Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America – Bill O’Reilly
Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America – Bill O’Reilly
He’s the king of all media … Bill O’Reilly has graced our screens for over 40 years. After serving as lead anchor on The O’Reilly Factor, he moved on to host No Spin News and The O’Reilly Update. He’s also the most successful nonfiction writer of all time, with 16 No.1-ranked novels to date. The media icon discusses the latest book in his bestselling Killing series with host Charles Mizrahi.
[Editor’s Note: Please be advised that this episode contains descriptions of sexual violence. If you would like to avoid this content, please skip ahead at 00:08:06 to 00:09:30]
- An Introduction to Bill O’Reilly (00:00:00)
- A Dedication to Family (00:04:45)
- The “Juice Man” (00:06:06)
- Filling a Gap in History (00:10:26)
- Shedding Light on True Evil (00:16:29)
- Charles “Lucky” Luciano (00:21:00)
- Arnaz & Sinatra (00:30:11)
- The Kennedys’ Involvement (00:33:00)
Bill O’Reilly’s success in broadcasting and publishing is unmatched. He kickstarted his media career with work on CBS, ABC and Inside Edition. He then served as the iconic anchor of The O’Reilly Factor for nearly two decades. While there, he grew the program to become the highest-rated cable news broadcast in the nation. Then, after nearly 40 years in broadcast television, O’Reilly moved on to host No Spin News and The O’Reilly Update — where he delivers current events with: “No spin. Just the facts.”
In addition, O’Reilly is the author of the bestselling Killing series. It currently has over 18 million books in print.
Before You Leave:
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Please be advised that this episode contains descriptions of sexual violence.]
BILL O’REILLY: Do you know how many poor people the Mob has hurt by extortion? They go into pizza places and say: “You’ve got to pay me 20%” by selling fentanyl, heroin and cocaine. They’re getting people addicted and killing them with that. The American people have been victimized by organized crime for almost 100 years. That’s why I wrote this book. It’s not like what you see in the movies and on TV.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: My guest today is Bill O’Reilly. Bill’s success in broadcasting and publishing is unmatched. He’s the iconic anchor of The O’Reilly Factor and led the program to become the highest-rated cable news broadcast in the nation for 16 consecutive years. He hosts The O’Reilly Update, heard weekdays on more than 225 radio stations across the country, and streamed on the Pandora app.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: In addition, he’s authored 16 No.1-ranked nonfiction books, including the historical Killing series. It’s the bestselling nonfiction series of all time with nearly 18 million books in print. I recently sat down with Bill to talk about his latest book — a national bestseller — Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Bill O’Reilly, thanks so much for being on the show. I greatly appreciate it.
BILL O’REILLY: [It’s] my pleasure to be here. Thank you.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: You are the king of all media. You were on TV. You were No.1 there. You have a boatload of books that have become national bestsellers. What don’t you do?
BILL O’REILLY: Well, we try to spread the word in three areas — TV for many years. I did very well on a Fox News channel. Now, I run my own news operation. You can find us on Bill O’Reilly.com. And that’s very successful. We do radio — a syndicated program every day. Like Paul Harvey’s 15-minute broadcast. Three hundred stations.
BILL O’REILLY: And I am the most successful nonfiction book writer of all time, which is shocking to me. I don’t know how that happened. [There are] 18 million copies of my books in print — including 16 No.1 bestsellers with the Killing series and others.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Bill, I want to say that I read a lot. Reading is my hobby. My kids still make fun of me because I spent most of my time in Brooklyn on Coney Island Avenue and Avenue V in the library. That was my favorite. I’ve read your latest book: Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America. And I want to tell you that I thought I knew a lot about the Mob. But the book had me on every single page.
BILL O’REILLY: We try to make it fun to read, but you learn something on every page. That takes a lot of research. We do six months of research before we write anything in the Killing series. So, we’re on it. I understand what folks want to know about. Because that’s what I want to know about. It was a blast writing Killing the Mob because I didn’t know any of the stuff. We just found it out. So, that’s the successful formula that we have.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I also like the way you went deep into certain details about what Bonnie looked like — how she was only 4’10 or 4’11. And her last guttural scream when she was killed … it jumped off the page. It really did. I have to say that.
BILL O’REILLY: We want to put the reader there. Martin Dugard, my coauthor, did the research and spun this to me. And then, I want to put the reader right there as Bonnie and Clyde are being executed.
