement. When I gambled, nothing else mattered. – Arnold Rothstein

But I was not in on it, would not have gone into it under any circumstances and did not bet a cent on the Series after I found out what was under way. – Arnold Rothstein

I want people to understand, gambling is not a bad thing if you do it within the framework of what it’s meant to be, which is fun and entertaining. – Michael Jordan

Also on this day: The Most Reverend John Carroll – In 1789, the US gets her first Roman Catholic Bishop.
Hurricane – In 1935, the Hawker Hurricane was first flown.
Mr. President – In 1861, Jefferson Davis was elected President of the CSA.
George? – In 1856, an anonymously published book was submitted.


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