Join Nevada historian and former director of the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs Michael Fischer as he moderates a discussion about Frank Sinatra’s close personal relationship with Bill Raggio. As Washoe County District Attorney, and later state senator, Raggio’s integrity and reputation as a public servant was held in the highest regard by the public and his legal and legislative colleagues. But, his friendship with fellow Italian-American Sinatra, whose lifelong association with members of organized crime, eventually costing Frank his gaming license at the Cal Neva-Lake Tahoe, raised more than a few eyebrows.
|Sinatra: "Any report that I fraternized with goons or hoodlums is a vicious lie!" |
In this group are murderer-turned-FBI-informant, Jimmy "The Weasel" Fratianno,
and New York Mafia Bosses, Carlo Gambino and "Big" Paulie Castellano.
Bill socialized with Frank often, and was the first one Sinatra called to help him organize the ransom and recovery when his son Frank Jr. was kidnapped at Lake Tahoe in 1963. In 1981, Sinatra chose Bill Raggio as his private attorney to represent him before the Nevada Gaming Commission in regaining a gaming license.
Some of the evening’s discussion will address how Raggio walked a fine line in maintaining this friendship, and how much Bill may have known about Sinatra’s involvement with Mafia bosses, a claim Sinatra repeatedly denied throughout his lifetime; but was well-established in FBI files released after his death under the Freedom of Information Act.
Among those participating in the discussion will be Michael Archer, author of Bill Raggio’s biography A Man of His Word; and highly respected, longtime Nevada journalist, formerly with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Guy Farmer, who was familiar with the case against Sinatra at the Cal Neva and, at one point, listened in on an obscenity-laced telephone conversation as Sinatra threatened the Board’s director Ed Olson.
It should be a lively and interesting conversation, so come early and check out the wonderful historical exhibits the Society has to offer.
The Nevada Historical Society is located at 1650 N Virginia St, Reno (on the University of Nevada campus). Wine and cheese will be served starting at 5 PM with the discussion beginning at 5:30. A nominal admission fee may be required. For further information please call 775-688-1190.