BILL O’REILLY: One of the interesting things that we found out was that the FBI was formed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt — the president — to catch bank robbers who were running wild in the Midwest, South and the upper Midwest. But it wasn’t: “Come out with your hands up.” J. Edgar Hoover — who was the director from the beginning — basically told these guys: “You just get rid of them. We don’t want to see them again.” So, the bank robbers were assassinated by the FBI. There wasn’t much of an attempt to capture them.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Before we even start talking about this book, I want to ask you about [something]. I always check this out when I read a book by someone I’m going to interview. I look at the dedication. “This book is dedicated to my late father and mother, who always obeyed the law and passed that dedication onto their children.” Tell me about that.
BILL O’REILLY: Well, my father lived near you on West Street in Brooklyn. My grandfather was in the NYPD during the Depression. He was a hero at the Meuse battle in World War I. He never talked about it. [We had] a big Brooklyn, Irish family. My people came over from County Cavan in the 1860s — two twin 16-year-old boys.
BILL O’REILLY: We were thrown off our land and County Cavan by the British crown. They came over without a mom or dad and started the O’Reilly’s in Brooklyn. And because of my grandfather’s job, law and order was pretty important to the O’Reilly’s. When you read Killing the Mob, you’ll get a sense that I don’t like these people. And that’s true. Criminals are not my favorites.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: What I really like is that you don’t glamorize anything. You get right to the point and show how vicious they were.
BILL O’REILLY: That’s right.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Later on, we’ll get into the “Juice Man.” You gave pretty graphic details about how he was butchered at the end.
BILL O’REILLY: Which man are you talking about?
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I think his name was Jackson. He was taken and slaughtered.
BILL O’REILLY: There were so many of them, Charles.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: He was 400 pounds, and he couldn’t run. And they caught him.
BILL O’REILLY: OK, this is the gay guy, right?
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Hang on a second.
BILL O’REILLY: I think that’s the guy you’re talking about. This is fascinating. The Mob controlled the gay bars in New York City in the 1960s and 70s. And to this day, they have a piece of that. It was a Mafioso who was gay.
BILL O’REILLY: Now, you couldn’t do that if you were in organized crime. You could not be gay. They found out that he was. And they killed him in a very unpleasant way. I put that story in just to show you that these people weren’t rational. They were violent, and the violence pretty much overtook them. There’s no reason why they should have killed this guy. He didn’t inform on the Mob or anything like that. He was just gay.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: He’s kind of butchered. I know the guy you’re talking about. Here’s the “Juice Man” — 350 pounds. William “Action” Jackson.
BILL O’REILLY: And what was the context of the story that you’re referring to?
CHARLES MIZRAHI: He was found breaking into the homes of men who fell behind in their debts, and then he raped their wives as a reminder to pay up. He was arrested in the summer of 1961 while attempting to unload stolen electrical appliances in a warehouse. His five accomplices all managed to flee, but Jackson was too heavy to run. While in custody, the debt collector was asked to become a federal informant, and he didn’t. However, the Mob didn’t trust him. Bobby Kennedy actually listened in to this recording.
BILL O’REILLY: And the recording was so grizzly that Kennedy almost got sick to his stomach.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Let me just read this. Anyone who wants to glamorize the life of a Mafioso, please read this part.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: The giant man is stripped. His hands and feet are bound with rope. A meat hook is inserted into his rectum. His kneecaps are broken with a baseball bat. Then his ribs. A sharp object is shoved into one ear, poking a hole in the drum. An electrical prod is then shoved into his genitals. He still refuses to confess. His brutalizers use a blowtorch to incinerate his penis. Only then is he taken off the meat hook. The murderers leave the big man bound to bleed to death — a passing that does not take place for three long days.
BILL O’REILLY: And remember: He didn’t do anything.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Right.
BILL O’REILLY: This guy didn’t do anything. He didn’t inform. The Feds — Bobby Kennedy — had that place wired. And that was a very effective tool the federal government finally brought to bear against organized crime.
BILL O’REILLY: As the technology got better, they could surveil better. And that’s what led to John Gotti finally getting convicted. But it’s a fascinating evolution from the 1930s — when J. Edgar Hoover wouldn’t investigate the Mafia. He was OK with taking down bank robbers, but no Mafia for him. And then, from 1946 to 1961 — after World War II — the Mob became the most powerful entity in the United States by far.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Yeah, it’s amazing how they infiltrated all levels of politics.
