I grew up in what arguably, was the most corrupt city in the United States Youngstown,Ohio. I say this now, without fear. All the parties are dead and buried. Youngstown , a rust belt city is simply to poor now to support corruption on its former scale. But back in the “old days” the late ’40s and ’50s those were the times. All of us kids grew up on Damon Runyon characters Runyon, who wrote the stories that became big movies and created colorful characters as, gun carrying gamblers. “The Sky Masterson” who wooed the salvation Army girl was actually based on the real gambler, lawman and gunman “Bat” Masterson. Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Nathan Detroit and the rest of the mob were just fun-loving rogues in their own little worlds. Life was a lark to them.

At that time we enjoyed the stage and screen versions of a gay life of crime , we had a ring side seat for the real thing. I recall there were 80 unsolved bombings in Youngstown. That’s right they were all unsolved. You had to live in a dream world or a cave by the Mahoning river if you didn’t know exactly what was going on and knew why a bombing was never going to be solved. In the early ’50s, the mob and police went into business together. They incorporated a tiny township within the county and set up a gambling casino. It was called Jungle Inn.

It wasn’t just the police who were corrupt,and obviously they were; it was the entire force. Jungle Inn was such an open secret that the state police must have known and even the FBI. Nobody uttered a peep.But our mobsters weren’t Nicely-Nicely Johnson. They were stone killers. One by one all the racketeers( whose kids I grew up with” with were blown up, shot or simply disappeared. One of them was a man named Moosey Caputo, one of the mobs front men, for some reason was hunted down in Florida and shot to death. Vince DiNero.s car was blown up in front of his restaurant shattering windows for blocks around. “Cadillac Charlie “ Cavillaro Caddy was exploded while his kids were inside . time magazine called us ” Murder Town USA” How does a city become corrupted/ It;s very simple provide bags of cash to a politician and see how loyal he becomes. He’s in your pocket and will do whatever you want,from bribing contractors to hiring your brother on a job that requires him not to come to work ,but still receives a weekly pay check this is one of many stories about the Mahoning valley during the early 1930s up until the 1990s.

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