When he was a waiter at swanky Sherry’s restaurant, Prohibition began, and his bewildered wealthy customers asked him where to find alcohol. They were good customers. One left him a $1,000 tip. $1,000 bills were circulated at the time.
When an alcohol supplier followed him home one night, and offered to show him where to find alcohol, he took the offer and $200 in cash. He returned to Sherry’s and found clients for his new venture. Then he quit.
He made $50 for every $150 case of scotch he sold. Then he opened a restaurant with a wine cellar. When grew tired of certain cops taking profits and wine, he closed it.
He entered the big leagues of bootlegging. For a thousand dollar fee, and a promised return of a million, he hooked up with a ring distributing high brow cordials and scotch from Cuba. A rich bootlegger was born.
Bibliography: A Bootlegger’s Story, The New Yorker, September 25, 1926