BILL O’REILLY: Right.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Before we get into the book — I think this is your tenth book in the Killing series, right?
BILL O’REILLY: Yes, it’s the tenth one.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Why the Mob?
BILL O’REILLY: Well, there was a gap. So, if you read the Killing books, we take you from 1775 — before The Revolutionary War began — all the way up to modern times with Killing Reagan. But there’s this gap between 1946 — right after World War II — and the Kennedy assassination in 1963. I wanted to fill in that gap.
BILL O’REILLY: So, my goal in writing all of these books was to have a library of American history that would explain to you the reality of your country — which you really need today with the massive amount of propaganda coming at the American people — saying things that are untrue about the United States. You need to have enough information to counter that. Tell your children or your friends: “No. This is what really happened.”
BILL O’REILLY: I had to fill that gap, and the best way to do it — in my opinion — was to find who the power was in the United States during that period of time. Dwight Eisenhower was president after Truman. Then, Kennedy takes over. But they weren’t the most powerful people. Lucky Luciano and Vito Genovese were the most powerful people.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Right. They controlled virtually everything. And that brings me to J. Edgar Hoover. Most people know J. Edgar Hoover as the person who created the FBI and made it a household name. But most people don’t know — and I don’t know if you actually come out and say it — is that J. Edgar Hoover was in debt to Mafia.
BILL O’REILLY: Well, they had something on him. The break that we got in writing Killing the Mob came from our discovery of Lucky Luciano’s personal papers. We found them. Now, Luciano made no secret that he was writing everything down. And he did actually write a book. But we got all the source material. And in that material was the allegation that the Mob had compromising information about J. Edgar Hoover. He didn’t say what. Dugard and I couldn’t find out exactly what it was.
BILL O’REILLY: But we narrowed it down to two areas. J. Edgar Hoover liked the ponies. He was a gambler. He was also gay. So, it had to be one of those two things. The Mob had acquired pictures, debts or something that would have destroyed Hoover’s career. In return, Hoover didn’t investigate the Mafia because he didn’t want that exposed.
BILL O’REILLY: Ironically, that’s the same game Hoover played by recording all the politicians and finding out about their affairs. And then, he’d assemble that information in case he needed it — in case somebody was giving him a hard time. Hoover did that. The same thing happened to him.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Yeah. You just mentioned that about Hoover and the Mob. Hoover never even acknowledged the existence of the Mafia.
BILL O’REILLY: Crazy.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Why do you think that is?
BILL O’REILLY: All those resources that the federal government had to fight crime went to waste because Hoover wouldn’t look into the five families in New York, Giancana in Chicago, Marcello in New Orleans and Trafficante in Tampa. They all existed and ran wild. Hoover knew it, and he just wouldn’t investigate it.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: So, your thinking is that they had him on the ponies or his lifestyle.
BILL O’REILLY: Right.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: You bring up the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the book. They knew about it. They were basically grandstanding and talking about the Mafia — where Hoover was not only silent but went out of his way to say that no such thing existed. I think he had to finally disclose it when it came out during one of the wiretaps. Is that right?
BILL O’REILLY: Yes. Bobby Kennedy got enough information — and put it out publicly — on Jimmy Hoffa. That was the real exposition that embarrassed Hoover. But when we went in to examine the FBI files, there was nothing in there. They didn’t have anything in there.
BILL O’REILLY: The break that I got on the Killing Kennedy book about the assassination of JFK was the FBI primary files from the people who were on the scene in Dallas. I got to see that. They’re not public. That’s why I could put together that story and tell my readers: “This is what happened to JFK.” When we did the same thing with the Mob, there was nothing in there, Charles. It was blank. It’s crazy.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I couldn’t believe it. I was reading that in 1956, Hoover finally acknowledges it. And then, they go back to 1953. And their whole rewriting of history — of how he knew it earlier, and he acknowledged the Mob. They blatantly lied.
BILL O’REILLY: Yeah, sure.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Amazing, man. Absolutely amazing. When you read this book, how do you want the reader to walk away? I’ll tell you how I felt when I walked away from this. But what was your aim? Through the 40-plus years of being a journalist and extremely successful, you know how to tap into what’s on people’s minds.
BILL O’REILLY: I’m reporting history.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: One second, Bill. You’re being modest. You and other people of your stature — you’re successful in what you do because you’re able to tap in what’s front-of-mind for most people. You agree with that, right?
