The Political Graveyard: A Database of American History
Politicians in Trouble or Disgrace

Politicians in Trouble or Disgrace: Gambling
Illegal gaming for money

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in chronological order

  Edward T. Noland (d. 1926) — of Jackson County, Mo. Democrat. Missouri state treasurer, 1889-90; resigned 1890. In March 1890, following reports of his drunkenness and gambling, his accounts were investigated; a shortage of about $32,000 was discovered; suspended from office as state treasurer, and resigned a few days later; arrested soon after, and charged with embezzlement; tried in 1891, and ultimately convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. Died June 26, 1926. Burial location unknown.
Thomas F. Grady Thomas Francis Grady (1853-1912) — also known as Thomas F. Grady; Tom Grady; "Silver-Tongued Grady" — of New York, New York County, N.Y. Born in New York, New York County, N.Y., November 29, 1853. Democrat. Lawyer; member of New York state assembly from New York County 2nd District, 1877-79; member of New York state senate, 1882-83, 1889, 1896-1912 (6th District 1882-83, 1889, 14th District 1896-1912); died in office 1912; Independent Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 8th District, 1886; delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1896, 1904. Member, Tammany Hall. In 1883, then-Gov. Grover Cleveland wrote to Tammany leader John Kelly to request that Grady not be renominated to the State Senate; Kelly complied with the Governor's request. In 1908, a police raid on a poolroom revealed betting slips showing that Grady had bet on a horse named Azelina; this detail became a running joke in political cartoons about Mr. Grady. Died in 1912 (age about 58 years). Burial location unknown.
  Image source: New York Red Book 1907
  Frank Frankel (1886-1975) — of Long Beach, Nassau County, Long Island, N.Y.; Houston, Harris County, Tex.; Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, Calif. Born October 2, 1886. Mayor of Long Beach, N.Y., 1924, 1930-33; defeated, 1925 (Democratic primary), 1925 (Republican), 1929 (Democratic primary); founder of Long Beach Memorial Hospital indicted in September 1927 on charges of maintaining a gambling place; the charges were later dropped; in December 1929, his right to take office as mayor was unsuccessfully challenged by the Long Beach police chief, based on vote fraud (for which many had been arrested and prosecuted) and the expectation that Frankel would tolerate gambling in the city; indicted in January 1933 for fraud over his transfer of $90,000 in city funds to the Long Beach Trust Company, which subsequently closed; the indictment was dismissed in February; indicted again in May 1933, along with two city council members, over the diversion of $750,000 of state and county tax revenue to city projects; pleaded not guilty; no trial was held; the indictment was dismissed in 1937; oil producer. Died, in a hospital at Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, Calif., June 12, 1975 (age 88 years, 253 days). Interment somewhere in Houston, Tex.
  Thomas Joseph O'Brien (1878-1964) — also known as Thomas J. O'Brien; "Blind Tom" — of Chicago, Cook County, Ill. Born in Chicago, Cook County, Ill., April 30, 1878. Democrat. Accountant; member of Illinois state house of representatives, 1907-10, 1929-32; U.S. Representative from Illinois 6th District, 1933-39, 1943-64; died in office 1964; arrested in a police raid on a gambling establishment, 1935; Cook County Sheriff, 1939-42; delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1960. Catholic. Member, Knights of Columbus. Died in Bethesda, Montgomery County, Md., April 14, 1964 (age 85 years, 350 days). Interment at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Hillside, Ill.
  Relatives: Son of Thomas O'Brien and Mary (Murphy) O'Brien; married, July 15, 1920, to Nettie Kaufer.
  See also congressional biography — Govtrack.us page
  Lawrence J. Murray, Jr. (1910-2000) — of Haverstraw, Rockland County, N.Y.; Pearl River, Rockland County, N.Y.; Nyack, Rockland County, N.Y. Born in New York, June 20, 1910. Democrat. Lawyer; member of New York state assembly from Rockland County, 1938-40; removed 1940; charged, in January 1940, with embezzling $49,102 from Miss May Dunnigan, his mentally incompetent law client (also sister-in-law to U.S. Postmaster General James A. Farley); the money was lost in gambling on horse races; tried, convicted on all counts, and hence automatically disbarred and removed from office; sentenced to five to ten years in prison; his sentence was commuted in 1942; arrested in 1952, along with other bookmakers, for illegally taking bets. Irish ancestry. Died March 15, 2000 (age 89 years, 269 days). Burial location unknown.
