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tv   Bob Batchelor The Bourbon King  CSPAN  November 27, 2019 11:15pm-12:16am EST

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recalls the life of bootlegger george ray most of the largest legal alcohol operation during the prohibition era garnering nearly $200 million in profit. this is one hour. >> a good afternoon. welcome to the museum of art. my name is ellen from the senior manager of adult programs. it's great to see everyone here
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today. as many of you know, once you learn is a program where we invite community experts to share their knowledge of interesting aspects of history, culture and art. this program was started on the suggestion of one of our members, one of you all and it fit into the institution's history for nearly 200 years our historical house served as an important community gathering place for prominent cincinnati families such as those of martin home, nicholas longworth, david, and of course charles and anna taft. each resident played an important role in shaping the history, art and culture of cincinnati and this celebrates their legacy is as well as the new wave city continues to devolve and change. the complete schedule of all of our programs including our upcoming lunch and learn sort of rebuttal on the website which is
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taft and i would like to tell you about the talk today. today we have the author of newly released book the bourbon king of the life and crimes of george remus, prohibitions of evil genius. bob is here with us today to share the story of george remus the criminal mastermind and bootleg kingdom to build a kinga bourbon empire that stretched from the cincinnati mansion across america at the don of prohibition. batchelor is a critically acclaimed best-selling cultural historian and biographer. he's published widely on american history and literature including books on stan lee, bob dylan, the great gatsby, madmen and john updike. batchelor earned his doctorate in english literature from the university of south florida. he teaches in the media journalism and film department at miami university in oxford
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ohio. the literacy projects can donate books to the disadvantaged reader every time a book is purchased in the organization he will also be available to answer questions and sign your copy of the book following the lecture. i can't think of a better place in cincinnati than the museum to talk about george remus.
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if i forget, then somebody please ask that question. i am a historian. i love the hundredth anniversary celebrations 50 years, so as we prepare for the 100th anniversary of the age and the 100th anniversary of the act in prohibition there isn't a better time than to study somebody that history has forgotten. we saw him working out down at the athletic club and there's a lot of sightings but there is
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almost no recognition at all so one of the goals in writing this book is to bring this fascinating character to life. it's an interesting set of circumstances about george remus, so we will have a little discussion today about that. the first thing that people ask me is how can you get interested in this person, how did you come across george remus, and about 17 years ago a very prominent historian who became famous for investigating about watergate. the dictionary of american history that is where they used to send their students to find out about american history.
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he was putting out a new edition and asp would you mind writing an essay on bootleggers and i was at why would we want to talk about that? and math research 17 years ago, i ran across remus and like a bad song from the 1980s, it's stuck in my head for the teen years. i was going nuts thinking about this guy and later i wrote this biography of the great gatsby and treated them awful as if it were a person and wrote about this experience from this great american novel, and remus again comes up because some people say he was the model, some people say he was a model. we will get into that mortgage ramore ranacross him again and i was looking for my next book project i thought to myself, i want to discover somebody who's been forgotten, whose story and tell us something so interesting about today's world and you can
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learn so much about what we are facing in the 2020s from studying the 1920s, so remus became it and that's how we get to george remus. and i think i'm probably not telling you anything you don't know, but there are no heroes in this story. it's a very complex story with a lot of bad characters, even people who seem good for a long time all of a sudden i would've read a story or something else in the paper in the six months after they were doing something heroic they were doing something terrible. they are incredibly complex just like we are today. it helps us understand the 1920s and today so we are going to dive right into the bourbon king. the story is large and there is no way we can go through this
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whole story. i think the audio book, if you are into audio books it is like 16 hours long so we can tell all the stories here. i thought i would do a live down to six numbers. these will give you a flavor of george remus and hopefully make you want to learn more because it is a fascinating story. the first number is the number 13. the number 13 is significant because george was a german immigrant and his family after bouncing around a little but settled down in chicago. at age 13, remus had become 'on the road band of the family because his father had health problems and drinking problems. we are not supposed to talk about those. but his father had some problems. he couldn't support the families. so, remus takes over at age 13 he had to drop out of school.