BILL O’REILLY: Yeah, I’m one of the regular folks. That’s who my friends are. I was brought up in Levittown. That’s who I write for. Now, I’m not some snobby Manhattan, Georgetown or L.A. guy. I don’t care about that.
BILL O’REILLY: But you asked a very good question. What do I want the reader to take away from [the book]? After you’ve finished reading Killing the Mob, I want you to know how evil these people actually were. The movies and TV shows have distorted that.
BILL O’REILLY: These actors like Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde, Al Pacino and Marlon Brando in The Godfather, Denzel Washington in American Gangster, and Gandolfini in The Sopranos are so talented. They’re so charismatic that even though you’re watching them do bad things, you feel empathy for them because they’re so charismatic.
BILL O’REILLY: No! These were the worst [people]. They hurt and kill people for money. To this day, that’s what they do. That’s what they’ve always done. Al Capone is the worst! So, when you’re finished reading Killing the Mob — because we don’t do any of that glamorization — you’ll know how bad they are.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: So, why is it that I love watching The Godfather? I loved Martin Scorsese — Goodfellas, Casino. I didn’t like his last movie — The Irishman or something. I thought it was terrible. But Goodfellas … what a movie. Why do I like that?
BILL O’REILLY: [It’s] because of the actors! The actors are so good. They draw you into the drama that’s taking place. Scorsese and Coppola know that world. They keep it moving. So, you don’t get bored. And the storylines are compelling. You don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s essentially cops and robbers. I understand. But I felt that there had to be one book — a history book — that really told the truth about organized crime in America. Killing the Mob is that book.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: You touched on the economic powerhouse that it was in terms of controlling Las Vegas and parts of the economy. And I don’t mean control. I shouldn’t say controlling. But it monopolized it through sheer force, threats and an army. It cost the American people billions of dollars.
BILL O’REILLY: Sure. Al Capone set the template. What he did in Chicago — controlling the bootleg alcohol during prohibition — he made billions of dollars in today’s money. Back then, it was millions of dollars. He controlled an entire city and state because he bribed everybody. Everybody was on his pad.
BILL O’REILLY: They finally got him because he spent so much money, but when he filed a tax return, it said he didn’t make any. They were able to convict him. He went to Alcatraz, and that was the end of Al Capone.
BILL O’REILLY: But they took organized crime from him and said: “You know what? We can do that on a national level. What he did in Chicago, we can do everywhere. We’ll divide up the territory, but we’ll all cooperate.” That’s the Mob — the Mafia.
BILL O’REILLY: So, there was a meeting in 1946 in Havana. Organized crime owned Cuba. They bought Batista, which is one of the reasons that Castro was able to take over. Batista was so corrupt. There was a big meeting, and all the Mob guys went. And Luciano was the big godfather.
BILL O’REILLY: But in that meeting, Vito Genovese said: “We’re going to change. We’re going to sell narcotics.” Luciano didn’t want to do that. Just like in The Godfather — where Don Corleone says: “No, we’re not going to get into that business” — that’s what Luciano said. But Vito Genovese won that. And today, 80% of the Mob’s money — which is billions of dollars — comes from the distribution of narcotics.
BILL O’REILLY: It seems that the Mafia — throughout the last 100 years — was an institution that continued to learn and get smarter.
BILL O’REILLY: It adapts. I don’t know about getting smarter. One of the interesting things about Killing the Mob is that there’s only one person in the whole book who doesn’t get killed or put in prison forever. Only one. And that’s Sidney Korshak.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I was going to try to guess it. Right.
BILL O’REILLY: And he wasn’t a Mob guy.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Yeah, he was a lawyer.
BILL O’REILLY: But all of the others got what they deserved. It shows you that if you’re going to go into this, you’re not going to come out of it.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I think my listeners would love this. Lucky Luciano had everything, and he died destitute. His friends wouldn’t even give him money.
BILL O’REILLY: Lucky Luciano is buried in Queens. Did you know that?
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I did not know that.
BILL O’REILLY: Yeah, at St. John’s Cemetery. Luciano was an early 30s guy, and he built up his power in New York — so much so that he had a personal relationship with Governor Thomas Dewey. Luciano alleged that he paid Dewey hundreds of thousands of dollars. It didn’t help. Luciano was convicted in New York and went upstate to a state penitentiary.
