By Gary Jenkins for Gangsters Inc.
"GLICK QUITTING NEVADA GAMING" was the Las Vegas Sun headline in August 1978. A Kansas City Star headline will read a few years later, “GLICK TESTIFIES IN CASINO TRIAL.” Allen R. Glick died at age 79 on August 6, 2021. After giving devastating testimony against the Mob in the 1980s Las Vegas skim trials, he lived out his life and died of natural causes.
His obituary notes he passed away in the seaside neighborhood of La Jolla in San Diego following an extended battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, two sons, and two grandsons. He lived out his life in his home in La Jolla, California. He did live in a gated community and often employed private security, but otherwise, he did not take any extraordinary precautions. He was known to be active in the social scene and attended fundraisers at a country club. I found a Facebook entry by a man who met him at a Vietnam Veterans function and posted a picture on his page.
The idea that anyone who helps the government investigate the Mob will be found and murdered has long permeated Mafia lore. Organized crime uses this mythical threat to keep potential witnesses silent. Allen Glick defied that threat and lived to tell the story. He was a short, bespectacled, prematurely balding man who spoke softly. He gave the appearance of an accountant rather than a flamboyant casino magnate. Glick’s obituary provided clues to the inner toughness that may have given him the courage to take on the Milwaukee, Kansas City, Chicago, and Cleveland Mafia families. According to his obituary, he entered the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant in 1967. The Army assigned him to Special Operations in Vietnam, where he learned the Vietnamese language and participated in search and rescue operations. The Military awarded him a Bronze Star, three Combat Air Medals, and the Vietnamese Medal of Honor. Ohio State awarded Glick a B.A., and he obtained a J. D. from the Case-Western Reserve School of Law. The Bar in Pennsylvania and California admitted Glick to the practice of law in those states.
Allen Glick (right) never really practiced law, and during the 1970s, he got into real estate in the southwestern part of the United States. He settled in San Diego. Glick joined a residential home-building firm. Later he moved to the Saratoga Development Corporation. In a short time, Glick obtained a $2.3 million loan from Saratoga and purchased the bankrupt Hacienda hotel-casino at the far end of the Las Vegas strip. At this time, the Nevada Gaming Control Board believed Glick was a well-respected businessman investing in the casino business. He had no problem passing Gaming Control Board background investigations.
Glick wanted to increase his stake in the casino business. Banks did not loan money to casino investors in the 1970s, so Glick went to the financial entity lending money to purchase a casino, the Central States Teamster Pension Fund. He contacted Alvin Baron, pension assets manager, and the man to see for a casino loan. Alvin Baron was also a man who would receive a conviction for demanding a $200,000 kickback on a $1.3 million loan from the fund. Glick told author Nicholas Pileggi that he expected to meet a banker-type individual, but instead, he found Alvin Baron to be a gruff, tough-talking cigar-chomping Teamster who greeted him with, “What the fuck do you want?” Baron proposed buying a bankrupt casino that owed an enormous debt to the pension fund because Glick had a Gaming Commission license. Baron wanted to get this debt off his books, but Glick and Baron could not agree to terms. After that, Glick made another loan application to the corrupt Teamster Alvin Baron to finance a large office complex that would house government entities like the I.R.S. in Austin, Texas. Baron approved that loan, and Glick was on his way.
Glick continued to search for a casino deal. He learned that Del Coleman owned the Recrion Corporation, a small privately held company that owned the Stardust and Fremont casino hotels. Glick did not have the money for such an enormous deal. He was able to put together $2 million just to be involved in the negotiations because Dunes Owner and former Hoffa attorney Morris Shenker was negotiating to purchase these properties. In his book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas, Nicholas Pileggi reported that Glick claimed he phoned the Teamster, Al Baron, with this plan. Baron supposedly heard Glick’s pitch and invited him to Chicago for a meeting. Baron introduced him to a Pension Fund trustee in Chicago named Frank Ranney, who represented the Milwaukee teamsters. Baron explained to Glick that he must convince this pension fund trustee to introduce the deal to the entire board for approval. Baron said a man named Frank Balistrieri from Milwaukee would be his link to Frank Ranney.