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luckily for him, his uncle owned a pharmacy in suburban chicago. even though he wouldn't look like an athlete he was about five, five and a half, while over 200 pounds. he was an amazing athlete and he did athletic things i'm sure none of us could have done on our best days so it is an interesting side story. he begins this career in the pharmacy and when he comes of age he passes the licensure to become a pharmacist. the interesting thing is that this places him at the heart of the community.
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he liked the attention and the money and when he passed the licensure that he lied to get his license and he made himself two years older he was 19 and apply it to say he was 21. he is ambitious. remember german immigrant who dropped out of school. this was about the best life he
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could have. he was already gaining wealth. he started speculating in real estate deals and these sort of things. very interesting early history. but what he does is besides i've had enough of the pharmacy even though he's more successful and he decides to become a lawyer of all things. he decides to become a lawyer because he was a person who shall himself as bigger than life. he determines i want to be president of the united states and he works hard to get to that position. i want to be bigger than life into him becoming a lawyer was a step in that direction.
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so then the 300 is important because after he became one of the famous criminal defense attorneys in america from chicago to cincinnati. it's the gateway to bourbon country and he realized as a criminal defense attorney that if these petty thugs can pay their fines by whipping out roles of hundred dollar bills and tearing them off the top and paying the judge on the spot if they can make hundreds or thousands if i apply my genius to this principle, i can make millions or tens of millions.
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cincinnati is his gateway and he set up headquarters half a mile from here in the headquarters so that is the first connection. the hotel owned by the family and that is the headquarters for this entire run through the 1920s. he always keeps the rooms at the hotel -- a suite of rooms. 300-mile radius, the best in the world and he realized because he had been a pharmacist and he was such a stellar lawyer there are
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actually legal ways to get alcohol into the marketplace. they called a medicinal alcohol and bourbon come isn't that great, i want some medicinal alcohol, wouldn't it be great in that timeframe there wasn't a scientific advancement we have now and there are some therapeutic benefits to alcohol. there are uses especially in the era when a lot of advancements are yet to be made. he knew from his own days as a pharmacist doctors and pharmacists could write prescriptions and it would allow people even during prohibition to take out a little bit of whiskey or bourbon or other substance. so if he got access to those certificates come if i get access to these certificates, i'd can take this out of the government warehouses and put it into the marketplace.
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but remember the prohibitions evil genius at the same time he realized if i hire my own man to rob my other men at gunpoint, i can take this legal bourbon into the black market. so he set up a series of distribution points. his major distribution point is a place that comes to be known as death valley because he had a fortified like an army fort, he hired an army as he started to make money and this is about to say 13 miles northwest of the city. he set up on an old farm and then he set up smaller depots all over cincinnati. all these places many of you have traveled. he had a depot in hamilton,
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glendale, different locations throughout this area where he then fanned out nationwide and he built this entire from this 300-mile gateway out into the national market place. one journalist at the time devoted george remus is to bourbon what jd rockefeller was to oil. remus, why i think that he's an evil genius as he understood the business even though he had no business training outside of running his own pharmacies. so, he set up a system that he called the circle what jd rockefeller. rockefeller. if you control production, distribution can you control pricing, you control every piece of the circle you make all the money and he found ways to make all the money and it's very interesting. many of you probably visited the
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trail. i visited my wonderful wife and i love to go down to bourbon country and to see the tours. when they give you the tour and they started to mumble and a fumble when they hit 1920 and are not sure how to explain it, these were very proud families have started a very proud people but from the distilleries. it's america's great industry but in 1920, the thing that happened but they don't want to talk about when you go to bourbon country is probably george remus had come in and found a way to buy up to bourbon and found a way to get it into the black market. my thinking as though george remus story becomes more public is that the distiller should embrace the story. it's part of their history. there's nothing you can do about it now so you might as well find out what the truth was. they were proud people and the government declared them public enemy number one.
