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Encyclopedia > Bugs Moran
George Clarence "Bugs" Moran

George Clarence "Bugs" Moran was born Adelard Cunin on the date of August 21, 1891 according to his biographer (see BugsMoran.net in External links at the end of this article), and died in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, February 25, 1957. He was a Chicago Prohibition-era gangster born in St. Paul, Minnesota. Moran, of Polish-Irish descent, moved to the North side of Chicago when he was 19 and ran with several gangs while being incarcerated three times before turning 21. At his first major arrest, he gave the name "George Miller". Arrested again later, he did not want to use the same name, and identified himself as "George Clarence Moran". This name stayed with him, though he used several other aliases at one time or another. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Image File history File links North6. ... Image File history File links North6. ... For other uses, see August (disambiguation). ... Year 1891 (MDCCCXCI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... The United States Penitentiary (USP), Leavenworth is located in Kansas on 1,583 acres (6. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... For other uses, see Chicago (disambiguation). ... The term Prohibition, also known as A Dry Law, refers to a law in a certain country by which the manufacture, transportation, import, export, and sale of alcoholic beverages is restricted or illegal. ... State capitol building in Saint Paul Saint Paul is the capital and second-largest city of the state of Minnesota in the United States of America. ... Capital Saint Paul Largest city Minneapolis Largest metro area Minneapolis-St. ... For other uses, see Chicago (disambiguation). ...


Early Career

When Moran entered his teens, he quickly became engaged in a life of crime. Once he turned 19, he moved into Chicago and began to rise through the ranks there. He would be jailed three times while he was only 20 years old.

Moran had many contacts with the criminal element and his fiery temper became generally known in the underworld. His temper earned him the nickname “Bugs”, gangland slang for "completely crazy". One possibly apocryphal story relates that he first attained the name after arriving at a tailor shop to pick up a suit he had ordered. When told the price of the finished suit, he flew into a rage and left the shop after breaking both of the tailor's arms and legs.


Prohibition was put into effect in 1919 with the enactment of the 18th Amendment, which banned the distribution of alcoholic beverages. It was meant to improve society; however, the plan backfired when criminal enterprises sprang up to smuggle liquor. They manufactured or stole it and sold it at high prices for great profit. The popularity of alcohol and lack of legal competition ensured an endless supply of customers. This smuggling of alcohol was called bootlegging. Soon, the criminals and gangsters were enjoying profits beyond anything the basic rackets had ever provided to them, including Dean O'Banion and his group of mostly Irish thugs, who became known as the "North Side Gang". To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Dean OBanion (also Dion OBanion) (8 July 1892 - 10 November 1924) was an Irish-American mobster who was the main rival of Johnny Torrio and Al Capone during the brutal Chicago bootlegging wars of the 1920s. ...

Johnny Torrio and his lieutenant, Al “Scarface” Capone, moved to Chicago and took a piece of the action for themselves. They moved into the South side of Chicago, absorbed the territory and pushed the Southside O’Donnells (an Irish group of brothers that held a piece of the Southside and claimed it as their turf) out of the way. They quickly gathered followers and were the “Italian family” of Chicago since a majority of their group was Italian. Torrio, a peacemaker and one who did not like violence, quickly moved to establish a borderline for each gang’s territory. John Papa Johnny Torrio, a. ... “Capone” redirects here. ... The South Side of Chicago encompasses roughly 60% of the citys land area with a higher ratio of single-family homes and large sections zoned for industry. ...

Torrio tried to establish a partnership between himself and O’Banion, and it worked for quite some time. But the Gennas (a Sicilian group of brothers who owned a piece of the Southside territory and were partners of Torrio/Capone) wanted to extend their interests into other territory. They moved their liquor into O’Banions territory and sold it for half as much as what O’Banion sold it for. He was being cheated in his own territory. He quickly went to Torrio and requested help. Torrio managed to talk the Gennas down in the interest of peace. But O’Banion wasn’t pleased and decided to strike back instead. He started hijacking the Gennas shipments and selling them himself. The Genna crime family was one of the major players in the Chicago gangland wars of the 1920s. ...

