Three miles outside California’s jurisdiction amid the second half of the roaring twenties, a handful of bootleggers, gamblers, Mafiosi, and political fixers sank their earnings into a boisterous new venture.
From kidnapping to killing, bouts with lawmen and public officials, and feuds among competing factions, It’s a Pleasure covers the events that defined the gambling ship era, the vessels where the magic happened, and the players who ushered in the offshore betting craze, some of whom are now considered founding fathers of modern-day Las Vegas.
Los Angeles crime historian, Dr. J. Michael Niotta, reveals the rivalry between the powerful Spring Street gambling clique and the local mafia, highlighting the role of his great grandfather, L.A. godfather Jack Dragna, a co-owner in two of the earliest water gamblers on the West Coast.
Moving toward the war years, Niotta delves into the glad-handing tactics and troubles of personable gambler Tony Cornero, and snapshots the industry’s abrupt end.
It’s a Pleasure includes a foreword by Geoff Schumacher, VP of Exhibits and Programs, Las Vegas Mob Museum, and an introduction by Steve Lawson of the California Wreck Divers and Adventurers Club of Los Angeles.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
J. Michael Niotta is an Iraqi Freedom veteran with over seventeen years of military service. The author of The Los Angeles Sugar Ring pens a column on early LA for the popular National Crime Syndicate website and has lectured at the Las Vegas Mob & Law Enforcement Museum. He is engaged in various projects, including a biography on his great grandfather, Jack Dragna, and a co-authored early history of organized crime in Southern California with esteemed mafia researcher, Richard N. Warner. The former touring musician is also a mixed-media artist and President of the El Rey Breweriana & Homebrewers Club.