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they could have wished for a fire or electricity lightning strike was the only thing to save them. their entire inventories were basically worth nothing. so, remus which is kind of a strange thing there are some people, myself included, that believe that in some ways even though he was giving it all behind the scenes, he saved the industry by giving it at least some foundation throughout prohibition. this is a long 13 years for america. he gave the industry a little bit of a slide through that era. this next number might blow you out of your socks off of it but bear with me. 9.62 billion. that's a large number. 9.62 billion is the number if you calculate it today's money
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what he was able to acquire in the two and a half years, $9.62 billion. this is as if he founded facebook or google or a high-tecfor ahigh-tech company d a half years built it into one of the biggest companies in the world all from his mansion in price hill. it's an amazing facet of the story and i think if people realize because in today's world we are all kind of numb by numbers. somebody says that person is a millionaire. big deal. but remus at the high end was in excess of $200 million in 1920s money and if you use the latest economic calculations, 9.62 is kind of the midrange. it could have been more than that. there were stories that they
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made so much money so quickly their suits were stuffed with hundreds of thousands of dollars because the banks wouldn't accept any more deposits. they have limitations so they are running around with giant stacks stuffed in their coats and pants because there's nothing else. what do you do with the money. it's coming in so fast that they can't even make a place to hide at all. it's pretty amazing. and what this $9.62 billion allowed him to do plus as we could imagine, live a big place. he had power, he built an army, he built a nation wide distribution network and live like a king. he basically gutted it and put a countless amount of money into remodeling the mansion. he made it into one of cincinnati's most beautiful
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homes and invited the cream of the crop of another tie to taft. they never accepted the invitation to the price hill mansion, but he always invited them. the centerpiece of the price will mansion was our fourth number, 175,000. this is the high-end number when people say how much did george remus papered in ground pool he put in for his mansion. $175,000 in 1920 money. it was luxurious, perfumed water, special heating units, and this allowed him to really live a gatsby lifestyle. people loved to come to the mansion and swimming poo swim id see the pool. it was quite a thing at that time. in 1920 when you wanted to be really fabulous, what did you winwould you mindthe pool with?
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title because that's the mark of really having aided. this was the signature. title blaming the pool. $175,000. the parties that he threw became legendary. the papers and cover them with much, so people will tell you, and you may have heard newspapers covered it, there were lots of reporters there. they really didn't. they became part of the folklore into so much of the remus story is built on folklore and people telling other people and recollections later saw one of the things i was able to do as a historian is dig through all of these materials for five years ago nobody could have done or ten years ago because today because of digital resources, you can pull together different story papers, newspaper articles come you can pull together archival information and kind of look at the remus story like a
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giant literary historical detective jigsaw puzzle. i stand a lot of time piecing together the stories. at the mansion becomes a center point of that. the night that they debuted the pool to the public, which george called the energy and bath after his second wife who was a samet et al. and also not a sweethea sweetheart. she is very much an interesting person and she targeted george when they met in chicago. one of my favorite quotes, soon after meeting george remus, she said to one of her friends i'm going to roll him for his role. i will marry him if i have to. i always joke with my wife i put it in 1920, like this. he was surrounded by thugs that actually did talk like that. it's funny when you see a
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transcript they put it in there so it's really fun to read. and a gene was a person who wanted to be famous and in the early 20th century, you've got to same by being in the newspapers. one of the things i uncovered that people haven't seen before, i was able to trackback for about a decade she kept using different personas and identities to change her personality and who she was in d trying to get into the newspapers. one time she might try to get into the newspapers as gussie holmes which was her first marriage name and nickname. other times, she might be mrs. gina holmes and other times she used in a gene. other times she used all different personas to try to get into the newspapers. when she met george remus, the
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shooting star attorney turned bootlegger and this person who wanted to be famous and wealthy, they intercepted in a way that would lead to one of the biggest marriages of the 1920s and also one of the most despicable ends of a marriage in the 1920s. so it was a shooting star, but it took a decade and that is one thing people don't realize. if you look at the newspapers and the number of words written about george remus, he probably wasn't quite as famous as babe ruth, but he was at least as famous as warren g. harding. the number of words spent covering him were astronomical and it lasted the entire decade because he was famous in chicago on the front page of the tribune on the papers nationwide and he only got more famous. his fame was his own doing because like so many people who gained a lot of money, he
