Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression

Balestrere, James

Displaying 1 - 12 of 17
Object Type: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Profiles of prominent Kansas City organized crime figures, including Charles Binaggio, Gaetano "Thomas" Lococo, and James Balestrere.

Object Type: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Memorandum regarding Kansas City organized crime figure Morris "Snag" Klein, a former business partner of crime boss Charles Binaggio, as well as "Eddie Spitz" Ochadsey and John Noonan, and who was at that time serving a sentence in the federal penitentiary. Klein was also a partner in the Stork Club gambling establishment in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and assorted Kansas City gambling, bookmaking, and wire service operations.

Object Type: 
Correspondence

Letter, labeled "confidential," from an unknown correspondent to Mr. Halley, regarding information received from Kansas City crime boss Charles Binaggio's brother, Dominick. Tim Moran, a "big time gambler here under ... both Prendergasts [sic]," is reported to have instructed Charles Binaggio to support a Pendergast candidate in exchange for sparing numerous men in Binaggio's inner circle from income tax fraud indictments.

Object Type: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Memorandum describing testimony from Morris "Snag" Klein, stating that he was a partner of Charles Binaggio in the Missouri Electric and Construction Company and Ace Sales and Equipment Company, as well as the Green Hills and Last Chance gambling clubs. He also described other business and gambling interests he had been involved in, and denied knowledge of anyone in Al Capone's mob.

Object Type: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Memorandum summarizing the biography and criminal activity of James Balestrere. Balestrere is reported to have been involved in bootlegging during Prohibition, running the Kansas City Syrup Company with Charles Binaggio, selling sugar to distillers, and then was involved in liquor distribution businesses after repeal with other individuals involved in organized crime.

Object Type: 
Photographs

Photograph of James Balestrere, Kansas City organized crime figure who was involved in bootleg efforts during Prohibition and later owner of the White House Tavern, located south of the Kansas City city limits.

Object Type: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Kansas City Police Department record noting James Balestrere's arrest on March 19, 1940, on charges of speeding and lacking a city or state auto license. The city license charge was dismissed, and Balestrere was fined $5 for each of the other two charges. The document also includes Balestrere's home address.

Object Type: 
Miscellaneous Documents

St. Louis Post-Dispatch article discussing Estes Kefauver's Senate committee devoted to investigating interstate organized crime activity, including Kansas City's Charles Binaggio.

Object Type: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Memorandum regarding Walt Rainey, described as "an operator of notorious restaurants and night clubs," who allegedly runs his businesses in violation of gambling and liquor laws. The document includes descriptions of his various businesses, including The Plantation, located east of the Kansas City city limits, where gambling and horse race betting took place and liquor was served outside of legal hours; and the White House Tavern, south of the Kansas City city limits, where gambling was also permitted, which he allegedly operated for James Balestrere.

Object Type: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Memorandum regarding Joseph DiGiovanni, former Kansas City bootlegger and brother of Peter DiGiovanni. The two brothers operated Mid-West Distribution Company, a liquor distributor throughout Jackson County, and "went into the liquor business immediately after [Prohibition] repeal." DiGiovanni plead guilty to Prohibition and and liquor violations during the 1920s.

Object Type: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Memorandum regarding Peter DiGiovanni, former Kansas City bootlegger and brother of Joseph DiGiovanni. The two brothers operated Mid-West Distribution Company, a liquor distributor throughout Jackson County, which also employed other mafia-affiliated men. The DiGiovannis were also allegedly associated with organized crime figure Charles Carollo, James Balestrere, and John Blando during Prohibition. Investigators want to know what information he has about employee Paul Cantanzaro, a suspect in the murder of Frank Caramussa, Jr.

Object Type: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Kansas City Election Board records with biographical information about organized crime figure John Blando, including home address and family members. Attached report describes Blando's proximity to numerous arson fires in Kansas City in the 1920s and 1930s.

Pages

KANSAS CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY | DIGITAL HISTORY
Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict,1855-1865.
The Pendergast Years, Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression.
KC History, Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library.