BILL O’REILLY: But in the penitentiary, he still ran the Mob. Now, during World War II — and I didn’t know this even though I wrote a book called Killing Patton — I thought I knew everything about Patton. I didn’t know this.
BILL O’REILLY: After the Nazi general Rommel was defeated in North Africa, Eisenhower and FDR told Patton: “You have to invade Europe. And we want you to go through Sicily.” Well, who controls Sicily? For centuries, the Mafia controlled Sicily. Germans were there. Through intermediaries, there was a deal made with Lucky Luciano. The Mafia in Sicily would practice sabotage on the Germans and provide intel to Patton on where he should land the Third Army — which the Mafia did.
BILL O’REILLY: In return, FDR agreed to take a whole bunch of “gentlemen” from Sicily into the United States in 1946. They were all Mob guys. Now, because Luciano cooperated with the U.S. Government and helped on the docks — because the Mob controlled the Teamsters, and he rooted out German saboteurs — he got out of prison. But they deported him.
BILL O’REILLY: The government double-crossed Lucky Luciano and immediately sent him over to Italy — where he didn’t want to be. So, Luciano went to Cuba and assembled all the U.S. Mob guys, knowing he couldn’t come back to the U.S. They would have put him right back in prison.
BILL O’REILLY: But once Vito Genovese took over as the primary godfather, Luciano lost all his power. And as you said, he was broke and didn’t have anywhere to go. He died, and he was buried in Queens.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I just found it shocking that he asked all of his friends for money, and they didn’t give him a nickel.
BILL O’REILLY: Nothing.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I think you said that all of them died — some of them terrible deaths. But was there anyone who died in his bed?
BILL O’REILLY: In a sense, Luciano did. But he died homeless. He didn’t have anywhere to go. He didn’t want to go back to Naples, where his people were. The rest of them — even Giancana, who was as powerful as they came — was assassinated in his kitchen. So, again, if you get involved with this stuff, you’re not going to get out of it.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: How come? I’m from Brooklyn. There wasn’t much about John Gotti. In fact, I didn’t see anything about him.
BILL O’REILLY: He was a punk. He didn’t rise to the others. John Gotti was basically a mobster who controlled a small section of Brooklyn and Queens. He strutted around, and everybody in the city knew him — Dapper Don or Teflon Don. His people bribed the juries. He was always acquitted, but they got him because of the RICO laws. That was the turning point.
BILL O’REILLY: Once the technology developed so that the federal government could tap you anywhere, then organized crime guys started getting like this. But essentially, John Gotti was a punk — a shakedown artist. He wasn’t at the level of the guys that we wrote about.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Look at Giancana. He wasn’t a mastermind. He wasn’t a Lansky — who could put together Vegas.
BILL O’REILLY: That kind of power, right.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: So, he was like — and I’m just using this as an example — the Steve Jobs of this world. That’s what some of these guys do. They create amazing empires. It’s illegal, but it’s brilliant how they came and took over — or created — Las Vegas.
BILL O’REILLY: That was Meyer Lansky — a Jewish gangster — who made an alliance with the Sicilians. Meyer Lansky was a brilliant financier. He was expertly played in The Godfather by Lee Strasberg.
BILL O’REILLY: Lansky basically told Luciano: “Look, we can have our own city. We have our own country — Cuba — but it’s not in the USA. So, I’m going to send out my pal Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. We’re going to take money from the Teamsters Pension Fund,” which the Mob did all the time, “[and] we’re going to build a casino called the Flamingo Hotel and take over Nevada” — which they did.
BILL O’REILLY: But in the meantime, Bugsy Siegel started skimming money from Lansky and the Mob and sent it to Switzerland through his girlfriend — the notorious Virginia Hill. And then, Bugsy gets assassinated in L.A. We walk you through that assassination. We put you there at all of the assassinations. You see exactly what happened.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: It’s pretty graphic where he gets shot — which bullet killed him. And they never found out who assassinated him.
BILL O’REILLY: The L.A. cops didn’t even look. At that point in history, they weren’t going to mess with Giancana. They knew that hit came from the East Coast. They weren’t going to get involved.
BILL O’REILLY: So, you mentioned Lansky and Double Cross. I’m sure you know this. In 1947 and 1948, when Israel was about to become a state, the Teamsters allowed a lot of guns and everything — and marked the containers as “agriculture.” So, it was getting to Israel. And then, when Lansky applied for the Law of Return to be a citizen of the state of Israel, the Israeli government said no.
