Machine Politics, Organized Crime, and Reform

THE KEFAUVER COMMITTEE

Also known as the United States Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce, this committee exposed mid-century mafia operations across the country. This selection of documents relates to post-Pendergast organized crime in Kansas City.
Displaying 1 - 20 of 90

Kansas City Police Department mugshot of organized crime figure Giovanni "John" Blando, including a physical description, listing his occupation as bar owner, and recording an arrest for arson on December 7, 1933.

Date: 
December 7th 1933

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.

Date: 
March 19th 1940

Kansas City Police Department mugshot of organized crime figure Frank DeLuca.

Date: 
June 13th 1942

Kansas City Police Department mugshot of organized crime figure Frank DeLuca.

Date: 
June 12th 1942

Kansas City Police Department full length photographs of organized crime figure Joseph DeLuca.

Date: 
June 12th 1942

Letter from George H. White to U.S. Attorney Sam Wear regarding an investigation into Carl Carramusa. Carramusa is accused of being a representative of the Kansas City Narcotic Syndicate, a subsidiary of the Kansas City Mafia. The letter provides a history of Impostato's entry into Kansas City organized crime through John Lazia after arriving from Chicago in 1929, and connects the Kansas City narcotics trade with St. Louis, Tampa, Havana, and other cities.

Date: 
August 31st 1945

Modified photograph of Kansas City gambler and Mafia associate Morris "Snag" Klein.

Date: 
October 25th 1946

Letter written by Mary Bonomo, to be provide information to the FBI in the event of her death. She writes that she fears for her life due to a debt owed to her by Chuck Casciopipa, and due to knowledge of other crimes she and her husband were suspected of having. She also feared her imprisoned husband Mario's brothers Tom and Sam, as well as Joe DiGiovanni.

Date: 
January 26th 1946

Kansas City Police Department mugshot of Charles "Mad Dog" Gargotta. Gargotta was a prominent organized crime figure in Kansas City who was found shot in April, 1950 along with Charles Binaggio at the First Ward Democratic Club.

Date: 
1947

Kansas City Police Department mugshot of Walt Rainey, an ally of numerous Kansas City organized crime figures.

Date: 
1948

Letter from Joseph T. Lenge to Charles Binaggio, thanking him for the support of the First Ward Democratic Club in a recent campaign. Lenge was a candidate for Jackson County assessor in 1948.

Date: 
November 9th 1948

Kansas City Police Department record for Giovanni "John" Blando, including his known addresses and history of arrests and charges. Blando had been charged with a variety of crimes starting in 1926, including arson, gambling, traffic, and prohibition violations.

Date: 
October 3rd 1949

Report from a grand jury inquiry concerning federal law violations and the personals involved in the Western District of Missouri. The grand jury heard from 185 witnesses, with 90% of those witnesses being law violators, and determined "there is no organized attempt" at violating federal laws in the district, and those violations "are committed by individuals rather than by a regular organized concert of individuals or by some crime syndicate." The report goes on to discuss the court's belief that its quick processing of cases has a deterrent effect on crime.

Date: 
1949

FBI record for Peter DiGiovanni listing IRS and liquor violations, and including biographical information and a physical description.

Date: 
August 25th 1950

FBI record for Kansas City organized crime figure Joseph "Scarface" DiGiovanni, including his home and work addresses, as well as listing charges from 1944 and 1946.

Date: 
September 19th 1950

Memorandum regarding Gus Gargotta, describing him as a brother of Charles Gargotta and operator of the Green Hills gambling club near Parkville, Missouri. He is also described as having interest in other gambling establishments in Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, and also been charged with bank robbery, murder, and other crimes.

Date: 
July 14th 1950

FBI report for Gus Gargotta, including Prohibition violations, bank robbery, murder, and other charges in Kansas City, Omaha, and Wichita. The document also includes biographical information and a physical description.

Date: 
August 25th 1950

Report from KCPD Homicide Bureau after questioning James Balestrere. Balestrere told the officers he works for his son at a liquor store on 18th Street, and "has been out of the rackets for some time." He denied knowledge of the Mafia or Black Hand Society, and said that he had no information on the killings of Charles Binaggio or Charles Gargotta.

Date: 
April 15th 1950

Memorandum describing testimony given by Walt Rainey, a member of the Joe Shannon-led Rabbit Club and associate of Max Jaben and "Johnny Mag" Mangiaracina. Rainey is described as under indictment in state court for operating a "policy game" and in federal court for tax fraud.

Date: 
September 25th 1950

FBI record for Kansas City organized crime figure Frank DeLuca, including violations with the Immigration and Nationalization Service.

Date: 
September 19th 1950

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.