The Black Book

October 15th, 2019
the Las Vegas Black Book

Mike Rhumbolz was district attorney with political ambitions. He was in the Las Vegas corporate bag. He was feeling the heat, the Gaming Commission wanted results. They wanted names for their black book.

In 1988, under pressure from the Department of Tourism, the Nevada Gaming Control Board made an expanded effort to add more names to The Vegas Black Book.

After a three year investigation the Vegas Metropolitan Police Department submitted 55 names and profiles – reputed organized crime associates and suspected gaming cheaters, many from Las Vegas – to the board in 1991.

Board Chairman Mike Rumbolz, was convinced that Max Steingrout was the mob-connected lynchpin degenerate responsible for controlling the outcome of dozens, if not hundreds, of professional and collegiate basketball games.

Rumbolz believed that Steingrout, AKA- The Chickenhawk, was the cold-blooded mastermind behind the biggest sports gaming conspiracy Las Vegas had ever seen.

In reality, the mob rode Max Steingrout like a show pony.

They waged big numbers on his picks &, after the lines changed, hedged their bets with even more money. Often winning both sides.

It was as if everyone & anyone knew his picks. It got so, it wasn’t so much who he picked but who he didn’t pick.

It was a setup. Max was the patsy.

The corporate gangsters were not going to allow their mafiosa counterparts control the game. They weren’t going to be pushed around any longer.

With the help of local, Clark County law enforcement and FBI agents, Rhumbolz was determined to bring the gangsters to their knees.

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Steingrout

September 24th, 2019


-Stein:  from the Norse ’sten’- a stone,

-Grout:  from the Old Norse “grautr”, or the Old English pre 7th Century “Grut”, an early nickname for a person considered by neighbors to be a bit wild, rough around the edges, and someone not to be associated with. 

As far as the family name, there are not many of us left. Killed off by plague, pestilence, Huns and holocaust, geneological research reveals:

The earliest recording of the name includes Steingrautr and Stengrut of Yorkshire (personal names only) in the 1086 Domesday Book.

Banished from Las Vegas by way of entrance into The Black Book in 1991, 34 year old junkie Max Steingrout needed a fix.



The Chickenhawk

September 21st, 2019
Lefty Rosenthal The Chickenhawk

By 1987 Max Steingrout was a Las Vegas lifer. A hanger on, a degenerate, a chain smoker, a drunk, a drug addict and most important, to the establishment which allowed him to exist in the first place, a gambling addict.

He lost more than he won.

In spite of the smell, the sports books tolerated Max, as long as it wasn’t convention season & as long as he wasn’t bothering the girls.

In 1987, for the first time in his sordid gambling career, Max Steingrout started to win & win big.

Simultaneously, the Las Vegas Corporate Takeover had began.

Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal was the target of FBI & Las Vegas Gaming Commission investigations.

In a last ditch effort to avoid indictment, & potential entry into The Black Book, Lefty Rosenthal looked at long time associate, Dick Wheeler, pointed at Max and said: ”Make that fucking prick The Chickenhawk.”

Arigoto

September 19th, 2019

November 4, 1979 –

Iranian students loyal to the Ayatollah stormed the US Embassy taking 52 American hostages.

Like the economy, Max Steingrout’s gambling career had hit the skids.

For income, he resorted to pay phone coin returns and offering tourists an array of services & goods.

Neither proud nor afraid of a little pain, Max found himself somewhat of a niche marketplace in Sin City.

The yen was doing well against the dollar and Las Vegas became the #1 Asian destination resort.

Girls with big, American breasts were flown in nightly for Japanese playboy perversions.

He’d target Asians, his best customers: polite & loaded, they’d often pay him just to go away.

Desperate times required desperate measures.

Arigato.

Circus Circus

September 19th, 2019

True story:  In 1979, beleaguered  22 year old, professional sports bettor, Max Steingrout took a job at Circus Circus in Las Vegas, NV.

Opened by Jay Sarno in 1968 with mob money, Circus Circus was designed to allow families to enjoy the wholesomeness of a Circus (Circus), while Dad drank martinis, gambled the mortgage, and cavorted with prostitutes in casino men’s rooms.

At the time, Max was doing too much crank and his betting career had hit the skids.

He blamed the losing streak on the point guard, the quarterback, the bounce or the fumble. Never on himself.

Part of Max’s duties at Circus Circus included circus animal cleanup and clown support.

As part of the Clown Crew, he would help with wardrobe, makeup & costume changes.

