The crime king of Chicago: the story of George Remus – prototype ‘the great Gatsby’

The name of George Remus firmly entrenched in the history of the United States — this man was able to put together his own bootlegging Empire during the era of prohibition, becoming the personification of hope for people in the US era of the roaring twenties, and his desire to succeed and “fly” made him a legend of the criminal world at that time. This writes the Marie Claire.

Криминальный король Чикаго: история Джорджа Римуса – прототипа 'великого Гэтсби'

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George Remus was considered a gentleman and an intellectual, and his Empire was so extensive and big that no one could name the exact amount of his condition. Tell the story of the king of the bootleggers, allegedly became the prototype of the hero of the famous novel “the Great Gatsby”.

Historical development of the Remus

George Remus was born 13 Nov 1878 in Landsberg, Germany. His family was not wealthy — his mother was a housewife and his father worked as a pharmacist, however, George always knew she could reach unprecedented heights, which is what happened in the future.

In 1882 Remus along with his parents arrived and the United States of America — the first time a family of German immigrants lived in Maryland, then Wisconsin, and three years later settled in Chicago. Dad Remus suffered from alcohol addiction and could not support a wife and child, and therefore at fourteen years old George went to work for his uncle in one of the pharmacies in town.

The future king of the bootleggers were doing a very boring job — he signed a pharmaceutical card, arranged the products on display and helped the relative in other minor Affairs. Remus knew that working in a drugstore will not bring him the coveted success, but because soon entered a pharmaceutical College in Chicago and at the age of twenty years bought his first pharmacy.

As for personal life, future billionaire, in 1899 Remus met Lillian Clough, and soon the pair played a magnificent wedding. To this marriage was born the first and only child of George — a daughter named Romola, with whom he has developed a very cool relationship.

The next five years Remus has dedicated the expansion of its pharmaceutical business, he was able to get a few points in the city, but they did not bring him the desired wealth and success, and he soon decided to radically change the focus of their activities. George entered the College of Law of Illinois and in 1904 was admitted to the bar.

Remus has achieved unprecedented success in your chosen career — a few years later his name was known to every person in the state, and before the door of his office literally stood foremost of those who asked for his protection. George was a true genius and specialized in complex criminal cases — murders, armed assaults, robberies. His main technique was the recognition of the client temporarily insane at the time, the mechanism of the psychiatric examination was not finally settled, and because defendants deemed mentally unstable, escaped prison and spent only a few months in specialized hospitals. Rumor has it that Remus had invented this method of protection — no one before him so skillfully did not pay fact mental disorders in their favor.

The “dry law”

The works of George was so successful that by 1920 he was earning about seven million dollars a year (in terms of the present course). This enabled him to live well, but he always wanted more. And soon Remus had the chance to realize his dream into reality.

January 17, 1920, after ratification of the 18th amendment to the Constitution and the adoption of the Volstead act in the USA was introduced a ban on the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcoholic beverages. Innovation was perceived skeptically by Americans, but because just a few weeks after the entry into force “the Dry law” some enterprising citizens started an underground business in the manufacture and sale of alcohol.

Remus quickly assessed the situation and decided to use his brilliant legal knowledge in a new area. After studying law, George they found a loophole that allows you to sell alcohol by prescription, and that was the beginning of his large-scale business. He understood that most of the bootleggers were not serious — they came into the view of law enforcement bodies and received prison sentences for selling small amounts of alcohol. Then Remus decided that his approach will be more thoughtful.

In 1920, George moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he bought most of the companies producing whiskey, and several pharmacies. Remus put the production and sale of alcohol in a big way, using the possibility of selling the prescription — less than three years later, he earned forty million dollars, and at his disposal were more than 3000 employees, including his agent George Conners, who has lived his entire life in Ohio and knew all the right people.

It is noteworthy that Remus wasn’t considered a criminal, unlike other leaders of the criminal world, George was not involved in drugs or trafficking, it is not hunted killings and seized foreign territory. In fact, he was a businessman, who not only gave people the opportunity to bypass the hated law, but also provide thousands of U.S. residents work, which they lost after the ban on alcohol.

The author of the book “the Ghosts of Eden Park” dedicated to the history of Remus, Karen Abbott described the person of the king of the bootleggers: “al Capone was a bad guy and a villain. He was involved in drug trafficking and was holding in his hands several brothels. Remus built their business on their own knowledge, intelligence, talent. He was a gentleman solved the conflicts without bloodshed, loved art, music and literature. For those who disagree with the adoption of the “Dry law” George was a true legend, a hero, a protector, but not a criminal”

New Empire

One day George happened history, which secured him the authority of one of the most influential people in the United States. During transportation of the next batch of whiskey, Remus was in the van along with his driver when the car left the track, it cut in front of a group of gangsters, who decided to seize the valuable cargo. Driver George ran away, just as the criminals threatened him with weapons, and the Remus entered into an unequal battle with the four bandits. After the defeat he caught a taxi, reached the city and ordered his men to find the kidnappers — two days later George came to the leader of their group and demanded the return of the goods. The courage and integrity Remus was impressed by the head of the mafia who offered him cooperation and protection from attacks — so the Empire George received the first influential ally.

Then Remus decided to gain support from the state and law enforcement agencies, and he managed to get a lot of connections, someone has assisted in solving the problem, someone simply bribed, the result of which has created a network of loyal the most influential people in the US who were willing to take his side in any moment. In fact, he became untouchable, and it was really valuable.

One of the main and most well-known points of Remus was “the Farm of the valley of death” in Cincinnati — it was guarded distillery, which got its name because of the deadly failures of the criminals who tried to enter the territory and capture the goods of George.

In parallel with the growing success has varied a life, and Remus — his first wife soon after settling in Cincinnati learned that George 1915 cheated on her with his Secretary named Imogene Holmes. When Lillian filed for divorce, adulterer immediately legalized his relationship with his mistress and made her his right hand, entrusting all the leverage of its multi-million dollar Empire.

By the way, Remus was famous not only entrepreneurial talent and fabulous wealth. George definitely knew a lot about luxury and parties are regularly organized at his residence a fashionable reception, which was attended by most senior members of the society. His parties were known for its scale — a colourful presentation of the best dance troupes and music orchestras in the U.S., the emergence of celebrities of the first magnitude, an incredible show program and expensive gifts for the guests were charmed the audience and offered Remus in the status of one of the most gracious hosts in the country.

According to rumors, after every meal at the house of George all male guests received from him big checks, diamond accessories, expensive furnishings, and women — cars premium brands. It is not difficult to imagine the success of its activities, and how they wanted to get even the most senior members of the society.

Police, prison and failure

However, as you know, when somewhere there is such a successful and enterprising businessman, the police drew their attention to it, which is what happened with Remus. In 1922, thanks to the efforts smartly configured assistant attorney General Mabel Walker Willebrandt and agent Franklin Dodge, who had long followed the illegal activities of the George and was gathering evidence against him, Remus was accused of bootlegging. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but life in prison does not become a problem for him — thanks to bribes and numerous relations George had a lot of privileges not available to other inhabitants of the institution.

The fact that Remus led a luxurious lifestyle, insanely angered Willebrandt, and then she decided to make a new attempt to expose the activities of George. Mabel sent him his partner Franklin Dodge, who was supposed to ferret out the king of the bootleggers the details of his illegal business, but instead, Remus only mentioned that the Affairs of the Empire in his absence deals with his wife Imogen. This information was not accidental — George was hoping that his wife can flirt with the Dodge and ask them about the plans of the investigation. However, this time Remus was a resounding failure.

Imogen and Franklin spun true romance and went together to spend a huge fortune that belonged to George. A couple, using the power of the wife of Remus, he lost the Empire apart and sold the individual pieces for a pittance, while George himself could not do anything about it.

In 1927, when Remus finally released, his company was left virtually nothing — Imogen Franklin Dodge sold everything, moved the furniture and expensive accessories from the residence of George and ordered the sale of other assets. It is noteworthy that the desperate couple even hired a hit man to eliminate the Remus, but the murderer, afraid of an influential businessman, uncovered the evil plan of the lovers to the people of George, and he was able to avoid the sad fate.

Court divorce Imogen and George was scheduled for October 6, 1927. In this day when the wrong spouse left the building, Remus began to chase the taxi in which she went to the courthouse and caught up with her at the entrance to Eden Park. When the car stopped, the couple got out of the car, and Imogen, knowing that it was coming, he started to pray ex-lover’s forgiveness, and to assure that the initiator of the campaign for the sale of the Empire was Franklin Dodge. However, the pleas and excuses women are not impressed with Remus, and then he shot her in the stomach, fatally wounding his wife, and then went to the police station to surrender.

When Remus appeared in the dock, almost all were confident that he would be in jail for many years. But George was not ready to spend the rest of your life behind bars and brilliantly held one of the best cases in the history of his career. He used his signature technique, stating that it was in a state of temporary insanity during the murder — Remus told the jury a sob story about how his beloved wife cheated on him with a Federal agent and then he deceived his trust, illegally sold parts of his Empire. George was so convincing that the jury took only nineteen minutes to find him not guilty thanks to his talent as a speaker and lawyer Remus held in a psychiatric hospital in just seven months, after which he was released.

After the release of the ex-king of bootleggers moved to Kentucky, and the third time married a woman named Blanche Watson. The couple spent happy years together — Remus tied up with illegal activity and held in their hands the activity of several construction firms. George died in 1952 due to a stroke.

But even after death the image of Remus was not lost on young and ambitious entrepreneurs wanted to be like George, and US residents remembered him as a symbol of the roaring twenties. About his colorful life was filmed several films and written a lot of works of art, and some even believe that Remus was the prototype of the Great Gatsby, the hero of the novel by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, who once met George in Louisville, and was so fascinated that he dedicated his history of his work.

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