The FBI took a keener interest in the Mafia across the United States following the November 14, 1957 raid by state troopers at Joseph Barbara's upstate farmhouse in Apalachin, NY, and compiled so-called "letterhead memorandum" on the "top hoodlums" in each field division including the following one dated December 29, 1960 on Henry "Hank" Corscadden who ran gambling operations in the New York state capital for Albany County Democratic boss Daniel O'Donnell:
THE HENRY "HANK" CORSCADDEN OPERATION
A. Origin and Development
In January, 1953 [redacted] a [redacted] at Patsy's Barber Shop, 3 Howard Street, Albany, New York, advised that the newsstands in Albany got their racing information from one Henry Corscadden of High Street in Albany.
During the same month, Confidential Informant AL T-1 related that there was no race wire service in New York and that Henry Corscadden had a contact with a printer on one of the newspapers in Albany, and the printer telephoned race results to Corscadden as the Associated Press or United Press teletypes were received by the newspaper. This source said that this was slow service and did not afford an opportunity for a bettor to make a replay.
AL T-1 previously reported that Corscadden was operating a horse race betting room in Albany at 603 Broadway and was receiving wire service from the currently defunct Empire State News Service of Troy, New York. He further advised that one [redacted] of [redacted] was [redacted] similarly. The relationship between the two was not stated.
It is noted that in 1953 the Albany City Directory showed Henry Corscadden residing at 73 Ryckman Avenue, occupation listed as insurance broker without a business address.
On April 22, 1960, Confidential Informant AL T-2 said that where any bets were actually picked up or made in the City of Albany, New York, Henry "Hank" Corscadden was the "big man." This source described Corscadden as "the okay guy." He said that Corscadden had held this position, to his knowledge, for the past six or seven years and, when questioned, said he did not know what special contact Corscadden might have in Albany which put him in the position or how he holds the position, but asserted that Corscadden and his partner, Danny Durando, operate all the bookmaking in the city from the smoke shops, newsrooms, and so on.
AL T-2 explained that such establishments or stores or individuals turned in the bets to Corscadden for each race and there was an accounting made once a month and Corscadden and the individual establishments split the winnings 50-50. He said all the settlements were on a cash basis and it was the usual practice for the individual establishment, the newsstand, smoke shop, etc., to stand any losses where bets were allowed on credit.
B. Area of Operations
1. Central Headquarters
The Albany, New York, City Directory for 1959 reflects Henry Corscadden, wife Mary, at 59 Melrose Avenue, Albany, and his business is shown as "insurance." No business address is reflected.
As noted above, he resided at 73 Ryckman Avenue in Albany in 1953, listing occupation as "insurance broker," but no business address.
On April 22, 1958, AL T-1 said that as he understood the Albany gambling setup, one [redacted] was the [redacted] and dealt directly with Henry Corscadden of 59 Melrose Avenue, whose place of business was in the Hotel Broadway, 603 Broadway, Albany, New York.
In June, 1959, Confidential Informant AL T-3 advised that in Albany, New York, it is almost impossible to make book without making book through Corscadden and Danny Durando. He said that these persons were then operating their bookmaking from the Pierce Hotel in Albany, 5-13 High Street.
On June 2, 1960, Confidential Informant AL T-4 said that Henry Corscadden maintains his office at the Pierce Hotel on High Street near State Street in Albany, New York, in a three-room apartment.
On October 13, 1958, Confidential Informant AL T-5 advised that he felt the amount usually grossed by a bookmaker in the City of Albany would average at least $1,000 a day of gross business. This source said [redacted]. He said that he believed there were in excess of sixty bookmaking establishments operating in Albany at the time and that Henry Corscadden's principal associate, Daniel Durando, lives at 108 Third Avenue, Watervliet, New York.
2. Scope of Operations
As set forth above, an experienced source advised there were, in 1958, in excess of sixty or more bookmaking establishments operating daily in Albany.
The same source said that the amount usually grossed by a bookmaker would average at least $1,000 a day.
At a later date, Confidential Informant AL T-6, an experienced bookmaker in the area, said that Durando was last operating from the Pierce Hotel in Albany on High Street, and that so far as he knew, Albany was closed down pretty tightly and both Durando and Henry Corscadden were operating by calling out only. He said so far as he knew, nobody could call them and they had not given out their telephone number and operated solely by getting in touch with the people they wanted.
