Saturday, February 02, 2013

When New York City's Boodle Gang came to Montreal

   One of the greatest obsessions in New York in the 1890s was the fate of several of the city's 22 Aldermen caught accepting $20,000 bribes to allow Jake Sharp to have 999 years of rights to run a streetcar down Broadway.
   Joseph Pulitzer famously accused the aldermen without much evidence, and many of them fled to Montreal for refuge.

    NYC politicians Billy MoloneySalyes, Dempsey, Robert E Delacey, John Keenan and fled to Montreal around 1886 where they lived at the St. Lawrence Hall, The Windsore Hotel and homes on Mackay and Tupper respectively for some time.  Keenan was said to have built some homes on Sherbrooke St. which were apparently known as the Boodle Block.
   Most of them moved back to New York after about a year but De Lacey (aka Delacey, aka De Lacy) lived in Montreal until about 1890 and died in 1906.
    They were reported to be bored and frustrated with their lives here which involved sitting around hotels under assumed names and chain smoking cigars. Moloney was the only one who apparently had some fun here, as his father was well-known in Montreal and he had a good social life.
   Other American scam artists fleeing to Quebec from the states around that time were John C. Eno, who absconded with $4 million from the Second National Bank and George Bartholomew who stole from Charter Oak Life. Amadeus Ebert of Cincinatti was said to have swindled merchants out of $150,000 before coming here too.
   Montreal papers didn't write much about the sudden influx of crooked American fugitives but the New York Times showed why it orders ink by the barrelful, printing countless articles about the Boodle Gang's activities in Montreal.

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