He Was Popular. He Was Rich. He Was A Gangster
Las Vegas has a long history of mobsters. Some were well known, like Bugsy Siegel, Frank Rosenthal, and Tony “The Ant” Spilotro. Other not-so-well-known gangsters worked in the shadows and carried out orders from higher ups. Any way you look at it Las Vegas was mob infested.
One mobster, Moe Dalitz, was successful in becoming a local favorite with respectability. He even earned the honorary title of “Mr. Las Vegas.” Dalitz, owned the famous Desert Inn until he sold it to Howard Hughes.
Dalitz was a generous man and gave to numerous causes which endeared him to the heart of many. But, make no mistake, he was still a gangster.
There is a story that confirms the fact that Dalitz never cut his mob ties. In 1964 Dalitz had an altercation with well known fighting champ, Sonny Liston.
There is a transcript that was used during a law suit that revealed a portion of a conversation between Liston and Dalitz. One version of this story says that after some words were exchanged, Liston was threatening to hit Dalitz. After which, Dalitz responded with:
“If you hit me, n—–, you’d better kill me, because if you don’t, I’ll make just one telephone call and you’ll be dead in 24 hours.” Read more here.
Moe Dalitz, lived to a ripe old age of 90. Pretty long life for a gangster.