By Luis Cabrera
Oscar Goodman made two scheduled appearances for a meet & greet event at the Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas. The former mayor, who gained notoriety as a defense lawyer for alleged high-ranking members of mafia families, hosted “Inside Stories,” a two-hour interaction with guests and the public. Goodman answered questions and shared some of the most memorable events in his career with the visitors.
The “Inside Stories” event was featured at the museum twice this week. The first one was on Tuesday, June 19th from 5 to 7 p.m., and the second and final was on Saturday, June 23rd from 1 to 3 p.m.
During his law practice years, Goodman represented suspects accused of being heads of illicit underground enterprises in Las Vegas, such as Anthony “Tony the Ant” Spilotro, and former Stardust casino boss, Frank “Lefty’ Rosenthal, among others. Adding to the celebrity image, Goodman had a cameo appearance as himself in the movie “Casino,” directed by Martin Scorsese. The film featured actors Robert de Niro and Joe Pesci, playing roles based closely on the real life characters of Rosenthal and Spilotro, respectively.
The Mob Museum, or National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, opened its doors to the public on February 14th, 2012. This was a sordid day in the annals of crime history because it brings to mind the cold and efficiently-carried execution of seven rival gang members in Chicago during the prohibition era. The killings, known as the Valentine’s Day Massacre, were allegedly ordered by Al Capone. Appropriately enough, one of the exhibits at the museum is the actual brick wall from that tragic day in 1929.
At the museum, visitors learn about the history of the fight which law enforcement has waged against organized crime through an interactive, modern experience. Guests can see artifacts on display that relate to famous clandestine figures, like Al Capone, Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, George “Bugs” Moran and Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel.
The Mob Museum building itself is of historic importance. Dedicated in 1933, it was the city’s first federal building, and it was used to house several federal legal proceedings, including the Kefauver hearings in the 1950’s. Inside, the exhibition space covers 17,000 square feet on three floors, in addition to a special event area and a retail store.
Oscar Goodman serves on the board, and he was a key visionary behind the Mob Museum’s project. The once deemed “Happiest Mayor in the World,” who served three consecutive terms in Las Vegas from 1999 to 2011, is trying to create more interest in the world class destination. The museum is doing well, and according to recent comments by officials, the number of visits is consistent with the projected goal of 300,000 guests per year.
Hours of operation for the downtown attraction located at 300 Stewart Avenue, are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday & Saturday. Admission is $18 for adults and $12 for children and students with ID. Seniors, military, law enforcement and teachers get $4 off the adult price. Nevada residents of all ages get a preferential flat rate of $10 per person. For more information, call (702) 229-2734 or visit www.themobmuseum.org