  Relatives: Son of Lawrence J. Murray (born 1874) and Emma (Brennan) Murray.
  Edwin J. Szarzynski (born c.1907) — of St. Louis, Mo. Born in East St. Louis, St. Clair County, Ill., about 1907. Republican. Credit manager; charged in 1937 with embezzlement of $2,553 from his employer; pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, and sentenced to six months in the workhouse; served three and a half months; arrested in 1942 in a raid on a gambling operation; fined $15; dock worker; candidate for Missouri state senate 5th District, 1960. Burial location unknown.
Herman Methfessel Herman Methfessel (1900-1963) — of Staten Island, Richmond County, N.Y.; Miami, Dade County (now Miami-Dade County), Fla. Born in Manhattan, New York County, N.Y., November 23, 1900. Democrat. Newspaper reporter; lawyer; member of New York state assembly from Richmond County 2nd District, 1935-38; Richmond County District Attorney, 1948-51. In September 1951, the New York State Crime Commission, investigating rackets on the Staten Island waterfront, heard testimony from Mrs. Anna Wentworth that she had seen District Attorney Methfessel in a gambling house, which implied that he was protecting vice; in response, he ordered her arrest and charged her with perjury. At the request of the Crime Commission, citing abuse of power, Gov. Thomas E. Dewey superseded him from all cases related to the investigation; in the meantime, he was defeated for re-election. In 1952, he and a subordinate were charged with official misconduct, but found not guilty. Injured in a one-car accident, and died the next day, in North Shore Hospital, Miami, Dade County (now Miami-Dade County), Fla., July 7, 1963 (age 62 years, 226 days). Burial location unknown.
  Cross-reference: Ellsworth B. Buck
  Image source: New York Red Book 1936
  Joseph E. Venuti (born c.1915) — of Tuckahoe, Westchester County, N.Y. Born about 1915. Democrat. Plumber; candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 27th District, 1944. Italian ancestry. He and two others were indicted in July 1951, and charged with conspiring to violate gambling laws; the trial was delayed while he was hospitalized with a stomach ailment; arrested in his hospital bed and transferred to jail; the other two co-defendants were tried separately and convicted; later, the convictions were reversed, and the indictment of Mr. Venuti was dismissed. Presumed deceased. Burial location unknown.
  Relatives: Son of Joseph Venuti and Pauline Venuti.
  Cross-reference: Milton A. Gibbons
  Milton A. Gibbons (born c.1900) — of Tuckahoe, Westchester County, N.Y. Born about 1900. Democrat. Police officer; mayor of Tuckahoe, N.Y., 1949-65; defeated (Republican), 1965; he and two others, including Joseph Venuti, were indicted in July 1951, and charged with conspiring to violate gambling laws; tried and convicted; sentenced to three months in jail, but released on bail a week later, pending appeal; in January 1953, the appellate court unanimously reversed his conviction and dismissed the indictment.; in 1962, he started a petition drive for a Constitutional amendment to allow prayer in public schools. Burial location unknown.
  Relatives: Married to Elisa Cuyar (c.1903-1961).
  William John Bennett (b. 1943) — also known as Bill Bennett — Born in Brooklyn, Kings County, N.Y., July 3, 1943. U.S. Secretary of Education, 1985-88; director, U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy ("Drug Czar"), 1989-91; radio show host; television commentator. Catholic. Member, Kappa Alpha Society. In 2003, news media reported that Bennett had lost millions gambling in Las Vegas, a minor scandal in light of his advocacy for self-discipline and other virtues; he acknowledged that he had done "too much gambling" and that it "set a bad example". Still living as of 2010.
  Relatives: Married, May 29, 1982, to Mary Elayne Glover.
  Cross-reference: Allison H. Eid
  See also Wikipedia article — Internet Movie Database profile
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