Mayor defends Galveston on eve of crackdown

By Bartee Haile 


Testifying in front of a legislative committee on Jun. 25, 1951, the mayor of Texas’ “sin city” defended his muchmaligned constituents with the curious logic, “The people of Galveston ought to be commended for not being hypocrites!”


The island was wideopen decades before Sam and Rose Maceo appeared on the scene just before World War I. Barbers by trade, the ambitious brothers soon discovered there was a killing to be made in bootlegging. During the Great Depression, the Maceos branched out into bigtime gambling and ruthlessly eliminated the competition. None of the slayings was ever traced back to the genial gangsters with one notable exception.


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