He then would provoke the Italians even more by directly insulting them, calling them “greaseballs” or "dagos”. This angered the Italians even more.

Moran and O'Banion would also never pass up a chance to insult Capone to the press usually by calling him "Scarface" or "the Behemoth".

Two events would trigger the assassination of O'Banion. The first was between O'Banion and the Gennas. Torrio was on vacation and left Al Capone in charge of the operations. O'Banion came to collect a $30,000 debt from Angelo Genna, the Genna family leader.

Capone explained to O'Banion that Angelo could not pay the debt and maybe he should pass it on as good faith to keep the peace. O'Banion refused and later called up Genna and stated that he had better pay up the debt in a week 'or else'.

The next event would be the setting up of Torrio in a police raid. O'Banion contacted Torrio andstated he wanted to retire from the business and sell some of his profits to Torrio. Torrio, excited that there would be no more problems between them, jumped at the idea and met O'Banion at the warehouse. They started talking and shared a few jokes, but then the police burst in and arrested both men for Prohibition-related charges. O'Banion started to laugh, but Torrio panicked. He knew that this was his second offense and thus, he would likely do jail time.

Both men posted bail and got out. Torrio then learned O'Banion had known about the raid all along, and it was a setup. "I guess I rubbed that pimp's nose in the mud" O'Banion stated.

It was from here the Italians passed a vote to kill O'Banion. They hired outside killers to do the job and waited for Mike Merlo, the leader of the Unione Siciliana, to die because Merlo who was also a man of peace refused to allow O'Banion to be killed. Mike Merlo was born Michele Umberto Merlo in Vizzini, Sicily on August 1, 1888. ... The Unione Siciliane (or Unione Siciliana) was a Sicilian-American political organization which eventually controlled much of the Italian-American votes within the United States during the early twentieth century. ...

The killers were Frankie Yale, along with John Scalise and Albert Anselmi (colloquially known as the "Murder Twins"). They tracked O'Banion to his flower shop and entered. O'Banion, expecting flowers for Merlo's funeral to be picked wasn't suspicious of the men or their intentions. Francesco Ioele (1893 - July 1, 1928), better known as Frankie Uale or the alias of Yale, was a Brooklyn gangster and original employer of Al Capone, before the latter moved to Chicago to start his own gang. ... John Scalise (1900-1929) was an organized crime figure in the early 1900s. ... Albert Anselmi (1884-1929) was a Prohibition gangster during the 1920s. ...

Yale outstretched his hand for O'Banion to shake. O'Banion obliged. Scalise and Anselmi then drew their pistols and shot O'Banion to death.

The killers got away. The North Side gang members had lost their leader and good friend. Capone and Torrio thought that O'Banion's death might end their troubles.

Moran and the rest of the group went to O'Banion's lavish funeral. Capone and Torrio also attended the funeral, and Moran vowed to take revenge.

Battling Johnny Torrio

Earl "Hymie" Weiss took control of the North Side Gang and Moran became underboss. They were ready to strike back. Earl Hymie Weiss (1898 - October 10, 1926) was a Chicago mobster and rival of Al Capone. ... The North Side Gang, also known as the North Side Mob, was the dominant Irish-American criminal organization (although a large number of Polish and German-Americans were members as well) within Chicago during the Prohibition from the early to late 1920s and principal rival of the Johnny Torrio-Al...

On January 25, 1925, Weiss and Moran waited for Torrio outside his home. They would take him by surprise and kill him on the spot. Torrio arrived with his wife after doing a little shopping. With Drucci at the wheel, Moran and Weiss leapt out of the car and opened fire on Torrio. Torrio was hit several times and slumped to the ground. Moran walked up to Torrio and attempted to deliver the final shot to his skull. However, the gun was out of ammunition, saving Torrio's life. An angered Moran was forced to flee the scene with Torrio still alive, but unconscious. After this abortive hit, the terrified Torrio elected to retire and pass the operations of the Chicago Outfit to his protégé, Al Capone. is the 25th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... “Capone” redirects here. ...

