Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Enoch L. Johnson

Enoch Lewis "Nucky" Johnson (January 20, 1883 – December 9, 1968) was an Atlantic City, New Jersey political boss and racketeer.

From the 1910s until his imprisonment in 1941, he was the undisputed “boss” of Atlantic City and the Atlantic County government.
Atlantic City was a tourist destination, and its success depended on providing visitors with what they wanted. What many tourists wanted was the ability to drink, gamble and have sex.

The organization inherited by Nucky Johnson permitted the service of alcohol, gambling and prostitution, in exchange for the payment of protection money by operators. Support of the vice industry was to continue and expand under Nucky Johnson’s rule. He also continued other corruption, including kickbacks on government contracts.
Prohibition, which was enacted nationally in 1919 and lasted until 1933, was effectively unenforced in Atlantic City, and, as a result, the resort's popularity grew. The city dubbed itself as "The World's Playground". Most of Johnson’s income came from the percentage he took on every gallon of illegal liquor sold, and on gambling and prostitution operations.

Johnson once said:
“We have whisky, wine, women, song and slot machines. I won't deny it and I won't apologize for it. If the majority of the people didn't want them they wouldn't be profitable and they would not exist. The fact that they do exist proves to me that the people want them.”

Investigators charged that Johnson's income from vice exceeded $500,000 a year.
On May 10, 1939 Johnson was indicted for evading taxes on about $125,000 in income from numbers operators during 1935, 1936 and 1937. A two week trial concluded in July 1941, and Johnson was convicted. He was sentenced to ten years in federal prison and fined $20,000.
After his release from prison in 1945 Johnson lived in Atlantic City until his death on December 9, 1968.

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