Murder Incorporated

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Jack "Legs" Diamond (Not Jewish)

Jack "Legs" Diamond also known as Gentleman Jack, was the alias of Jack Moran, an Irish-American gangster based out of New York City. A bootlegger and close associate of gambler Arnold Rothstein, he survived a number of attempts on his life between 1919 and 1931, causing him to be known as the "clay pigeon of the underworld." In 1930, Diamond's nemesis Dutch Schultz remarked to his own gang, "Ain't there nobody what can shoot this guy so he don't bounce back?"

Diamond entered crime as a member of a gang called the Hudson Dusters. In 1918-1919, he was jailed for being a US Army deserter. Hired by "Little Augie" Jacob Orgen to murder an enemy, Diamond became Augie's personal bodyguard. He was shot twice when Louis Buchalter, seeking to move in on the labor rackets that Orgen was running in the garment district, shot and killed Orgen.

Diamond then went to work for Buchalter overseeing bootleg alcohol sales in downtown Manhattan. That brought him into conflict with Dutch Schultz, who planned to move beyond his base in Harlem. Diamond was shot five times on one occasion when Schultz's men surprised him at a private dinner and three times on another, when Schultz gunmen opened up with machine guns, killing two bystanders.

On December 18, 1931, Diamond's enemies finally caught up with him, shooting him after he had passed out at a hideout on Dove Street in Albany, New York. The killers shot him three times in the back of the head at approximately 5:30 AM.

There has been much speculation as to who was responsible for the murder, including Dutch Shultz, the Oley Brothers (local thugs), and the Albany Police Department. According to William Kennedy's O Albany, Democratic Party Chairman Dan O'Connell, who ran the local political machine, ordered Diamond's execution, which was carried out by the Albany Police. The following are Dan O'Connell's own words recorded during a 1974 interview by Kennedy and appears on pages 203 and 204:

In order for the Mafia to move in they had to have protection, and they know they'll never get it in this town. We settled that years ago. Legs Diamond...called up one day and said he wanted to go into the 'insurance' business here. He was going to sell strong-arm 'protection' to the merchants. I sent word to him that he wasn't going to do any business in Albany and we didn't expect to see him in town the next morning. He never started anything here.
"Prior brought him around here...but he brought him around once too often. Fitzpatrick finished Legs." O'Connell added that Fitzpatrick (a Police sergeant and future chief) and Diamond were "sitting in the same room and (Fitzpatrick) followed him out. Fitzpatrick told him he'd kill him if he didn't keep going."

Given the power that the O'Connell machine held in Albany and their determination to prevent organized crime from establishing itself in the city and threatening their monopoly of vice, most people accept this account of the story. In addition it has been confirmed by other former machine officials.

6 Comments:

  • Carmine.....

    What do you know about being jewish ???

    He was affiliated with the jewsih gangsters

    By Blogger ADMITNOTHING, at 6:38 AM  

  • My great-uncle, Jack, who worked with jews, was certainly not jewish. We're Irish, and there are no jews in this tree. Good to know the name of the coward who shot him while he was out. Too bad there isn't more about how charming he was and his dancing career.

    By Blogger Banshee, at 4:01 PM  

  • legs diamond was a real gangster a real bootlegger a underworld legend

    By Blogger lee, at 5:12 PM  

  • love legs true gangster

    By Blogger lee, at 5:13 PM  

  • legs diamond was a real gangster a real bootlegger a underworld legend

    By Blogger lee, at 5:13 PM  

  • He is my great cousin and yes he is not Jewish,,, matter of fact his parents Sarah and john wasn't from Ireland unless they left when they were babies,,, jack and Eddies grandparents came from Ireland,, is what my grandmother marguerite diamond say's,, jacks original cousin,,,

    By Blogger Timothy, at 3:47 PM  

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