Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Arnold Rothstein, Dark Genius of the Mob

New 'Man Between'

With Sullivan in the grave and Becker soon to be executed, Rothstein's new protection came from an even higher source — Tammany Hall boss Charles F. Murphy and his closest advisor, Tom Foley. The year 1913 was a watershed year for Rothstein — the year he would move to the top. This all came about due to his relationship with Murphy. The politician used Rothstein as the "man between" Tammany Hall and the underworld.

In 1910, as a favor to Foley, Rothstein bailed a confidence man out of jail. In doing so, he realized the high premiums that could be charged for this service and he went into the bonding business for himself. Rothstein began to work with reputable bonding and surety companies, paying them a lower interest rate for the money he borrowed than he charged for his own services. The risk he faced was potentially larger if a client decided to skip bond, but when jailed men were asked to give their word to appear at trial and were told, "God help you if you don't," Rothstein had few problems.

With everything Rothstein was involved in he handled himself with the air of a successful businessman. Murphy, Foley and James J. "Jimmy" Hines, a future Tammany stalwart, relied on Rothstein and his services, which included anything from posting a bond to having a ballot box stuffed. Rothstein became the conduit between Tammany Hall and the underworld and he was getting richer because of it. Leo Katcher writes:

"Lawyers, fixers, people in trouble, sought him out. He was a pipeline to 'Fourteenth Street' (location of Tammany Hall). If you wanted a favor from the Hall, Arnold Rothstein could expedite it, assure it, for you. And so you paid him."

Rothstein took cash for everything he did. Soon he and Carolyn moved to an apartment at the corner of Broadway and 52nd Street. Their new home had eight rooms and two baths, as well as separate quarters for a butler and a maid.

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