Posted: Sep 23, 2006 12:45 am
prohibition got overturned in 1939.
the greenbook affair happened in memphis in late june of 1927. basically, when feds rolled in and found bellomini, a grocery store owner at the corner of 4th and butler, was running a bootlegging operation through his store. when the prohibition feds came in, he had in his possession a book which basically listed almost every police officer in memphis and the amount he paid to them, and also several politicians. this wasn't the first time he had been arrested either, a well-known bootlegger, Bellomini had been arrested in 1922 for narcotics, and again in 1924 for prohibition violations. he mostly avoided arrest and went about business as usual. most of the raids upon his establishment were routine slap-on-the-wrist affairs, only coming around election time to look good. he usually escaped any real punishment, perhaps a small fine, but nothing substantial. until the feds rolled in.
the bellomini payoff book spawned a decently sized overhaul of the entire memphis police department. it even had gotten national attention, as the new york times even wrote an article on it. despite boss crump having a large amount of support from the underground, he couldn't totally avoid national attention and was trying to clean up the reputation memphis had as a center of immorality and murder. if he didn't comply SOMEWHAT, he and his entire administration could potentially be in trouble FEDERALLY. he was constantly in conflict with the governor of the state, and let police commissioner clifford davis take most of the heat for the busts. mayor overton, one of boss crumps' cronies had even said of the 1928 cleanups in memphis, "we would like to help our friends, but we can't let them violate the law." however, that was mostly just lip service, and they both continued to turn a MOSTLY blind eye on the ongoings, making busts primarily on people who politically opposed crump. most seizures in the era of NATIONAL prohibition in memphis were done on a federal level, although some key busts were done by city police. feds got a lot of them on the river, many on islands. apparently, presidents island was a favorite of moonshiners!
i found a really interesting picture of a house on e. parkway...a really beautiful house. the address is numbered as 1139 e. parkway. not sure if the same numbering as it is today. but a really nice house. it was the scene of a still raid in march of 1933. funny because i have seen the house while i was driving down east parkway many a time. heh. they found a 2000 gallon still in the house! that's a lot of whiskey! mmmmmm.