So Leonard told
Blinky, with broad reservations, that he and Nesseth would submit to the
extortion. But Leonard didn't submit.
Leonard was subjected to threats by Blinky, by Carbo, by Joe Sica, a muscular
hoodlum, and by Lou Dragna, a leading figure of the Los Angeles underworld.
And so one
night, Jackie Leonard says, he was brutally slugged by two men as he was
closing his garage door. Later a fire bomb was tossed into his house. And a
man, snarling "stool pigeon," attacked him in a parking lot. The word
was out along Skid Row that anyone who beat up Leonard would be enriched by
State Athletic Commission started an investigation, then wisely enlisted the
aid of Captain James Hamilton, head of the Los Angeles police intelligence
unit. At the same time a federal grand jury in L.A. was investigating aspects
of the Apalachin mob's activities as part of a nationwide federal drive to
uncover the Mafia's place in national crime.
pursuing separate courses, these three agencies—of city, state and federal
authority—formed a triple entente. Their cooperation resulted last week in the
indictments and arrests of Gibson, Carbo, Palermo, Dragna and Sica on charges
of conspiracy to violate the federal anti-racketeering act, interstate
communications extortion and conspiracy. Gibson was charged only with
conspiracy. It was an "essential part of the conspiracy," the
indictment said, that Gibson "would use his power and authority" to
persuade Nesseth and Leonard to accede to Carbo's demands for control of
speed, in a mere matter of hours, FBI agents rounded up the five who were
indicted, and thus put boxing's story on Page One. They took Carbo in a room at
Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, where he had gone for a look at his ailing
kidneys, and Gibson at a friend's apartment in Chicago. Palermo was nabbed in
Philadelphia, Dragna and Sica in Los Angeles.
Hamilton put it, explaining his and the California commission's decision to let
the Federal Government handle the job: "We had gone as far as we could
locally. The FBI had the facilities to do this much more thoroughly."
That is true and
may well be the key to an eventual cleanup, of a substantial and permanent
nature, of boxing's dirty business. The Federal Government has the nationwide
facilities, and some very apt anti-racketeering laws, at its disposal. District
Attorney Hogan, operating within the confines of New York, was able to nail
Carbo only on a series of misdemeanor indictments, and at that Hogan is the
only district attorney ever to have bothered Carbo on a boxing rap. Nor has any
state boxing commission, working with the meager investigative resources common
to commissions, ever been able to do more than inconvenience Carbo and the mob
temporarily. Most haven't even tried. Many a manager, promoter, fighter and
fight have been licensed by boxing commissions with the full knowledge that
they were thereby enriching the hoodlums who have done most to debase the
There is the
added factor that to a great extent the new problems of boxing are a product of
the television age. The national ramifications of boxing in this age have
discouraged local law enforcement authorities from any effective corrective
moves. And television's impresarios haven't yet produced any measures of their
own to keep the hoods out—if, indeed, they have taken time to think seriously
about the subject.
commission, the Los Angeles police and the U.S. Attorney General's office have
blazed a new and most intelligent trail by the simple device of sharing
information and facilities, then allowing the best equipped of the law
enforcement agencies to carry the ball.