Max didn’t get along with the clowns. They viewed him as an outsider with no clown credentials. They reported numerous, imagined violations to management and got him fired after only two weeks.

The clowns took their job very seriously.

No clowning around.

Bobo

September 13th, 2019
Bobo

Las Vegas, NV –  1976.

Happy Bicentennial Birthday America, Happy Birthday Bobo.

Ceasars Palace’s Bobo the Famous Handicapping Chimp turned five and was coming off an 8-4 NFL weekend spiriting his winning percentage to over .600.  Vegas partied like it was 1999. Don’t ask me how, Bobo knew how to pick the winners.

Bobo made regular appearances on the Lefty Rosenthal Show, opposite old Blue Eyes himself. Some maintain, Bobo stole the show. Bobo, was more a member of the Rat Pack than Peter Lawford and it was unanimous: Vegas loved Bobo & Bobo loved Vegas!

Unfortunately, Bobo also loved the sweet, banana nectar of Jack Daniels. Disillusioned by the late nights, cigarettes, booze and strippers, Bobo lashed out at his fans. He ripped off his diaper and threw feces at Caesars’ patrons. Bad Bobo.

One night, long after his Las Vegas bright lights were turned off, Bobo finished off a quart of JD, took a handful of sleeping pills, choked on his vomit and died in his inebriated sleep.

Danke Schoen

September 10th, 2019
Do the hustle

Unlike in New York, in Las Vegas Max made friends quick.

By 1977 he was running security for Birdie’s burgeoning escort service empire which consisted of an old crack whore named Connie and a semi-retarded 17-year-old.

Security consisted of Max hiding behind the trailer with a baseball bat hoping the johns didn’t get out of line.

Between 1979 and 1985 James “Birdie” Wallace became the biggest importer and distributor of cocaine in Clark County, NV.

He helped Las Vegas become known as “Sin City.”

He supplied coke to everyone who supplied coke to everyone in Las Vegas: dealers, valets, bartenders, taxi drivers, strippers, whores, hotel managers, stars and performers.

Steve & Edie, Phyllis Dyller, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Brando, Eric Estrada, Goldie Hawn: either directly or indirectly, Max Steingrout sold cocaine to them all.

If you did blow in Las Vegas in the early ’80s it probably came from someone who got it from someone who go it from Birdie Wallace.

Birdie Wallace’s cocaine.

Peru was the world’s leading producer of cocaine. The Colombian traffickers turned it into a dirty, bloody business and the cartel cocaine wars turned violent. This spelled the end for ’60’s pacifists like Las Vegas’ Birdie Wallace.

He didn’t have the stomach for the rough stuff.

Birdie made too many people nervous and he started to make too much money.

Birdie was fine doing the hustle, rolling a junkie or slapping around an under-aged runaway hooker, but once he started to move mountains of coke and make the kind of money reserved for Wayne Newton, he no longer knew his place.

One day he flew away.

Allegedly with a bullet to the back of his head in the back of an El Dorado.

Danke schoen.

Vegas

September 6th, 2019

In 1976 Las Vegas was a mob town.

Everything was clean.

Everything was tidy.

Everyone knew their place.

No one wore flip-flops or tank tops in the casinos.

Young, junkie bottom feeders were allowed to exist. They served a purpose. They were consumers.

They also took care of one another, sort of like a black market Department of Social Services.

“Welcome to Las Vegas, Pilgrim!”

Yearling

September 4th, 2019

Local, Upstate New York bookies and cops persuaded him to take his talents away from Chemung County.

Late bloomer, 19 year old Max Steingrout exalted in the exhaust fumes of the Las Vegas Trailways bus station.

Birdie Wallace noticed him immediately. He had seen a hundred, a thousand of kids like him. He was just what he was looking for.

Max hid his money in his shoes and his socks in his pants.

The Death of Town Hockey – Michael Costin, Jr.

July 5th, 2019

He climbed into the coffin at his father’s wake. It was as if he died that day at the rink. The beating just took a lot longer.

Michael was in & out of  jail following a troubled path of drugs, drinking and domestic abuse episodes.

On May 25, 2019 Michael Costin, Jr. passed away unexpectedly.

His obituary states: “Michael loved fishing and the outdoors and had a lifelong love of music. He was a hard worker and put his best effort into everything he did. He loved to be around people and had friends from all walks of life. He had the ability to make everyone around him feel comfortable and could strike up a conversation with anyone. His laughter was contagious and he will be best remembered for his sense of humor.”

Rest in peace.