Las Vegas Sun

July 30, 2015

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History of violence: Notable pieces from mob collection at heart of legal dispute

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Leila Navidi

Anthony Spilotro’s pistol, bullets, holy cards and crucifix on display at the Mob Attraction Las Vegas at the Tropicana on Monday, April 23, 2012.

Items connected to some of the most notorious gangsters in U.S. history are among a collection of 1,500 artifacts at the heart of an ongoing legal dispute in Las Vegas.

The items, housed at the Mob Attraction Las Vegas at the Tropicana, are the subject of a longstanding series of court proceedings aimed at sorting out who has the right to display them. The matter has been fast-tracked, with hopes to resolve it this summer.

So, what kind of artifacts are involved? To find out, the Sun got permission from the Mob Attraction to take a look. Here are some of our more interesting finds:

    • Bugsy Siegel's death certificate



      Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel created his legacy as the visionary developer of the Flamingo. He also sealed his doom in the same role, running afoul of the mob by stealing funds during the casino's construction. He was shot and killed in 1947.

    • Anthony Spilotro's pistol and bullets



      Some know Anthony "The Ant" Spilotro as a top Las Vegas mob figure in the 1970s and '80s, when he was investigated for criminal activity and blacklisted while representing the Chicago mob here and running his own operation, as well. Many know Spilotro by association — as the character Joe Pesci portrayed in Martin Scorsese's 1995 film "Casino."

    • Mickey Cohen's brass knuckles



      Cohen, one of the nation's most flamboyant mobsters in the 1940s and '50s, gave up a boxing career to work in crime with some of the most familiar names in mob history, including Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel.

    • Coroner's report for Sam Giancana



      The bullet-riddled body of Giancana, Chicago's top mob boss during the 1950s and '60s, was found in his home in Oak Park, Ill., in June 1975.

    • Shotgun belonging to Sam Giancana



      Giancana's claims to infamy included rumors that he was involved in the Kennedy assassination and a plot to kill Fidel Castro.

    • Jewelry owned by Virginia Hill



      Hill was Siegel's girlfriend and reputedly his partner in the Flamingo grift, rumored to have made frequent trips to Europe to stash stolen cash from the project's building fund in Swiss banks.

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