Charles Binaggio was a gangster who fought his way to the top of the underworld heap more through politics than crime. He was a lieutenant in the political machine of Tom Pendergast and had close ties to crime boss Johnny Lazia. When Pendergast fell from power in 1939 and his organization started to unravel, Binaggio emerged as the new leader of the city's underworld and ran much of Kansas City in the 1940s. Binaggio wanted to reopen Kansas City to widespread vice, especially gambling, which was a hallmark of the Pendergast era. A high-profile murder of a known gambler in Kansas City then caused a crack down on the sport, and a grand jury investigation into organized crime put pressure on Binaggio. This focused a great deal of bad national publicity on him. On April 6, 1950, Charles Binaggio and Charles Gargotta, both well-known local crime figures, were found dead inside the First Ward Democratic Club on Truman Road in Kansas City MO. They had been shot to death at close range in a gangland-style execution. BinaggioÕs murder stunned the city and its shock waves reached Washington, D.C., where Congress appointed a special committee to investigate organized crime. Despite investigations by five law enforcement agencies, the murders of Binaggio and Gargotta were never solved.
Bio by: Bill Walker