Battling the Gennas

Now that Torrio was gone, it was time to go after an old rival -- the Gennas, who were the cause of O'Banion's and Torrio's broken partnership.

The Northsiders first went after Angelo. The Gennas had taken their leader, it was time for Moran and his gang to do the same. Moran (along with Weiss and a few others) ambushed Angelo and engaged in a dangerous car chase with the Sicilian leader. After Angelo crashed into a building, their car pulled to a halt next to Angelo's and the Northsiders blasted away, killing the crime leader. This was a terrible setback for the Gennas. Much of their power and influence had died with Angelo.

The Gennas mourned the loss of the brother and realized their business was going downhill. Next, Mike "The Devil" Genna engaged in a fierce gun battle with the Northsiders, but failed to take out his rivals. Not long after, he himself was gunned down by police in a vicious shootout.

Then, Samuzzo "Samoots" Amatuna, a Genna family backer, was gunned down by Vincent "The Schemer" Drucci. Samuel Samuzzo Samoots Amatuna (1899-November 13, 1925) was a Italian-American Prohibition gangster and member of the Genna Brothers, who served as president of the Unione Siciliane. ... Vincent The Schemer Drucci (1898–April 4, 1927), was a prominent organized crime figure from Chicagos Prohibition era, a lieutenant under Dion Deanie OBannions North Side Gang. ...

Finally, Tony Genna was shot to death. However, it was rumored that it was Capone, not the Northsiders, who ordered the hit on Genna. Capone allegedly ordered Genna's murder to finally destroy the weakened Genna Family.

Their power destroyed, the rest of the Gennas fled Chicago.

Moran vs. Capone

The bootlegging operation of Earl Weiss and Bugs Moran continued to pose a significant challenge to Capone's South Side Gang. Moran and Capone then lead a turf war with each other that cost both of them their friends and cost Capone his freedom. Moran’s hatred of Capone was apparent even to the public; he told the press that "Capone is a lowlife." Moran was also disgusted that Capone engaged in prostitution. Believing himself a better Catholic than Capone, Moran refused to run brothels. Whore redirects here. ... A brothel, also known as a bordello or whorehouse, is an establishment specifically dedicated to prostitution, providing the prostitutes a place to meet and to have sex with the clients. ...

Moran and his gang made two attempts to strike back at Capone. The first was an attempt on Capone's life. Moran (possibly with Drucci and Weiss) was driving around town searching for Capone. They found his car parked alongside the curb and saw Capone getting out. They let loose a volley of shots. Capone and his men hit the ground while their driver was injured and the car pelted with bullets. Although startled, Capone survived the attack and would be driven around in an armored car after that.

Second, Moran would himself eliminate Capone's personal security. He kidnapped one of Capone's most trusted bodyguards. He then tortured him with wire and cigarettes before finally executing him and dumping the body.

On September 20, 1926, Moran again attempted to hit Capone. This time in Cicero, Illinois, the base of Capone’s operations. A fleet of cars, with Moran in personal command, drove by the lobby of Capone's hotel. Capone and his bodyguard were drinking downstairs when the Moran gang opened fire on the lobby with their Thompson submachine guns. The attack left Capone unhurt but badly shaken; his restaurant was reduced to shreds. Although Capone escaped unharmed, the hotel attack traumatized him; he called for a truce. However, the truce did not last long, and Chicago plummeted further into gang warfare. is the 263rd day of the year (264th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Incorporated Town in 1869. ... Gang warfare is the conflict between differing groups of people identifying themselves as gangs. ...

Weiss was then gunned down weeks later after the Hawthorne attack. The two sides then traded more murderous violence before everyone decided enough was enough. A peace conference was held to hopefully sort everything out. Moran grudgingly appeared, along with Capone and the rest of the gang bosses. Capone stated "they were making a shooting gallery of a great business" and Chicago "should be seen as pie and each gang gets an individual slice". Everybody agreed and peace had finally arrived.