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couldn't stay out of the newspapers. he courted the media. he was a masterful public relations. he was able to charm the socks off of these hardened straightlaced newspaper reporters because remember when i said he was so complex, he was charming. they said he had a moonbeam smiled and this is a quote from the front page of the tribune. a moonbeam smiled. one of the most charismatic men people have ever met, but at the same time he'll will face. brass knuckles and he had a gold tipped way to obtain. he had no limp. that way it was so he could beat people with the cane and there are many instances which he bludgeoned the people. one man almost to death for potentially supposedly maybe fooling around with his wife. so that is the kind of person he
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was. i don't know any living character that i could describe him like. somebody asked me about a couple weeks ago. i said maybe he was a little bit like lyndon baines johnson. maybe a little bit of johnson' h stalin and maybe a little bit like hannibal lecter from silence of the lamb because he could be so charming and he really made people with him. to this day people will tell you that he was a good guy, but he was not. he was a scary guy. the next number is five and this is an important number because when like today a beautiful morning, sunny, not a cloud in the sky, when he stopped outside of the hotel which at the time was one of the very finest luxury hotels in the united states, when he stopped her from
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that moment and then chased her through the park in a crazy chase in the 1920s movie scene and forces her car off the road and gets out and she pushes her young daughter who's 20th birthday is the next day back into the car, jumps out, he approached the car, she goes to swing at him, he grabs her right arm with his left fist, punches her and then as she screams come he reaches in the pocket, pulls out a gun, sticks it in her stomach, pulls the trigger. five minutes from the time he stopped her outside of the hotel to that point that he shoots her. five minutes. and you've probably all driven path and walked it. she essentially is a shot right on the other side of the road from the spring house gazebo. people think they were coming down the other way bu that they
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were actually coming straight through the stone archway passed the conservatory and write down that way where the term is before you get to the lake and spring house gazebo that's where it takes place. i was able to piece the events together because if you talk to police officers were cia officers, they will tell you when a murder occurs, people often come even eyewitnesses, they mess up the facts. that's why courts and trials become so interesting. because he would later go on trial, he was forced to testify and that those transcripts still exist and as far as i know, one copy at the university library donated by charlie taft, so if you ever get to look at those papers, you can see his
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notations. you can almost feel his anger because of somebody's testimony was deleted, he would'v would go the transcripts at their word pencil marks like this person's testimony is out. it's an amazing story. i'd like to think of that little episode between george and imaging as a grotesque dance because people that were watching it didn't know what was going on. there was rush hour in 1927 in cincinnati, and that was kind of the epicenter of rush-hour traffic. people were hearing screeching tires, bumpers, people rear-ended one another. many people didn't even hear the muffled gunshot, but there were children playing nearby near the gazebo. there were families. when you start to piece all this together, you see this kind of
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dance where she is coming out and then the cheese shop and is pleading and kind of calls through the taxi she had taken, flags down a passerby. they head off to bethesda hospital and she is dead shortly thereafter. i think she probably died in the backseat of the car of the guy that picked up at he her up at r daughter said she was still speaking. but i think she did that just to be kind to the family members. second remus goes from one of the criminal masterminds of the early 20th century to the murd murder. it's an amazing story. he loses his temper. he is a temperamental guy. you can imagine somebody that carries brass knuckles around within an player is goin empiree temperamental, and he has created a plea called temporary and i quote insanity and he
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created that for william cheney ellis when he defended him in chicago. ellis killed his wife in a hotel in chicago in remus was his attorney. said he traveled quitso he travo cincinnati. he determined i'm going to use the same thing defending myself, so he defends himself when he goes on trial against charlie taft. he's the son of william howard taft. william howard taft is now chief justice of the supreme court. there are letters in which william howard taft tells his golden boy immaculate son who is supposedly mediate future presidential candidate don't do it, don't let remus get the best of you. he will try every trick in the book because what people in
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cincinnati didn't realize in chicago attorneys either loved or hated him. the ones that left him cold in the napoleon of the bar that speaks to the air that he put on, the schismatic overtone. the people that didn't like him call him weeping the thing remus because he made the law a joke. he would do anything to manipulate the jury. i like to think of him as kind of the johnnie cochran of the early 19 hundreds chicago. he would do anything. he was wildly through his arms up in the air. he would have his clients pass out and he would pull his hair out. there are many accounts he would pick a fight with the opposing counsel or and they would end up in cuffs. he would do anything to get the jury on his side and they love this stuff.
