MAYOR DEFENDS GALVESTON ON EVE OF CRACKDOWN

by Bartee Haile

Testifying in front of a legislative committee on Jun. 25, 1951, the mayor of Texas’ “sin city” defended his much-maligned constituents with the curious logic, “The people of Galveston ought to be commended for not being hypocrites!”

The island was wide-open decades before Sam and Rose Maceo appeared on the scene just before World War I. Barbers by trade, the ambitious brothers soon discovered there was a killing to be made in bootlegging.

During the Great Depression, the Maceos branched out into big-time gambling and ruthlessly eliminated the competition. None of the slayings was ever traced back to the genial gangsters with one notable exception.

 

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