This source mentioned that "they have a very good thing going" as they have the whole city of Albany "in the palm of their hands."
On March 27, 1957, Confidential Informant AL T-7, a gambler, [redacted] and bookmaker, advised that the "okay" to operate bookmaking in Albany is political. He said that at the time horse booking was done under orders to keep the bets small ($10.00 maximum bet, but they do take multiple bets) and not to let women bet. This source said that Hank Corscadden owned or backed six or eight places and that the men running these shops were only employees of Corscadden.
C. Type of Operations
1. Main Source of Income
As indicated above, the source of income of this operation is bookmaking and, in the past, supplying wire service data.
On June 2, 1960, AL T-4 said that he gathers that all the bookmakers in town "send in" to Corscadden.
1. Chain of Command
On April 15, 1957, AL T-6 said that Hank Corscadden is the man to see in Albany if you want to run a horse room there. He said Corscadden runs perhaps twenty or thirty "newsrooms" or "smoke shops" and is the contact with the politicians who give the police department orders.
In January, 1953, AL T-1 said that Corscadden was sponsored by a [redacted] allegedly, of [redacted] for years County Chairman of the Albany County Democratic Party.
On April 22, 1958, the same source said that as he understood the Albany gambling setup at the time, [redacted] was the [redacted] and [redacted] with Corscadden. This source said that he understood also, from sources which he could not specifically recall, that annual political contributions were requested from Albany bookmakers and the money used to be collected by a man named [redacted] whose first name he did not know.
On June 2, 1960, AL T-4 said that he hears that [redacted] Albany political figure, was associated with Corscadden in backing large bets of all kinds, not only horse bets but sports as well.
On October 13, 1958, AL T-5 said that [redacted] was answerable only to [redacted] and [redacted] of the [redacted] political machine.
This same source identified Corscadden's principal associate as Daniel Durando, 108 Third Avenue, Watervliet, New York.
On October 14, 1958, [redacted] Rensselaer County District Attorney's Office, Troy, New York, advised that it was well known that [redacted] was the boss of all bookmaking activity in the Albany, New York, area, and he said that [redacted] is answerable to [redacted] and [redacted] in Albany.
In connection with [redacted] of the Albany County Democratic Party, AL T-1 has previously advised that many years ago [redacted] was in jail in New York City and one of the [redacted] family was employed in the New York City Jail where [redacted] was held and befriended [redacted]. This source said that when [redacted] returned to Albany, he "took care" of the [redacted].
2. Contact With Law Enforcement and Public Officials
As set forth above, [redacted] is allegedly answerable to [redacted] and [redacted] who are allegedly under the patronage of Albany County Democratic [redacted].
As indicated by AL T-7, operation of bookmaking in Albany is political.
On October 7, 1958, AL T-1 said that a Saratoga Springs, New York, radio station furnished race results daily on each race, the entries being announced five minutes before the hour and the results twenty-five minutes after the hour, for five-minute periods. The source said that this service was paid for by money collected from the Albany County bookmakers and was paid to the radio station for advertising some tavern.
The source said that the most important thing then in connection with Henry Corscadden's operation was the fact that there was a leased wire from the Saratoga Springs radio station to [redacted] who may be somewhere on Central Avenue in Albany. By means of this leased wire, the source said, Roth furnished Corscadden with up-to-the-minute race results received by the radio station during the intervening period of broadcast, and this service was telephoned to various Albany bookmakers.
On April 21, 1959, AL T-1 said that, in connection with the Albany gambling situation, [redacted] had been closed down in Albany and for some reason had not been permitted by the [redacted] crowd to reopen.
On January 14, 1960, AL T-4 said that he had inquired as to who gives the "word" when gambling opens or closes in Albany, New York, and he said that [redacted] of he Albany County Democratic Party, is the man who gives the actual word. It is noted [redacted] had offices in the State Bank of Albany building, Pearl and State Streets, and resides in the DeWitt Clinton Hotel. He is also [reacted] of the County Tax Delinquency Bureau.
The source said that he understands that [redacted] actually talks to Henry Corscadden and that Corscadden passes the word on to other bookmakers, who are required to deal with Corscadden on a 50-50 basis. This source said that only a few major bookmakers operate independently in Albany, and the only one he knew of is [redacted].
The source said that [redacted] formerly was very closely associated with his and is the [redacted] of [redacted] Albany County Democratic Party [redacted] and actual [redacted] of the County and City. [Redacted] has been Albany [redacted] for some years.