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so, remus goes up against charlie taft and william howard taft predicted. he said this is going to turn into a sensation. and newspapers from around the country send reporters to cover this trial. they set up special telegraph lines and telephone line so that the story could get out. so, journalis journalism and tha plays a really interesting site like this whole story because the media made remus even more famous. he was constantly on the front pages and reporters left him. so, he continually made the front pages and he was able from the very beginning to manipulate the potential jury pool. people around cincinnati knew about what happened because he had his first unofficial press conference probably the next morning after the murder. he carried force at the jail cell and reporters lined up
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because just like in chicago where the reporters knew he was going to be great for a soundbite, they knew that remus was going to give them a show and they wanted it to selma newspapers. this was the most competitive time in media history in terms of newspapers going after other newspapers, so everybody send reporters to cover this trial. it was amazing. there are accounts of hundreds and hundreds of people waiting outside of the courthouse just down the street to try to gain admission. this was a spectacle. this was bigger than the oj trial. the only difference i difference wasn't the television aspect. there wasn't -- otherwise does have the ramificationthishad th. simpson trial. in remus is at the center of it and charlie taft is at the center of it. charlie taft really is a golden boy. he was the hamilton county prosecutor. he had a brilliant political career ahead of him.
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our sixth number, which i think is also an interesting one is 19. and again it's connected to time. 19 minutes is the amount of time the jury deliberated before quitting george remus on the grounds of temporary maniacal insanity is. [laughter] because there are jurors and they had been sequestered for quite some time, they decided to have lunch as well, for the 19 minutes was the deliberation, and then they took advantage of having a free lunch, then they came back in and declared george remus innocent on grounds of insanity. the warfare between taft and remus was not only in the front pages, but it was visceral. there are stories that remus going up to the prosecutor's table, sticking his finger in taft's face daring him to fight
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because he wanted -- he questioned his manhood because that was one of his tricks. at one point, it got so bad that remus pretended to pass out. and it must have been quite a spell because doctors showed up and ice packs on him, they took him out of the courtroom. it was an amazing scene. and at the most telling scene was the jurors started crying. they were actually weeping and remus knew from that point i have been. so for the rest of the trial, any time one of the fellow prosecutors would say something, he would let out a loud cough or way a red hanky and all these different words the newspapers at the time tried. he would try to drown out charlie taft because he knew he
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already had the jury one. now there are some rumors that he got to the jurors and paid them off. i could find no proof of that but i can tell you the most surprising thing about studying him in the 1920s and now this is my second book basically on the 1920s, people love the great gatsby aspect of the 1920s. they loved this age, they love the idea of the magnificent parties. we all get the idea of the pool in our head and then ping and show tunes and things like that. but people hate prohibition, hated with a passion. it's a black mark on american history. so, a lot of sources and a lot of material from the 1920s had just disappeared. i tried to track down the dress because it was called in as an exhibit for the trial. i tried to find all the exhibits because if we could find them today, they would be priceless.
