MOB SCION AMONG THE ATTENDEES AT THE OPENING OF MOB MUSEUM SPEAKEASY
For Meyer Lansky II, walking into the Mob Museum’s latest attraction was akin to stepping back to the prohibition era.
Upon entering The Underground, a speakeasy in the museum’s basement, Lansky, 60, was greeted with a Roaring 20s scene, complete with flapper girls at every turn, loud music and hideaway side rooms.
There was even an operating moonshine still where attendees could watch hooch being made.
Lansky pronounced the city’s new nightspot “very authentic. It reminded me of the ones in New York City. The only thing missing was the tunnel they used to load the liquor in,” said Lansky.
Hundreds turned out for the V.I.P. grand opening party, including former Mayor Oscar Goodman, known for his successful defense of many a mobster during the height of the organized crime days in Las Vegas.
“People like being in that era,” said Lansky, who has lived in Las Vegas for about a decade.
His grandfather, Meyer Lansky, and Ben “Bugsy” Siegel got a foothold in Las Vegas in 1945 when they co-owned the El Cortez Hotel with Gus Greenbaum and Moe Sedway.
“My dad told me a story,” he said, "about driving out here from Miami Beach with my grandfather to see Siegel,” who was building the Flamingo.
“My grandfather wanted to know what was going on. My dad said he didn’t go inside. He stayed outside and remembered a big (construction) wall. “
Lansky's grandfather, one of the most powerful gangsters of his day, was known as the mob’s accountant. He was checking in on the progress of his childhood friend’s project, the Flamingo, which was running behind schedule.
“Ben was pre-occupied,” said Lansky II. “He was more like a playboy.”
Siegel’s days were numbered and he was found dead June 20, 1947 at his home in Beverly Hills.
I’ve known Lansky for years and while we were chatting he noted that it was a significant day in history.
For the first time in nearly six decades, Cuba did not have a member of the Castro family in charge.
His grandfather and other mob associates had built the Havana Riviera and its massive casino in 1957, only to see Fidel Castro confiscate it after taking over the country in the 1959 revolution.
The elder Lansky died in 1983 at the age of 80.
“My thing now,” said Lansky II, “with no more Castros involved, I want to visit the hotel.”
The Trump administration tightened restrictions on travel to Cuba late last year, but it is still allowed.
TO BOOK NORM AS A KEYNOTE SPEAKER OR TO INTERVIEW YOUR GUEST OF HONOR AT YOUR PRIVATE OR CORPORATE EVENT, PLEASE CONTACT JOANNE DOWNEY HERE