Glick returned to Las Vegas, and Frank Balistrieri flew out from Milwaukee and met him at his Hacienda casino. Glick reported that Balistrieri agreed to help, and he submitted the loan package to Frank Ranney. Balistreri invited Glick to Milwaukee to meet his attorneys, his sons, John and Joseph Balistreri. The Pension board approved a $62 million loan, and Allen Glick traveled to Milwaukee as requested. He acknowledged to Pileggi that he understood the F.B.I. knew Frank Balistrieri as the mob boss of Milwaukee. At this meeting, Balistreri told Glick that he must agree to sell 50% of his share for $25,000 to his sons if he should ever decide to sell out. Glick argued Balistreri out of this option but did agree to give the Balistreri brothers a generous retainer for future legal services.
I included the images of letters from Glick supporting this claim:
Allen Glick and Frank Lefty Rosenthal
The Teamster's Pension fund granted 32-year-old Allen Glick this $62 million loan from pension fund assets. He borrowed another $2 million from a wealthy California matron named Tamara Rand. In a mysterious incident, an unknown person will murder Ms. Rand with a .22 caliber pistol, gangland execution-style. By 1974, Glick owned the Stardust, Fremont, Marina, and Hacienda casinos. Acting on instructions from Milwaukee, he announced he is hiring Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal (right) as an executive consultant for the three casinos. Rosenthal was a Chicago Outfit associate placed in Las Vegas to serve their interest. Glick alleged he did not know he was supposed to grant Rosenthal enough authority to hire employees that could set up a scheme for skimming money from casino proceeds. The system required trusted employees to remove the skim money before other employees counted it for accounting and tax purposes. Glick later claimed he did not understand that this pension fund loan made him responsible to the Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland, and Kansas City Crime Families.
Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal was a strong personality, and he used his position as an executive consultant to act as the overall hotel-casino manager. All employees feared him for his dictatorial ways. UNLV Professor Michael Green said his father worked under Lefty for a while, and he remembered how Lefty would line up Blackjack dealers and harangue them, then arbitrarily fire one or more. Dr. Green confirmed the story that Lefty would count the blueberries in each blueberry muffin. Another story comes from a former casino employee named Lynn Copraviza. She worked in the accounting department, and Lefty drafted her to help edit his television show. Lefty had created an on-site television show he called the lefty Rosenthal show. He ran a Johnny Carson type interview show and had such guests as Frank Sinatra or Muhammed Ali. Glick told Ms. Copraviza that she must stick to accounting and not take off to help Rosenthal. She complained to Lefty, and while she watched, he called Glick and told him never to direct Ms. Copraviza on where she should work, or he would “break both his legs.” She said, “He never bothered me again.”
Kansas City Electronic Surveillance
During these years, in Kansas City, Missouri, a mob war between the dominant Civella faction, led by Nick Civella, and an upstart young Turk faction led by an associate named Carl Spero was starting to heat up with several murders. F.B.I. informants and surveillance reports noted that members of these factions appeared to be stalking each other. The F.B.I. drafted the Kansas City Police Intelligence Unit to help lay on heavy surveillance of these opposing factions. F.B.I. agents William Ouseley and Lee Flosi learned from an informant that the Civella Underboss, Carl “Tuffy” DeLuna, and Nick Civella’s brother, Carl “Cork” Civella (left), often met at a back table in a pizza restaurant and bar called the Villa Capri. The informant claimed they often discussed various murder plots and other crimes. Surveillance reports supported the allegation that these men often met here and always sat at the same rear table. Technical agents came in late one night and installed a listening device. Agent Bill Ouseley remembered, “After listening to “Staying Alive” on the jukebox many hours, one night in June, I heard something that piqued my interest.”
- READ: “His demeanor was very vulgar, coarse and he used many profanities” - The Kansas City Mob and the skimming of Las Vegas casinos
Carl DeLuna: I told you, Carl, you saying about the public announcement. Remember that I told you that Genius was there when Joe went and cashed that check and Jay Brown was there.
