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John L. Smith: Pot Smoking Boxers, Patient Dumping And Mobsters

The trial of Boston mobster Whitey Bulger has some interesting ties to some former Las Vegas mobsters. Meantime, one of the city's oldest Catholic schools is closing its doors. And is it time for the Nevada Athletic Commission to ditch its rules on pot use among athletes? Those are just a few stories Review Journal Columnist, John L. Smith has reported on in recent weeks. He joins us to talk about some of his columns.


John L. Smith, Columnist, Las Vegas Review Journal


On Why We Should Care That St. Joseph’s Is Closing

“A lot of folks that are leaders in our community today, an awful lot of them, a surprising number got their start, learned about discipline, learned their reading and writing at St. Josephs. It’s kind of amazing. There are casino figures; Michael Gaughan for instance, jokes about getting his knuckles wrapped at St. Joseph’s and not paying close enough attention to the nuns.”

Apprehending Pimp Johnny Ray Taylor

“(It was an) unprecedented level of cooperation between Metro’s vice unit and the IRS criminal investigation division ... It’s not really a statement for me to make whether prostitution should be legal or illegal. When you start to study guys who are on the street who are successful, the lack of paying their taxes is substantial. It’s in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. The level of criminal activity by the people they control, the prostitutes, in short, is substantial. The trick roles and the battery that’s related to that kind of activity. So when you start to add it up, you wind up with a lot of criminal activity associated with something that people call a victimless crime.”

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Las Vegas Ties To Boston’s James “Whitey” Bulger

"Steven Flemmi was a go-to hitman in Boston ... Flemmi was one of those people who was a prolific criminal. There was a killing of  man named Bennett and another fellow who witnessed the crime who essentially went on the lamb to California, and they caught up with him there, murdered him, and dumped him outside the lights of Las Vegas, where our detectives back in 1969 basically solved the crime ... they basically were right on the trail of Steven Flemmi and a guy named Frank Salemme. If you’re keeping score with mob nicknames, Whitey Bulger, that’s pretty boring. How about Steve the Rifleman, and Cadilac Frank Salemme?"