Al Capone’s Mystery Vault; A Tragic Farce

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Al Capone began his criminal career in Brooklyn, New York, but later moved his enterprise to Chicago, Illinois.  In 1928 Capone rented a suite in the Lexington Hotel to serve as headquarters for business meetings and certain ‘social’ gatherings.  The Lexington was Capone’s primary residence until 1931 when he was arrested, convicted and sent to prison for Federal Tax Evasion.

Approximately fifty years later, in the early 1980’s a planned renovation of the Lexington prompted a series of inspections of the building, at which time a vault was discovered in the basement.  There was a great deal of speculation, but no confirmation, that this was Al Capone’s vault and that it contained some of his massive wealth.  This grabbed the attention of a rogue television reporter, Geraldo Rivera.

Rivera saturated the airwaves nationwide with advertising for the live opening of Al Capone’s Mystery Vault.  Viewers were expecting to see all sorts of riches, perhaps stolen diamonds and artwork and maybe an arsenal of weapons.  In his penchant for bravura, Rivera even brought a Medical Examiner onto the show just in case the vault revealed a dead body or two.  The show pre-empted the regular programming and ran for several hours.  Viewers were on the edge of their seats.  The climax exposed a few broken bottles to which Rivera pointed and exclaimed once contained moonshine.

For many years, Al Capone suffered from syphillis and subsequently succumbed to cardiac arrest and died January 25, 1947.

Geraldo Rivera can still be seen reporting and commenting in a most controversial way.


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