Flegenheimer, Arthur (1902-1935)

Born Bronx, NY, Aug. 6, 1902

Killed Newark, NJ, Oct. 23, 1935.

Arthur "Dutch Schultz" Flegenheimer was probably the last of the big-time independent criminal operators. Never an inducted member of the Mafia, he had some personal and business relationships with its members. Those relationships ultimately led to his demise.

Born in the Bronx, Schultz grew up in street gangs. He spent more than a year in prison for a burglary committed at age 17. He emerged from prison in time to join Arnold Rothstein's bootlegging operation. In that venture, he came into contact with such notables as Charlie "Lucky" Luciano and Jack "Legs" Diamond.

Schultz and longtime friend Joey Noe became partners in a speakeasy and a beer distribution business and later coerced owners of other speakeasies into becoming outlets for Schultz beer. The Coll brothers were affiliated with the Schultz-Noe mob before going out on their own.

Some bad blood developed between Shultz-Noe and the Rothstein-Diamond organization. Diamond looked to be responsible for Noe's death on Oct. 15, 1928 (Noe lingered at Bellevue Hospital until finally succumbing to his injuries on Nov. 21, 1928.)

Schultz's men attempted retaliation several times, but the bullet-riddled Diamond simply refused to die until blasted in his sleep on Dec. 18, 1931.

The Schultz men appear to have had better luck pursuing revenge against Rothstein, who was gunned down in his hotel on Nov. 4, 1928, just before Noe passed away. Others were suspected of involvement in Rothstein's murder, but Schultz involvement appears likely.

Schultz had a close relationship with Harlem's Tammany boss Jimmy Hines, a useful situation as the gangster muscled in on Harlem numbers rackets and forcefully established a restaurant "union" protection racket. As a show of good faith to the American Mafia, Schultz provided Ciro Terranova, Mafia boss in Harlem, a share of his numbers business.

The relationship between Schultz and the Mafia appeared cordial as the Dutchman's old friend Luciano stepped to power in 1931. Schultz remained largely apart from the nationwide criminal Syndicate welded by Luciano and his allies. Secretly, Mafia leaders were envious of the Dutchman's operations, particularly the lucrative numbers.

New York prosecutor Thomas Dewey and the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover began pursuing Schultz at the end of the Prohibition Era. Public Enemy No. 1 Schultz couldn't be touched for his rackets and his murders, so the government went after him - as it had with Capone - for federal income tax evasion.

Schultz was surprisingly successful in his court battles. After a deadlocked jury in Syracuse and an Aug. 24, 1935, not-guilty verdict in the small town of Malone, NY, where Schultz threw some money around in advance of the trial, it appeared the gangster had the government on the ropes.

But Dewey wasn't ready to quit. He prepared to charge Schultz with state tax evasion. Schultz left the state, heading into Newark, NJ, while he worked on a strategy. The pressure was on Hines as well, so Tammany was little help to the outlaw.

Schultz approached the Mafia's ruling Commission with a plan. With Mafia help, Schultz offered to bump off Dewey. Some accounts indicate that Schultz made a personal appearance at a meeting of the Commission. Others say he sent a message through Albert Anastasia.

Fearing law enforcement's wrath, the Commission decided it wanted no part of the assassination proposal. Enraged by the lack of support, Schultz swore he would see to Dewey's murder himself.

The Commission then acted against Schultz, using members of its enforcement arm (often referred to as "Murder Inc.") to eliminate Schultz and his gang leadership at Newark's Palace Chop House on Oct. 23, 1935. Under orders from Lepke Buchalter, salaried hitmen Mendy Weiss and Charlie "Bug" Workman did the job. Schultz clung to life at Newark County Hospital for 20 hours, speaking a prolonged stream-of-consciousness nonsense that historians are still puzzling over today.

The Luciano Mafia carved up Schultz's Bronx-area rackets.

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