For the first time in years, things were quiet. No killings were connected to other gangs or turf wars. Drucci himself was killed but as a result of an altercation with the police. Both Capone and Moran attended his funeral. Moran now realized that his pals (O'Banion, Weiss, Drucci) were gone and he was the sole leader of the gang. Capone realized this too, which is why he didn't attack first because he knew a turf war with Moran would result in great bloodshed.

Both sides kept a close watch on each other after that. Moran would regularly needle Capone by hijacking his shipments and selling them for profit. Capone then retaliated by burning Moran's dog track. However, Moran never let an attack go by him without getting retribution and burned one of Capone's clubs soon after.

Moran also killed numerous friends and gang members of Capone, which both angered and saddened him. It also frightened him into having 15 (or more) bodyguards around him, and never going anywhere without looking over his shoulder. Moran further wore down Capone, both physically and mentally, by agreeing to truces, only to break them within hours. Capone eventually stated that regretted he ever came to Chicago. "If I knew I was gonna deal with this, I'd never would've left Five Points" he stated.

Moran then decided to order the death of Antonio Lombardo and Pasqualino "Patsy" Lolordo. Both men were personal friends of Capone as well as the head of the Unione Siciliana, the base of Capone's power. Capone went into mourning after their murders and his hatred for Moran grew even more. Moran also decided to escalate the war further by hijacking Capone's shipments. The Sheldon Gang, supposedly allies of the South Siders, were suspected of supplying liquor to Moran. Capone's own allies were aiding Moran. The Unione Siciliane (or Unione Siciliana) was a Sicilian-American political organization which eventually controlled much of the Italian-American votes within the United States during the early twentieth century. ... The Sheldon Gang was a Chicago bootlegging gang during the early years of Prohibition known for being the main rivals of the Saltis-McErlane Gang and the Southside ODonnell Brothers. ...

In 1929, Capone tried to strike a decisive blow against Moran with the notorious St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Gunmen dressed as police lined up a number of Moran associates against the wall in a Chicago warehouse and executed them. However, the main target of the “hit”, (Moran) narrowly eluded death. Moran spotted the squad car outside the warehouse and, believing a raid was in progress, doubled back to a coffee shop with his bodyguards. Another North Sider, Al Weinshank, was misidentified as Moran by one of Capone's lookouts, who signaled for the attack to begin. Though appalled by the massacre, Moran would continue a turf war with Capone (but to a lesser extent) and also manage to thwart a territory takeover by Frank McErlane, wounding him in a gun battle. Valentines Day Massacre may refer to many different things: History St. ... Frank McErlane (1894-8 October 1932) was a Prohibition-era gangster. ...

Contrary to popular belief, Moran managed to keep control of his territory and what remained of his gang through the end of Prohibition and through the early 30's. But with the repeal of the Volstead Act (the very thing that put the gangsters into power) the North Side gang declined along with many other gangs and Moran decided to leave Chicago after a few years. However, Capone did not go unpunished either. After the massacre, the government and the public expressed a new level of outrage with gangland killings and shootouts. With the government coming at him from all sides, Capone himself started to decline. The government managed to convict Capone of tax evasion and send him to prison in 1932. This article contrasts tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax resistance and tax mitigation. ...

In April 1930, Frank J. Loesch, chairman of the Chicago Crime Commission had compiled a "Public Enemies" list of 28 people he designated as corrupting Chicago. Capone topped the list and Moran ranked sixth. The list was published widely and ensured Moran's notoriety. Frank J. Loesch (1853-1944) was an American law enforcement official, reformer and a founder of the Chicago Crime Commission which attempted to combat the widespead corruption and organized crime related violence during Prohibition. ... The Chicago Crime Commission, founded in 1919, is a watchdog organization dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of criminal activity, especially organized crime, and its corrupting influence on the police the judicial system, and politicians. ... Public Enemy is a term which was first widely used in the United States in the 1930s to describe individuals whose activities were seen as criminal and extremely damaging to society. ...