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it would reveal so much more about the story. story. and cincinnati's role in history at the time it was all either thrown away or stolen. i have a source i can't tell you about i just kind of did. a source in the clerk's office who said it is all simply gone and it's an interesting thing. remus gets let off. the newspapers began to call the jury the christmas jury because he was let off right before christmas and one of the jurors was actually quoted as saying he had a tough christmas last year so we decided to penetrate this year. the night that he is acquitted he is still detained because the judge and taft are so angry they say we are going to send him to the state hospital for the criminally insane and so he is
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not freed. he has to go through a series over the next six-month key is kept behind bars. he has to go through a series of trials to win his freedom's amount you can picture this. the second he tells the driver to force the taxi off the road, gets out of the car, scene, grabs her, still sane, pulls the trigger, in same. the moment he goes through the woods in the park, sane again. that is what he determined, and the state wasn't going to let him off. so the first trial he is trying to prove i wa was insane for tht one split second then in the second trial, he's trying to actually say that he is now saying. so some of the same dot as, psychologists, they said at one
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trial he is insane and the next one that he is sane. at the samthe same people testit his mental acuity. it is an amazing story. and i've barely even touched on franklin college. this movie star prohibition federal agent who helped put remus behind bars but then runs off and they spent two years using his fortune spending millions and millions of dollars. they invest in horse tracks in florida. they smuggle money into canada. there's all these things they do. they strippe strip the mansion . she goes so far. remember roll him for his role. she takes all the monograms in the mansion in the changes done
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to fda for franklin dodge. she's very vindictive. they strip the mansion and offers its aropposite force andd pottery, everything beautiful and wonderful. and when he gets out of jail and is called the first time, he goes back to the mansion and everything is gone. his clothing is in a pile on the back porch. there's one set of shoes and franklin dodge was well over 6, whether for 200 pounds. one pair of shoes that she vindictively left for his. the house is stripped. he fell to his knees and wailed in dismay because he lost everything. but this story we can only touch on just a little bit in the time we have today but it is a phenomenal story of greed, social and economic structures,
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government influence, government corruption, and it's a deep story that gives us insight into the kinds of things that we face today, the kind of things we still have to experience. as a historian, my favorite books are the ones that not only eliminate the period and told a news story about somebody maybe history has forgotten to give us a new window on ways to examine our own lives. i would love to take questions and i thank you very much for being here today. thank you. ask -- >> do you believe he would have made as much money as prohibition wouldn't have been illegal? >> that is a good question. i think that it took prohibition
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to run the price of alcohol up as much as they were. now if you read the book you will find this out. it is an interesting point. he could not stop with the money that his plan was pretty good. he wanted to quarter, he wanted a monopoly that he could then use to sell birth in overseas in canada and mexico. he got caught and the empire started to get broken up before he could enact the plan. once prohibition ended, this is exactly what the urban cartels did they came in and consolidated everything. everything. so more or less, he taught them the methodology that they would use after prohibition to set up these large conglomerates. thank you
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>> tell us about the episode with the bar of soap. >> the bar of soap. yes, one of the many tricks. one of his great trick is is to listen to somebody testify and get so angry. .. >> would have written somebody like him off but he didn't go
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that is why you cannot describe him as anybody else because i can't imagine somebody he's not like bill gates may be as rich as bill gates for a minute but much more charismatic. it is a phenomenal story thank you for reminding me of that. >> [inaudible] >> that was at her most and eight he basically had the entire block. you can go online if you look at the right places you can see the actual blueprint because the community was laid out for insurance purposes. and from what i gather i have looked and walked the ground and not google maps of today , they extended one of the roads that ended at the street
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through what would have been the lower part of his property. it seems just off where the pool was so they had to turn the pool over when they extended the street that people with pieces of broken pottery. i was talking to a person that says i have a piece of that pool in my birdfeeder. [laughter] that's a piece of historic memorabilia. i would love to go out there looking at the mansion was pulled down 1934. that entirely a ponzi scheme.
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he married his longtime assistant named blanche maybe she was the most enigmatic and interesting person in the whole story. he made her quite rich in all of her friends in the twenties and used her to launder money for a decade. later they got married. i think partially out of convenience but partially because in that era a wife could not testify against her husband. so he was always afraid the irs was coming after him to get him for all the money he made. so by marrying her it solidified their money for go they pulled the mansion down in a 234 in basically one of blanche's colleagues owned the whole block and then across the street as well. in the 19 fifties al capone's mentor and lady went to new york city to mentor lukey luciano and other gangsters he married a girl from kentucky
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and they owned the plot across the street in the 19 fifties. people don't like the twenties of prohibition but it's difficult to trace his step with the big names but they are definitely there. remus met with all of them and supplied out capone with all of the bourbon. he took pride in not cutting the alcohol. what capone did it was another story but when it was shipped out to new york city it was christine bourbon and they paid top dollar and remus had trucks and cars loaded to leave death valley to go into the wealthy suburbs of cincinnati he talked about going into indian hills and indianapolis and other large
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cities. taught me to tell you the story how i know they were quickly connected? >> so that conjecture there was a philanthropic auction in the mid- 19 twenties so remus decided if you wanted this auction from upper society in cincinnati. there were two people left george remus with the garish femme fatale wife with the diamonds everywhere and charles taft. but remus wins the auction and charles taft never forgave him and from that point on was
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persona non grata and if you follow the trail it's not very long thereafter that george remus is at the prohibition office because somebody tipped off the prohibition agents that there was a guy who was making a lot of money and rubbing cincinnati's nose and the fact he was supplying the nation with a high-end bourbon. so there are lots of connections. i wish you could still go back in time to interview some of these people maybe after time if they would talk about the things that they did because the paper trail runs out. but people would reminisce with this jigsaw puzzle.
