What is Nevada’s BLACK BOOK and who is in it?
Nevada’s Black Book (not actually black but silver) is an attempt to keep organizedcrime out of casinos. Officials add the names of known crime figures tothe book, and then any book member commits a crime simply by setting foot in a casino.The casino also commits a crime if it fails to report gambling in its facility bya Black Book member.
The book is only 36 pages long but lists some of the most notorious names in gamblingcrime since its creation in 1960. It was born out of the fear that if Nevada couldn’tkeep organized crime out of gambling then Congress would eliminate the industrycompletely through high taxes.
Eleven names were drawn up in the original list, consisting of individuals definedas having a “notorious and unsavory reputation which would adversely affect publicconfidence and trust that the gaming industry is free from criminal or corruptiveelements.”
Under state gaming law, anyone can be placed in the Black Book if he/she has a felonyconviction, committed a crime involving moral turpitude or violated gaming lawsin another state; failed to disclose an interest in a gaming establishment; willfullyevaded paying taxes or fees; or has a “notorious or unsavory” reputation establishedthrough state or federal government investigations.
Originally, the process of placing someone on the list was an administrative functionwithout due process, but nominees are now allowed to attend a public hearing todispute their inclusion. Once listed in the Black Book, if members are caught enteringa restricted gaming establishment they face a gross misdemeanor charge. Exemptionsinclude airports, bars and stores with 15 slot machines or less and no gaming tables.As well, casino operators who refuse to report gambling activity by a Black Bookmember can face fines and licensing problems.
The legality of the Black Book has been challenged numerous times and survived bothstate and federal courts.
Current “Black Book” members and the year they entered the list:
- LouisDragna,Mobleader,convicted racketeer1960
- Wilford Pulawa,Hawaiianorganizedcrimeboss1975
- MichaelRizzitello,Mobassociate,convictedkidnapper 1988
- JamesTamer,Mobskimmer,bank robber1988
- FrankRosenthal, Mobassociate1988
- FrancisCitro,Mobcollector,convictedracketeer 1991
- AnthonySt.Laurent, Reputedmobassociate,convictedracketeer,bookmaker1993
- Ronald Harris,FormerGamingControlBoardcomputerexpertwhoriggedslotmachines1997
- Jerry DaleCriner,Convictedslotcheat1997
- LouisJohnOlejack,Convictedcardcheat 1997
- StephenCino,Reputed mobassociate1997
- Michael DiBari,Slotcheater1998
- FredPascente,aformerChicagopolicedetectivewhoservedtimeforhis connectiontoanIllinoismailfraudring.(1999)
- MichaelJosephBalsamo,a six-timeconvictedslotcheat,whoisintheNorthLasVegasjailinconnectionwithanationwideslotcheatingscheme.(1999)
- PeterJayLenz–Convictedon bookmakingchargesthreetimesandonfederalchargesofmakingfalsestatementsonapassportapplication.
A notorious roster of Nevada’s past
Some of Las Vegas’ most notorious characters have appeared in the book. While lawenforcement authorities have said many more names should be on the list, a lookat past members of the Black Book provide a glimpse of Nevada’s battle to keep organizedcrime out of casinos.
List of past Members
- John Louis Battaglia. Entered 1960. Removed 1975.
- Carl Civella. Entered1960.
- Nicholas Civella. Entered 1960. Removed 1983.
- Michael Coppola.Entered 1960. Removed 1975.
- Robert L. Garcia. Entered 1960. Removed 1986.
- Sam Giancana. Entered 1960. Removed 1975.
- Motel Grzebienacy. Entered 1960. Removed1975.
- Murray Llewellyn Humphreys. Entered 1960. Removed 1975.
- JosephSica. Entered 1960. Removed 1998.
- Felix Alderisio. Entered 1965. Removed 1965.
- William Alderman. Entered 1965. Removed 1965.
- Ruby Kolod. Entered 1965.Removed 1965.
- Anthony Joseph Spilotro. Entered 1978. Removed 1986.
- GaspareAnedetto Speciale. Entered 1989. Removed 1992.
- Carl Wesley Thomas. Entered 1990.Removed 1994.
- Albert Corbo. Entered 1994. Removed 1998
Nominated but not entered:
- Anthony Giordano. Nominated 1975. Withdrawn 1976.
- Michael Santo Polizzi.Nominated 1975. Withdrawn 1976.
- Anthony Joseph Zerilli. Nominated 1975. Withdrawn1976.
- Carl Angelo DeLuna. Nominated 1979. Withdrawn 1989.
- Joseph Agosto. Nominated 1979. Withdrawn 1984.
- Samel Filippo Manarite. Nominated1993. Withdrawn 1993.
- Herbie Blitzstein. Nominated 1996. Blitzstein was killedin a gangland-style execution before hearings were conducted on his nomination.See the Review-Journal’s coverage of Blitzstein’s slaying and the indictment ofsuspects in the slaying.