BILL O’REILLY: Yeah, that’s because Harry Truman said no.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: That was it. They turned him down.
BILL O’REILLY: And Eisenhower upheld what Truman did. Truman was an interesting guy because he knew, before most other people, what was really happening on a big-picture scale. They had a little list. They had a little list. Eisenhower knew. Certainly, JFK knew because he wouldn’t have been president without organized crime.
BILL O’REILLY: They rigged the vote in Cook County in Chicago to go for Kennedy. And he won Illinois when he really didn’t. Richard Nixon knew that but chose not to make a big deal out of it for other reasons.
BILL O’REILLY: When I wrote Killing the Mob, it was really fun to write. It really was. Because you all these people. You know the names — Frank Sinatra and Desi Arnaz. All the movie stars and rock people.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: The Desi Arnaz story. Tell me that again.
BILL O’REILLY: I’m not going to tell you because the Desi Arnaz story has never been told. Nobody knows it. It’s in Killing the Mob. That’s Lucille Ball’s husband. I don’t tell it because I want people to buy the book. It’s worth $20 just for the Desi Arnaz story. And you know it because you read it.
BILL O’REILLY: I looked, and I read it twice. I said: “Wait, Desi Arnaz?” I thought maybe it was some other Desi Arnaz. Wow. He came pretty close. My goodness.
BILL O’REILLY: Yeah.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: My goodness. What did you learn about Frank Sinatra?
BILL O’REILLY: He was up to his eyebrows at the Mob. He loved it. He wanted to be a Mafioso. Whenever they called, he came running. They got him out of his contract as a young singer during the big band era. He didn’t want to do it anymore. The Mob visited the band leader, and they said: “I think Frank’s going to retire.” Frank retired. The Mob got him From Here to Eternity, where he won an Academy Award. He played at all the Mob hotels. He was like that [crosses fingers] with all of them. He loved them.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: By the way, you have a great line in there. It wasn’t your line. You got it. He said: “I’d rather be don for the Mafia than President of the United States.”
BILL O’REILLY: Yeah, Frank was “one of the boys,” as they say.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: What do you think drove him to that? Was he paying back favors, or did he really want to be a mobster?
BILL O’REILLY: I don’t think Frank Sinatra had a moral bone in his body. We tell that Marilyn Monroe story at Lake Tahoe. I almost didn’t put that in. It’s so disturbing. I think he was a sociopath and a narcissist. That kind of evil seeks other evil. That’s my analysis of Frank Sinatra.
BILL O’REILLY: You totally threw me for a loop with Desi Arnaz. With Frank Sinatra I was like: “Wow, this is Frank Sinatra?” I don’t want to give away the whole book. There’s another part that’s worth it. Frank Sinatra came close to wearing cement shoes. If it wasn’t for one person saying: “I like his music when I make love to one of the women…”
BILL O’REILLY: That was Giancana.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: How bothered were you by — and you really dig deep into this — how up to their eyeballs the Kennedys were with the Mob?
BILL O’REILLY: It wasn’t the brothers — JFK and RFK. It was the father. Joseph Kennedy, the patriarch of the Kennedy family, had business associations with organized crime. He wasn’t a mobster. There’s a myth that he bootlegged alcohol. He didn’t. He controlled all of the wine that went to Catholic masses across the country.
BILL O’REILLY: You can imagine what a lucrative franchise that was.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: [It was] during Prohibition.
BILL O’REILLY: That was Joe Kennedy. They had an exemption. They could use wine at Mass. And Kennedy controlled it. He wasn’t a bootlegger, but he knew. He dined with them. He’d stay at the Fontainebleau hotel — a notorious Mob hotel in Miami Beach. And then, he made deals. “Look, you help us out and get Jack elected, and we’ll do you a favor.
BILL O’REILLY: But JFK didn’t get involved with any of that. Particularly because he shared a mistress with Sam Giancana: Judith Exner Campbell. A tawdry story. Bobby went against his father — and his brother to some extent. He was the only one who really went after the Mob with a ferocity never before seen in this country. Bobby Kennedy did more damage to organized crime than any other human being on the face of the earth. And that’s a large part of my book.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: If you had to find the hero in the story, would it be RFK?
