Stunning new claims highlight America;’s underworld controlled the dozens of gay bars in America.
It brings a new meaning the Gay Mafia!
Author Phillip Crawford Jr. has meticulously documented how the mob had a near-monopoly on gay bars for decades in New York and Chicago, and how those bars were integrated into the Mafia rackets.
For example, the establishments often were financed through mob-tied coin-op vendors and their related loan companies. Jukebox king Alfred Miniaci funded dozens of gay bars and other joints controlled by the Mafia in the 1950s and 1960s, including NY’s famous Peppermint Lounge.
Gay bars sometimes served as drug drops. Forget about the pizza connection; this was the pansy connection. Club 82 in New York’s East Village was a popular club with drag revues, and in the 1950s also was part of the distribution network in the Genovese family’s heroin trade for which boss Vito was convicted in 1959.
Gay bars were profit centers for all the Mafia families.
The LGBT+ community once was married to the mob out of forced necessity; but after gay bars became legal, the relationship often continued in many establishments out of mutual convenience well into the 1980s.
Gay bars no longer were busted simply for homosexual assembly, but they still risked raids if serving as sex clubs or drug drops. Accordingly, the mob still had both services to provide and protection to offer, particularly during the party decades following the Stonewall riots.