Carl Civella: Yeah at the Stardust.
Carl DeLuna: Genius was all for this deal. He wants to make a public announcement. Its just like I told him, Just do what you got to do, make a public announcement, and get out. Pick out whatever fucking reason you want. Just make a public announcement and get out. I put that into his head.
Carl DeLuna: uh, can't be two million a year Carl, can't be --
Carl Civella: -- two million a month, (unintelligible) twenty-five million a year, they can't make it.
Carl DeLuna: If it is something like two million a month, if it is, where the fuck is his, his debt service ah, I'm talking about the Genius's debt service. Can't be nowhere near that, can't be two million a month Carl. Where is his net gonna be monthly? (unintelligible) Unless like you said, are we gonna get a piece of
Carl Civella: Are we in with them on that? 'Cause if you gotta pay two million a month for rent, now we're only in with the operators, right? ‘Member, you remember the deal in Chicago, talkin' --
Carl DeLuna: Yeah, four and half million --
Carl Civella: A year.
Carl Deluna: Right, a year, right.
Around this same time, Allen Glick publically announced he was selling out his interest in the casino business. Other parts of this conversation grabbed their attention. Investigators will learn that Genius is the codename for Allen Glick.
These conversations will lead to multiple wiretaps and hidden microphones in Kansas City, Las Vegas, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Cleveland. During this part of the investigation, Allen Glick made a public announcement and sold his four casinsos. Kansas City put together a financing package to compete with Chicago and buy this cash cow. In the end, Chicago will dominate, and a man named Al Sachs will head a group to make the purchase.
Allen Glick Testifies
At trial, Allen Glick will become the star witness. He collaborates the above conversation about making a public announcement by giving the following testimony.
Prosecutor: Where did you meet Carl DeLuna
Allen Glick: I met Mr. DeLuna in Mr. Oscar Goodman’s office . . . I entered the office and behind Mr. Goodman’s desk with his feet up on the desk was Mr. DeLuna.
Prosecutor: tell the ladies and gentlemen of the jury what occurred in that office on April 25, 1978
Allen Glick: I entered Mr. Goodman’s office, and Mr. DeLuna, in a gruff voice, using graphic terms, told me to sit down. With that, he pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket – he was wearing a three-piece suit, I believe -out of his vest pocket. And he looked down at the paper for a few seconds. Then he looked up at me and he informed me he was sent to deliver one last message from his partners. And he began reading the paper . . . He said he and his partners were finally sick of having to deal with me and that I can no longer be tolerated. . . . and that I was to announce the sale of Argent Corporation as soon as I left Mr. Goodman’s office that day. . . . And he says that since I may find my life as expendable, he was certain that I wouldn’t find my children’s lives expendable. With that, he looked down at the piece fo paper and gave me the names and ages of each one of my sons. He said that if he did not hear in a short time that I announced the sale, that one by one, he would have each of my son’s murdered.
Nick Civella and Allen Glick
Allen Glick testified to all these details and an additional threat made directly to him by Nick Civella (left). The Mob wanted Glick out because he was helping the Nevada Gaming Commission remove Rosenthal. Glick was also working to reduce Rosenthals’s influence until Nevada Gaming permanently barred him. Even when the Gaming Commission temporarily banned him for a short period, Lefty worked from home and used his telephone to give orders to Stardust employees. During the trial, Glick testified that Lefty Rosenthal once asked him to attend a meeting with an important man in Kansas City. They took the company plane to Kansas City, and someone drove them to a hotel on the airport grounds. Once inside the hotel room, another man told Glick to sit at a side table where the only light was a desk lamp shining directly into his eyes. A man came out of the darkness and identified themselves as Nick Civella. Glick testified Civella claimed he (Glick) owed Civella a million and one-half dollars. When Glick replied that he did not have any way to repay this debt. Civella stated that if it were up to him, Glick would not leave this hotel room alive. He said it was not his decision alone and instructed him to let Rosenthal take care of this repayment. He told Glick to let Lefty do whatever he wanted to do at the casino.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas City started this case and remained the dominant U.S. Attorney who controlled this massive investigation's range and direction. In 1981, the trials began in Kansas City for the mafia bosses from Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Kansas City. The original case agent William Ouseley was retired by that time. When Allen Glick came in to testify during the weeks-long trial, he refused any official protection. Glick did follow the suggestion of David Helfrey, the U.S. Attorney, and hired retired Agent William Ouseley to drive him back and forth to the courthouse, check his surroundings, and be a conduit to the F.B.I. if any threat should arise. Retired agent Ouseley remembers, “Glick was a taciturn, unassuming and polite guy. He went to great lengths to not appear that he was taking any sides and that he was merely reciting the events as best he could remember.” He remembered Glick was not prone to smile and appeared closed into himself and always chose his words carefully, whether testifying or in general conversation on the way back and forth to the courthouse.