BILL O’REILLY: Yeah, no doubt about it.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: His father was a god. He upset the apple cart in a huge way. And what was it — morals or his tough Irish upbringing — to be a winner?
BILL O’REILLY: I talked a lot to Bobby Kennedy Jr. about that. And what I walked away with — and I’m not going to quote him — was the fact that Bobby Kennedy didn’t like his father very much. His father favored Joe and Jack — the two older boys — and Bobby got short-shifted. So, this was a little payback. That’s what I came away with.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Really? Everything was set up. Without the Mob, he wouldn’t have won Illinois. And JFK had a deal. He was not going to go after the Mob and sent messages back and forth. Robert went right after him with tenacity. He stood up to J. Edgar Hoover, which was not an easy thing to do.
BILL O’REILLY: Nope. He wouldn’t let Hoover get in the way. He primarily went after Hoffa. That was amazing, and that’s when the media first got involved. One got really personal. Then finally, the media turned around and started to report a little bit about it.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Who would you say was the most tragic figure is in this whole book?
BILL O’REILLY: The American people. Do you know how many poor people the Mob has hurt by extortion? They go into pizza places and say: “You’ve got to pay me 20%” by selling fentanyl, heroin and cocaine. They’re getting people addicted and killing them with that. The American people have been victimized by organized crime for almost 100 years. That’s why I wrote this book. It’s not what you see in the movies and on TV.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I have a question about Alex Green. He’s a good friend of mine. I had him on the show. He’s a great guy, and speaks the world of you. How did you connect with Alex? He told me that you were a subscriber of his newsletter for a long while.
BILL O’REILLY: This is a really interesting story. When I became successful — and was earning good money — I looked around for some investment advice. I [tried] a few newsletters and this and that. I got killed in the market. I got slaughtered. And I wasn’t crazy. I was a conservative investor. I’m from Levittown. I work hard for my money.
BILL O’REILLY: By chance, I bought a subscription to The Oxford Club out of Baltimore. I didn’t really know them. I looked at their materials and said: “Let me give this a shot.” All of a sudden, I took a few of Alex Green’s recommendations — I write them all down — and started to make some pretty good money. So, I became a lifetime member of The Oxford Club and made more money.
BILL O’REILLY: I’ve done very well. That was in 2003 — 18 years ago. So, I was happy with my newsletter, and I was doing pretty well in the market. Alex would have some losers — like every other human being — but many more winners.
BILL O’REILLY: They got wind that I was a subscriber. They contacted me and said: “Would you interview Alex?” And I said: “Sure. I think Alex is good. I want people to know about him.” So, I interviewed him.
BILL O’REILLY: But there’s always the caveat: If you’re going to get in the stock market, you could lose. Because I have.” But it is a liberating force if you are responsible and disciplined. You can increase your personal wealth, which gives you power and security. So, we developed a relationship after that interview. I tell everybody: “This is the best guy that I know as far as the stock market is concerned.” It’s as simple as that.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Outstanding. It’s 18 years later, and you guys are still friends. And you’re still a lifetime subscriber. Fantastic. Bill, I have to get you a subscription to my newsletter: Alpha Investor. I think you’ll like it. I can’t say [that you’ll like it] just as much as Alex’s. You guys have 18 years on me. But I think you’ll like it a lot.
BILL O’REILLY: Thank you, Charles. That’s very kind of you.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I think you’re a great guy. No matter how much money you make, you’ll still be a regular guy that you can sit down and have a beer with. I feel that way with you. Do most people feel that way?
BILL O’REILLY: I don’t want to be snooty or supercilious — word of the day. I don’t want to be arrogant. I just want to try to do as much good as I can with the skills that I have. And that’s what I put out.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Bill O’Reilly, thanks for being on the show. The name of the book is Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America. As Bill said, it’s worth $20 just to read about the Desi Arnaz story. Did that appear anywhere else?
BILL O’REILLY: Not that I know of.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Wow. Crazy, huh? Bill, thanks so much.
BILL O’REILLY: Thanks for having me, Charles. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Thanks for listening to this episode of The Charles Mizrahi Show. If you’re a new listener, welcome! If you’ve been listening for a while, we’re glad to have you back. Either way, we’d love to know what you think of the show. Please leave a review if you listen on Apple Podcasts. Reviews make it easier for others to find the show. You can also see the video of the interview on The Charles Mizrahi Show channel on YouTube.
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