Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder, Inc.

Dutch Gets His

Thomas E. Dewey
Thomas E. Dewey

The Dutchman, excluded from the Syndicate because of his uncontrollable nature, was in trouble. He was on the lam from a sharp federal attorney named Thomas E. Dewey who wanted to put Schultz away because of income tax evasion. Dewey was as ambitious in the political arena as his targets were in the underworld and he knew that nailing a big time hoodlum like Schultz would go a long way toward furthering his own career.

In 1934, with Dutch underground, the Syndicate went to the acting boss of the Schultz operation, Bo Weinberg, and told him to bring his mob under the control of the crime cartel. Bo, who never expected Dutch to beat the federal tax rap, didn't need to be told twice. Lepke took over the Dutchman's restaurant shakedowns and Lucky got the Harlem numbers rackets.

But thanks to some expert legal maneuvering, which got his trial moved out of New York City to upstate, and some creative philanthropy on his part, Dutch beat the tax rap and returned to find his empire in a shambles. He took out his rage on poor Bo Weinberg, who reportedly rests at the bottom of the East River in New York wearing a cement overcoat.

Dutch, settled in Newark and powerless against the Syndicate and Murder, Inc., began to operate a number of small rackets with Longy Zwillman's permission. Dutch wasn't broke, either. He reportedly had millions stashed away from the salad days of Prohibition, when his Needle Beer was one of the bestsellers in the City.

Dewey, who had been embarrassed by his failure to convict the stocky former printer-turned-bootlegger, got a second chance to save his political career. In 1935, a grand jury in Manhattan decided it wasn't getting the cooperation from District Attorney William C. Dodge, who reportedly received a $30,000 campaign contribution from Dutch Schultz's mob.

Dodge had pulled an effective assistant D.A. off the case just as the grand jury was ready to hand up some indictments against "important" people. Dodge took over the case himself and the investigation bogged down. The grand jury, which had the power to order the prosecutor to pursue any matter it feels necessary, demanded that Dodge be replaced.

Governor Herbert Lehman appointed Thomas E. Dewey who immediately began looking into Dutch's numbers rackets.

The Dutchman was livid.

"That Dewey," Schultz cried. "He's my nemesis. He's got to go. He's got to be hit in the head."

The Syndicate board listened to Schultz, and some members agreed with the bootlegger, but in the end decided to table the matter for more discussion. The board assigned Murder Inc.'s Albert Anastasia to track Dewey in case the order came down to rub him out. Weeks later, Anastasia reported back to the Syndicate directors that the hit was do-able. Dewey was a man of routines and there was an opportunity every morning to kill the special prosecutor as he made his way to work.

In the end, it was the limitations of Dewey's mandate that saved his life from Albert A.'s plan. "The best Dewey can do is try to go after the New York rackets," Lepke argued. "He can't touch anything outside of New York."

Besides, Lepke continued, his investigations will collapse when the witnesses disappear.

Lepke went on, "If we knock him off, even the federals will jump on the rackets. We'll be chased out of the country." Killing the prosecutor would be bad for business, the Syndicate decided. Dewey would not be hit. Dutch went ballistic.

"I still say he oughta be hit," Schultz screamed. "If nobody else is gonna do it, I'm gonna hit him myself. Schultz boasted further that the D.A. would be dead within 48 hours. He stormed out of the meeting

"This is no good," Lepke said. "The Dutchman is just daffy enough to do it." Lepke then moved that for the sake of the Syndicate, Dutch Schultz should die. The motion carried.

Mendy Weiss
Mendy Weiss

Killing the Dutchman would require a special touch because he was always heavily armed and on guard. Two of Murder, Inc.'s best killers would be required for this job. Lepke contacted Mendy Weiss and Charlie "The Bug" Workman for the rubout.

Mendy Weiss was a strangler and had worked his way up through the strong-arm labor rackets. A flashy dresser, Mendy was a thick-lipped, redheaded bruiser who liked diamonds and new cars and acted as underboss for Lepke when Judge Louis had to go underground.

Mendy stayed by the door to cover the Bug's exit and Workman made his way into the restaurant. The Bug strolled through the diner and went to the men's room in the back. He opened the door and saw a man washing his hands. Something about the guy looked familiar — one of Dutch's bodyguards, he guessed — so Charlie opened fire. The man dropped in his tracks.

Charlie "The Bug" Workman
Charlie "The Bug" Workman

Emerging from the bathroom, the Bug moved to where Schultz and his gang had been meeting. He started shooting at the men sitting there and killed Lulu Rosencrantz, Dutch's chauffeur, Abbadabba Berman, his numbers expert and Al (Misfit) Landau, a gunman for Schultz.

"Where's the Dutchman?" the Bug asked himself. "I gotta get him."

Then he realized...the man in the washroom had been Dutch Schultz.

The Bug returned to the bathroom and after rifling through Schultz's pockets for any cash the gangster might have been carrying, made his way to the front of the restaurant. Mendy was gone. So was Piggy and the getaway car. Charlie ducked into an alley, hopping over fences and running through fields, and eventually made his way back to New York.

Dutch Schultz dead
Dutch Schultz dead

Dutch Schultz wasn't killed that night in the Palace Steakhouse. It took him 48 hours to die, and he raved like a mad man as he hovered near death. Even in periods of lucidity, he refused to name his killers, only saying that "the Boss" had ordered it.

Mendy had some explaining to do. As a staff gunman for Murder, Inc. it was a capital offense to run out before a job was complete. A trial was convened before the Syndicate tribunal but Mendy had an excuse.

"When the Bug went back to rob Schultz, that made it personal business," he explained. "I was there through the hit — which was Syndicate business. I did my job. But when Charlie decided to rob Schultz, that was personal. I didn't have to stay."

His argument held sway, even the Bug couldn't argue with it.

 

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