Las Vegas. September 8, 2013. Mob-Con 2013 began Saturday, September 7, at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino and continues through today. Produced by Robert George Allen of Las Vegas Mob Tour and Haunted Vegas Tours, and Frank Cullotta, former Number Two man in Tony Spilotro’s infamous “Hole in the Wall Gang,” the conference kicked off Friday night with a cocktail party at the Mob Attraction at the Tropicana Hotel and a tour of the Attraction itself. There is and always has been a fascination with the activities and the members of “the mob” and many fans of true crime books, movies and TV shows were among the attendees at Friday’s event. It was a unique opportunity to chat with the featured speakers up close and personal.
Nearly 100 people attended including many of the convention speakers. We chatted with former mobsters Frank Cullotta, Andrew DiDonato, Frank Calabrese, Kenji Gallo, and Tony Montana. On the other side of the fence we met Vito Collucci, Jr., Dennis Arnoldy, Dennis N. Griffin, Gary Magnesen, and Warren Hull, the men who pursued organized crime figures. These men all have written books and were speakers at the Saturday session. The Sunday session speakers are listed on the Mob-Con website.
With many interactive exhibits, the tour of The Mob Attraction was a great experience as a prelude to the convention. This Examiner became “Mama B” with my crew Dicksie the Brain and Eddie the Muscle during a sitdown with Big Tony. A good time was had by all.
The Saturday session was one-of-a-kind as the former members of notorious crime families shared stories about their experiences, their entrance into organized crime and what they had to do to survive. The stories showed a side of organized crime somewhat different that what most of us perceive it to be from movies, TV and fictional novels. They discussed how normal it was to them and that when the chips were down they had to do whatever it took to survive. Read their books to learn more about what it is really like to be in the mob.
The law enforcement speakers shared research into things like Warren Hull’s quest to find out the truth about Bugsy Siegel’s murder, Dennis N. Griffin who also has authored or co-authored a myriad of books about organized crime chatted with one of his co-authors Anthony DiDonato about situations that seem funny now but probably were not when they happened. DiDonato, whom I’ve interviewed for Examiner before, has a captivating style and humor. Robert Allen quipped that he was missing the boat and should put together a stand-up comedy routine. Vito Collucci, Jr. shared his experiences in uncovering rampant corruption in the Stamford, Connecticut Police Department. Gary Magnesen revealed fascinating facts about investigations into Howard Hughes.
Robert Allen also shared the difficulties he and Frank Cullotta had in booking a venue for the convention. Apparently no hotel or casino wanted to be involved until they finally convinced the Palace Station to provide the facilities.
All in all Mob-Con has proven to be a unique convention that will most likely become an annual Las Vegas event. With tickets to the 2014 convention being part of a $500 raffle prize, it is clear that there will be another one next year. If you are a true crime fan, put it on your radar. It is a great chance to meet those on both sides of the law, listen to their stories and get autographed copies of their books.
MORGAN ST. JAMES is the author of ten books in publication and also writes Writers’ Tricks of the Trade columns in the Las Vegas and Los Angeles editions of examiner.com. Her most recent book Who’s Got the Money? is a funny crime caper centered around a very clever embezzlement in the Federal prison system.
St. James co-authored La Bella Mafia with Dennis N. Griffin as told by Bella Capo, a shocking true story of survival and giving back now available for presale at Amazon and Houdini Publishing. Release date October 15, 2013.
For more information about Morgan and her other books, visit www.morganstjames-author.com.