Michigan’s Thomas Dewey Defeats Mobster Dutch Schultz, 1935
It's not that simple. Dewey didn't beat up Schultz, or shoot him, or even send him to prison. Dewey won out over Schultz thanks to unintended help from the mob itself.
Thomas E. Dewey:
born in Owosso, Michigan, March 24, 1902.
Began as a lawyer on Wall Street.
1935, appointed as special prosecutor to “break the hold of racketeers”.
Real name Arthur Flegenheimer, born August 6, 1901, New York City.
Father deserted when he was 14.
First arrest at 17 for burglary.
Flegenheimer picked the name “Dutch Schultz” for ego reasons: it was shorter and would fit into newspaper headlines easier. Plus, it was allegedly the name of a previous gangster.
Schultz was a bootlegger, tax evader, and a power-hungry killer. He shook down restaurants for “protection” money, and controlled a labor union. He rigged numbers in his gambling games so less people would win. From the 1920s until 1935, he ended up raking in twenty million dollars a year from his illegal booze. Thanks to Schultz's racket, New York City residents were being illegally sucked out of $500,000,000 a year. Dutch was indicted for tax evasion but beat the rap in 1935, which really ticked off New York's special prosecutor, Thomas Dewey. Dewey didn't accept the verdict and vowed to get Schultz behind bars. Schultz figured “if the state couldn't do anything, this little man sure can't”.
This public display of Dewey's insignificance was not how Schultz felt behind closed doors: he was out to get rid if Dewey...permanently. He suggested a bullet to the head. Now known as Public Enemy Number One, Schultz had no qualms about eliminating his enemies himself, rather then send out a hit. After receiving some telephone threats and the rumor of a $25,000 dollar price on his head, Dewey still didn't stop.
According to historynet.com, Schultz approached members of the syndicate – including Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and Frank Costello – who all agreed Dewey needed to be stopped. A plot was devised by Schultz: he knew Dewey stopped at a drug store every morning to use the payphone on his way to work. A hitman would be waiting inside the store. As soon as Dewey arrived and entered the phonebooth, he would be riddled with bullets. Then the pharmacist would be killed to eliminate the witness.
The other members of the syndicate didn't like this plan, as they knew it would create more problems for them. The hit was turned down. With his trigger-temper exploding, Schultz announced that if nobody would do this, he would take care of it himself. Naturally, going against the syndicate was the wrong thing to do.
On the night of October 23, 1935, two syndicate hitmen arrived at the Palace Chophouse, a restaurant where Schultz was expected to have dinner. Schultz was gunned down in the bathroom, and three of his henchmen were also “done in” in a back room.
When police questioned Schultz in the hospital about who shot him, his answers were not more than babbles: “The Boss”.....”No One”..... “French-Canadian bean soup”.....”I want to pay”.....”Let them leave me alone”..... He died 22 hours after being shot.
Dewey sent Lucky Luciano to prison in 1936 for prostitution and continued prosecuting and convicting gang members.
So in the end, how did Dewey “defeat” Dutch Schultz as most accounts claim? Not in the way he really wanted to, but by the unwitting help of the syndicate, who had Schultz rubbed out before he could get rid of Dewey. If not for that, Dewey very well might have been taken care of by Schultz.
Dewey passed away on March 16, 1971. He was 68.
Check out some photos below.
Dutch Schultz 'Defeated' by Michigan's Thomas Dewey
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