When Allen Glick and Lefty Rosenthal operated the Stardust, the Hacienda, Fremont, and the Marina casinos, they introduced the first sportsbook at a casino. Lefty claimed he was the one who brought in the famous Siegfried and Roy animal act that became so popular. From 1974 to 1978, the Mob skimmed untold millions on behalf of Milwaukee, Chicago, Kansas City, and Cleveland crime families.
The saga ended in 1986 with the convictions and federal prison terms for more than a dozen top U.S. mobsters, including Milwaukee boss Frank Balistrieri, Chicago Outfit leaders Joseph Aiuppa and Jackie Cerone, Kansas City Mob bosses Carl DeLuna and Carl Civella (Nick Civella died prior to trial), and Milton Rockman of Cleveland.
Allen Glick always maintained he was not aware of the skimming, and he was a victim of the Mob. The government was happy to go along with this story because he was such an important witness. The prosecution corroborated Glick’s testimony with wiretaps, other casino employees’ testimony, and public records.
Allen Glick and his foray into the casino business became the source for Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas. From this book by author and screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, director Martin Scorsese produced and directed the iconic 1995 movie Casino. The character in the movie, named Phillip Green, was played as a genial clueless casino owned was played by Kevin Pollak.
About the author:
Gary Jenkins retired from the Kansas City Police Department in 1996 after a 25-year career. Gary attended the UMKC School of Law, and the Missouri Bar admitted him in 2000. Gary produced four documentary films. The first two were Negroes To Hire: Slave Life in Antebellum Missouri and Freedom Seekers: Stories From the Western Underground Railroad. He authored two books on Civil war events. The first is John Brown and the Last Train and the second is The Immortal Ten: A Story from the Kansas Underground Railroad.
Gangland Wire is Gary's third documentary film. Gary Jenkins takes the viewer on an insider’s journey deep inside the Kansas City Crime Family and Las Vegas, using excerpts from wiretaps and interviews with participants. He gives the viewer the real story behind the popular Scorsese narrative movie, Casino. Brothers against Brothers: The Civella Spero War is Gary’s most recent documentary. He again uses his inside knowledge to tell the story of a mob war. Gary was assigned to this investigation, so in addition to the actual wiretaps, newspaper reports, photos, reenactments, the viewer gets stories from the officers and agents that worked this dangerous case.
Additionally, Gary created a Smartphone app titled Kansas City Mob Tour. Using maps, text, photos, and video, Gary's app conducts the user on a tour of famous Kansas City mob sites. Gary produces and hosts a podcast titled Gangland Wire Crime Stories. Gary tells true crime stories from his experience using the audio podcast format and obtains guests who have either committed crimes, investigated crimes, or reported on criminals.
Gary's most recent project is his book documenting the investigation into Las Vegas skimming activities. Gary uses actual wiretap transcripts to tell the story of this investigation. The book is titled Leaving Vegas: The True Story of How the F.B.I. Wiretaps Ended Mob Domination of Las Vegas Casinos. To get an Amazon Kindle version that has links to the actual audio recorded by the F.B.I. Click on this sentence.
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