The Unsolved Murder & Last Meal Of Mobster Bugsy Siegel
Bugsy Siegel was unaware when he ordered Fried Shrimp and French Fries from Jack's At The Beach Restaurant in Santa Monica, that it'd be his last.
He was the face of organised crime and the well-dressed king of Las Vegas - who dared whack a king?
The answer to this was perhaps his own kind. The reason was perhaps Bugsy's own greed, audacity or downright stupidity.
He had been skimming the profits off the National Crime Syndicate's interest in Las Vegas for months and had also begun losing the Mob money by his mismanagement of the Flamingo Hotel & Casino, which he had been left in charge of.
The National Crime Syndicate was a collective of criminals headed by Lucky Luciano, who came together in 1920s to essentially organise crime and establish territories. It is what we think of the 'Cosa Nostra' today.
Bugsy was a prominent figure of this organisation and in fact, both Lucky Luciano & his 2nd in command, Meyer Lanksy, were childhood friends of Siegel.
Rising up through the ranks of the New York City underworld would suggest a bond of trust and loyalty that could never be broken, right?
Bugsy Siegel's vision and dream of a legal gambling paradise in the Nevada desert was commissioned, constructed and financed by the Mafia in the form of the Flamingo Hotel & Casino. The premises were left under Bugsy's supervision and he had let that supervision slip.
Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano had been understanding with Siegel as he promised to get the Flamingo out of the red and into the black. They had been patient with him and the Flamingo did eventually start to turn out profits, albeit momentarily.
However when Meyer Lansky learned that Bugsy was skimming the profits from the hotel, he became enraged by the betrayal of his childhood friend and ultimately decided Siegel's fate.
After he ate his last meal at Jack's restaurant, Bugsy retired to his girlfriend's Beverly Hill's mansion and read a newspaper in the living room. Shortly after he began to read the day's news, a fusillade of bullets came crashing through the window next to him and he was killed instantly.
He was hit twice in the head, most notably one bullet passed through his eye socket and before he could finish the sentence he was reading, Bugsy Siegel was history.
This is just one theory of who dared to whack a prominent figure of the Mafia. With there being little to no violent back-lash, some crime historians have unanimously agreed that it must have been the Mafia who in fact murdered one of their own.
I'll remain a neutral speculator and storyteller outlining the facts, but who do you think murdered Bugsy Siegel? Click here to jump to the life and crimes of Bugsy.
500g Large Raw King Prawns
200g Plain Flour
2/3 Large White Potatoes
4 tbsp Mayo
1 tbsp Hot Sauce
1 tbsp Lime Juice
2 tbsp Paprika
4 tbsp Garlic Powder
4 tbsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tbsp Black Pepper
2 tbsp Onion Powder
1 tbsp Dried Thyme
1 tbsp Dried Oregano
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1. Wash and peel, devein and butterfly the prawns
2. Mix all spices together in a bowl to make the cajun spice mix
3. Pour the buttermilk into a large bowl and then add half the spice mix
4. Add the prawns to the buttermilk and marinate for at least 1 hour
5. Pour the flour into another bowl and add the remaining spice mix and stir through
6. Coat the prawns generously into the dredge
7. Heat a large pot of oil until it reaches 180F
8. Fry the prawns for 1-2 minutes each side until golden brown and curled, remove and drain
9. Slice your potatoes, skin-on, into french fries and fry in the oil for 5-6 minutes until golden brown and crisp, remove and drain
10. Mix the mayo and hot sauce together with a squirt of lime juice.
11. Plate up your shrimp and fries and squirt over the spicy mayo
12. Watch out for mafia hitmen outside your living room & try to enjoy!
The Life & Crimes of Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel
Bugsy was born Benjamin Siegel in 1906 Brooklyn, New York. The son of Jewish immigrants, Siegel was raised in the crime-ridden section of Williamsburg and it wasn’t long before he began extorting money from pushcart peddlers.
In 1918, Siegel befriended fellow Jewish hoodlum Meyer Lansky and they formed the Bugs-Meyer gang, a band of ruthless Jewish mobsters than ran a group of contract hitmen named Murder, Inc. It was during this time that fellow gang members gave Siegel his nickname Bugsy in reference to his quick and violent temper proclaiming he was ‘as crazy as a bedbug’.
When Lucky Luciano founded the national crime syndicate in the 1920s, Bugsy played a prominent part in this newly established group of criminals. With a goal of killing off the New
York veteran gangsters who didn’t want to share the money evenly, Bugsy was one of four hitmen hired that murdered Sicilian mobster Joe ‘The Boss’ Masseria in 1931.
In 1937, Bugsy relocated his gambling and bootlegging rackets to the west coast, eventually settling in California. Here he set up gambling dens and offshore gambling ships, whilst simultaneously commandeering the existing prostitution, narcotics and bookmaking rackets for his own.
Siegel purchased a luxurious estate in Beverly Hills and moved his wife and children out from New York with him. Living in Beverly Hills, Bugsy frequented many star-studded parties and brushed shoulders with Hollywood heavyweights.
In the late 1930s, Bugsy began dating Virginia Hill, a pornographic actress who had connections with the Chicago Outfit. The couple were known for their glamorous looks and their violent arguments.
In 1945, the pair moved to Las Vegas where Bugsy began working towards his dream of building a gambling mecca in the Nevada desert. With funding from his pals Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, the construction of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino commenced under Bugsy’s supervision.
Originally budgeted at $1.5 million, the hotel project soon proved to be a problem to the Eastern mob that had funded the Flamingo, as construction costs soared to $6 million. It was soon discovered that many of the costs were attributable to Bugsy’s theft and mismanagement. Meyer Lanksy, childhood friend of Bugsy and prominent member of the Mafia, was enraged when he found out that Siegel was skimming the profits of the syndicate and this betrayal infuriated him to the point that some say he ordered the hit on Bugsy.
On the evening of June 20th 1947, after having his last meal at Jack’s Restaurant, Siegel was sat in girlfriend Virginia Hill’s living room reading a newspaper as a fusillade of bullets ripped through the window of the Beverly Hills mansion. Please look away now if squeamish or easily nauseated.
Bugsy was killed instantly. He was hit with over 15 bullets from an M1 Carbine, including 2 in the head and one right through his eye socket, which I show pictures of in the video which is linked below. No one was charged with the killing and the crime remains officially unsolved.
His death thrust Los Angeles and Las Vegas into national spotlight and photos of his lifeless body from the morgue hit the front pages of newspapers nationwide. Immediately after his death, 3 of Meyer Lansky’s cohorts walked into the Flamingo and took over the operation of the hotel and casino.
Siegel was buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and was immortalised in the 1991 film ‘Bugsy’, starring Warren Beattie as the ruthless gangster. Between the pool and wedding chapel of the Flamingo Hotel there is a memorial plaque to Bugsy Siegel which is frequented by thousands each year.
Ultimately Siegal’s life was abruptly ended by his daring or stupid attempt to skim profits from his friends and from the mafia, a move that would cost him his life. Who do you think killed Bugsy?
For a visual component, watch & subscribe on YouTube here.