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>> do you see the portrayal of george remus what did you think of that portrayal? >> i'm conflicted because i liked it as a show but the remus portrayal was awful. they played him like he was a comedian for the rest of the crew. he did that because he was ashamed he wasn't as educated as some of those he dealt with. he always tried to elevate himself so he had a very heavy german accent. he said remus said this or that it was his legend but not his day-to-day language. but that's my size but we know that remus is a little guy.
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and then to show that he was supplying those with his bourbon and was as ruthless. there are many people that remus had killed or killed himself. imogene was not the only one so there are no heroes to the story. you can spin it to make him semi- heroic to the point where he killed imogene but he was not. he was a thug just not a career criminal he came through a different path. where others were born and bred at ten or 12 they are committing criminal acts like lukey luciano. but it is completely off base.
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>> what is the timeframe. >> that is the other big question. he shoots her october 6, 1927 and has not been freed from the criminally insane hospital through mid june 1928 so basically incarcerated october 27 through june 28. the papers when george remus died claimed he was broke and living in a flophouse. none of that is true. he was living in covington you can still see the houses they are still there.
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he was in the brick house 1808. he and his third wife blanche own horses and they traveled around the country racing horses. this is the era and her horse is one major races. but second-tier not like kentucky derby but they had a lot of money because george funneled all the money through blanche. they had a lot of money. george tried to get back into bootlegging but what happened while he was in jail, the entire criminality of the gangster world became even too violent for remus perspective people like capone hired more violent thugs and kidnapping was majo major, a murder rate going through the roof. so remus did not have the
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funds from what was embezzled from him he didn't have the money to build another army that is what would have taken to regain all of his territory. so he lived a much more quiet life but still on the edge of criminality throughout the thirties and into the forties he gets involved with a pill company and the ftc goes after them for selling pills that didn't solve any problems. he gets in trouble during world war ii for setting up a fake company for the war effort and fake bonds but the reason the papers thought he was destitute because people say he had a stroke or a heart attack but was bed ridden six or eight months in the hospital then goes home and is bed ridden from that time on
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and had to have a nurse. her family lived in those two houses they live there for more than a decade previously. they were not that nice houses but he was never poor for go he found ways to make money. >> one more question. >> the one question that i can answer is where did all the money go? 's. [laughter] is impossible to track it down. >> that is the greatest questio question. and one that has haunted me because for somebody to have
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the tens of millions of dollars or hundreds of millions of dollars where did it all go? 's he went to bribery bribing everybody from the cincinnati beat cops and horseback into the attorney general's office. he had his tentacles in a bribery system all the way to the white house. a lot of his money went to bribery. what i think happened is the money left over was eventually found its way into the mob because they had solidified and they started to knock off remus' men and taking over those territories. so if they could get a little bit of a territory the mafia eventually came in and either threatened them with murder or
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murder them. and then when the great depression hit a lot of the money that was hidden away in safety deposit boxes disappeared just like trial evidence and other things it disappeared. some of it is out there that the bank traces back 100 years i would bet every dollar i have there are security deposit bank somewhere in the united states that has george remus is or imaging remus but she would use an alias with their signature. that's a great question. i even call the last section of the book called the lost million because it haunts me to this day. thank you.
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[inaudible conversations] >> a very warm welcome to the first lecture of the general society


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