After Prohibition

In 1936, Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn, who helped orchestrate the St. Valentine's Day Massacre for Capone, was found murdered on February 15th, almost exactly seven years to the day after the massacre. A valentine was left in the lobby of the bowling alley where he was murdered, which included a rhyming joke. Since Moran treasured pranks, a legacy of his mentor Dean O'Banion, it was commonly assumed Moran committed the murder in retaliation for the slaughter of his gang, though others point to Frank Nitti as the force behind the killing, as McGurn had become a drunken loudmouth, and a genuine liability to the South Side mob. Either theory is considered equally plausible by crime researchers. Year 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Dean OBanion (also Dion OBanion) (8 July 1892 - 10 November 1924) was an Irish-American mobster who was the main rival of Johnny Torrio and Al Capone during the brutal Chicago bootlegging wars of the 1920s. ...

The majority of published researchers of the Chicago gangland era and those who have studied Moran's life have come to the conclusion that Moran's biggest liability as a gang boss was Moran himself - he was simply not very smart in the ways of long-term survival as a mob leader. While Capone was a master at planning out moves and feints several steps in advance, Moran's approach was more that of an ordinary street brawler: cause-and-effect reactionism. Having been gradually squeezed out of Chicago after the end of Prohibition, he reverted to his earlier life and resumed committing common crimes like mail fraud and robbery. Just seventeen years after being one of the wealthiest gangsters in Chicago, Bugs Moran began spending almost all of the remainder of his life in prison, essentially penniless. In July 1946, Moran was arrested in Ohio for robbing a bank messenger of $10,000, a paltry sum compared to his lifestyle during the Prohibition days. He was convicted and sentenced to ten years in the Ohio Penitentiary. Shortly after his release, Moran was again arrested for an earlier bank raid. Moran received another ten years and was sent to the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. Just 10 days after arriving there, most of which was spent in the prison hospital, Bugs Moran died of lung cancer on February 25, 1957. He was estimated to be worth about $100 at his death, and he received a pauper's burial in the prison cemetery. Year 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full 1946 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... This article covers the prison that once stood in Columbus, Ohio. ... The United States Penitentiary (USP), Leavenworth is located in Leavenworth, Kansas on 1,583 acres (6. ... Lung cancer is a disease of uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. ... is the 56th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ...

External links

Preceded by
Vincent Drucci
North Side Gang Boss
Succeeded by
Lucas Cavanaugh
Find A Grave is an online database of seventeen million cemeteries and burial records. ... Vincent The Schemer Drucci (1898–April 4, 1927), was a prominent organized crime figure from Chicagos Prohibition era, a lieutenant under Dion Deanie OBannions North Side Gang. ... The North Side Gang, also known as the North Side Mob, was the dominant Irish-American criminal organization (although a large number of Polish and German-Americans were members as well) within Chicago during the Prohibition from the early to late 1920s and principal rival of the Johnny Torrio-Al...

  Results from FactBites:
St. Valentine's Day massacre - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (666 words)
Moran and his men would be tricked into visiting a warehouse on North Clark Street on the pretext of buying some bargain hijacked bootleg whiskey; Burke's team would then enter the building disguised as police officers and kill them.
Moran's gang members were told to line up facing the back wall, which they apparently did willingly, believing their captors were real (and comparatively harmless) police.
The massacre marked the end of Moran's power on the North Side, and his gang vanished into obscurity, enabling Capone to take over the area; however, the event also brought the belated and full attention of the federal government to Capone and his criminal activities.
Bugs Moran - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (515 words)
Moran hated Capone and verbally attacked him in the press, as well, saying "Capone is a lowlife." Moran also felt superior to Capone's gang because Capone's gang was involved in the prostitution racket, something Moran, a devout Catholic, refused to dabble in.
Moran's remaining gambling institutions were taken over by the Outfit, led now by Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti.
In July 1946, Moran was arrested for robbing a bank messenger in Ohio of $10,000, a paltry amount compared to Moran's lifestyle during the Prohibition days.
  More results at FactBites »



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