In connection with the above, in October of 1958, AL T-1 said that most of the bookmakers in Albany turned their business over to Corscadden and received a percentage of the winnings. The source said, in connection with the Albany bookmaking picture, that it was [redacted] by [redacted] and that [redacted] other [redacted] was [redacted]. This source said that [redacted] and [redacted] generally dislike one another but were afraid to interefere in one another's operations because they were operating surreptitiously for their own benefit.
Back in 1956, in August of that year, Confidential Informant AL T-8 identified Henry Corscadden as the outstanding bookmaker in the Albany area and a close friend and associate of Albany County Democratic [redacted].
During the same period, Confidential Informant AL T-9 advised that Corscadden had been ejected from the Saratoga Race Track on August 21, 1956, by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, and on the following day New York State Court of Claims Judge Henry Young, New York State [redacted] and an individual named [redacted] last name unknown, from the New York State Department of State, visited [redacted] of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, in an attempt to have [redacted] reinstated at the race track. AL T-9 said that Albany County [redacted] had asked Judge Young, [redacted] and [redacted] to get in touch with racing officials at Saratoga to get Corscadden back on the track.
E. Infiltration of Business and Industry
No information developed indicating that there has been any infiltration by these individuals other than the fact that Corscadden, in the City Directory, is listed as in "insurance."
Also, [redacted] has been alleged to be engaged in coin machine operations.
In this connection, in March, 1960, AL T-9 related that the H. W. Desormeau Tobacco Company, Inc., 324 Ontario, Cohoes, New York, is the largest coin machine and tobacco dealer in this part of the State. This source said that [redacted] is the [redacted] for [redacted].
This source said that he thought [redacted] lived on [redacted] in the [redacted] and that it seemed obvious to him that [redacted] took [redacted] in because of his position as a favorite of [redacted] since it would appear people would be glad to give locations for coin machines to [redacted] because of his reputed political power.
This source said he never heard any least inkling that [redacted] or the [redacted] outfit resorted to harsh or "muscle" type tactics. The source said the big thing in the coin machine business (like cigarette machines, coffee machines, etc.) is the location, and he said it seemed obvious to him anyone would want to please [redacted] and he would thus be a fine outside man. The source said he had never heard what [redacted] split or interest might be in the business.
In connection with the above, it is noted that AL T-1, on April 22, 1958, related that [redacted] was connected with the Alcohol Beverage Control Board in Albany County (ABC) and, through the Fort Orange Vending Corporation, placed cigarette machines in bars and restaurants in New York, and the source said that this was a very profitable business.
F. Relations With Other Groups
No specific tie-in with other groups in the Albany area has been brought to attention, other than the political party which controls Albany County.
In this regard, on November 13, 1954, Special Deputy Attorney General Ernest Morris of the State of New York, at Albany, made available a report to the Attorney General of the State of New York which he had just drafted and which reflected that since 1921 the government of the City of Albany has been completely dominated by the local Democratic organization referred to as the [redacted] machine, and for approximately thirty years (up to the date of the report) not a single Republican office holder had been elected in the City of Albany. It added that the Common Council, the legislative governing body of the City of Albany, consisting of nineteen alderman, had enacted ordinances and local laws by a vote of nineteen to nothing for about thirty years.
On July 30, 1959, AL T-1 said that [redacted] and [redacted] were behind [redacted] in [redacted] large-scale bookmaking activities, and that the [redacted] exerted tremendous influence on [redacted] Albany County Democratic Party boss.
On March 30, 1960, AL T-9 said that the [redacted] machine runs Albany "very good - they're not greedy." He mentioned that the family of [redacted] Albany County Democratic Party [redacted] and [redacted] the Hedrick Brewing Company in Albany and bought into it many years ago, and he said that they did not use any rough tactics or "muscle" and did not force the beer at all. He said it is a quite good beer and is widely sold by almost all the establishments in Albany, not because of pressure but because it is good, cheap, and as an added factor, everybody wants to take it with the thought that they might want a favor in the future and would be in a better position if they handled [redacted] beer.
This source said that there is no "action" in Albany and it is a very clean town with no "muscle" or major crime. He said this has been the pattern ever since [redacted] nephew was kidnapped by the Oley gang years ago, and ever since [redacted] has hated "muscle." As this source put it, if an out-of-town hoodlum is found in Albany by the police department, they "beat his brains out."
Further reading that may be of interest: