By Matthew P. Mayo
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Extra resources for Hornswogglers, Fourflushers & Snake-Oil Salesmen: True Tales of the Old West's Sleaziest Swindlers
All of the whereas, the Blonger brothers saved up a lifelong curiosity in playing, particularly in rigging video games, a mercenary and pleasant approach to padding their wallets. So once they arrived in Denver in 1888, they did so with thick wallets and a passel of existence adventure. Their first order of industrial was once to open a modest-size saloon, supplying libation, all demeanour of playing tables, and a couple of ladies to make sure buyers’ glasses stayed crammed, between different tasks. From this lone preliminary enterprise, the Blonger boys parlayed their transforming into fortunes right into a variety of saloons that at last gave method to the crown jewel of all of them, the Elite Saloon, the fanciest such institution in all of Denver. With mahogany furnishings, frescoed ceilings, marble flooring, a cafe—and supplying consumers a shot at each well known vice of the time—the Blongers struck gold with the Elite. regardless of his significant wealth and tool, Lou, the savvier of the 2 brothers, still suffered periodic business-related setbacks over the years. the main devastating got here in 1897 with the foreclosures of the Elite. one of these blow may defeat lesser males, yet no longer so with Lou Blonger. The setback in simple terms looked as if it would make him extra decided and resilient. at any time when his financial institution money owed dipped into the pink, he positioned extra strain on his community of con males and became up a clean crop of rubes. As famed swindler and showman P. T. Barnum is reputed to have acknowledged, “There’s a sucker born each minute. ” There couldn’t be adequate of them to fulfill Blonger’s rapacious wants. common newspaper reviews instructed of a handful of his organization’s sufferers. One such was once the unhappy tale of Harry B. Waldorf, who killed himself whereas traveling Denver after he’d been duped through Blonger’s males out of $400, then pressured to signal tests his account couldn't conceal. Waldorf were distressed over the idea that his challenge may carry shame to his kin. the object pointed the finger squarely at Blonger. over the years the Blonger association elevated its impact on urban politics and used to be ultimately capable of rig whole elections. one in all his males voted for 4 applicants greater than a dozen instances every one, all within the comparable election. Multiply such efforts through a number of hundred staff and you have got a recipe for a cooked election. Blonger extensively utilized vast lists of electorate, residing and deceased, to rack up votes for whichever applicants he deemed helpful of maintaining place of work. It used to be no longer unusual to work out Denver policemen ushering humans to polling locations. so long as a vote used to be forged, it mattered little to somebody in Blonger’s hire whether or not they have been prepared, certified, or had already voted. Blonger’s reimbursement was once the information that urban corridor remained in his again pocket, beneficial to a guy who may well require a want at any time. Blonger’s top years as a Denver crime boss have been punctuated with episode after episode of blatant graft and corruption. From pick-pocketing summer time travelers on a Denver highway to shaking down urban corridor officers, crimes happened with fast moving regularity—and introduced in huge greenbacks.