It was believed that Abba Dabba’s
mathematical wizardry added 10 percent to every million dollars a day the mob took
Dutch Schultz, noted
as being one of the stingiest crime bosses in New York, paid his top
gangster aides—men like Lulu Rosenkrantz and Abe Landau—something like
$1,200 a week. By contrast he paid Abba Dabba $10,000.
On October 23, 1935,
Schultz and two bodyguards, Landau and Rosenkrantz, arrived at the Palace Chop
House in Newark, New Jersey. A three-man syndicate hit squad was dispatched to
take care of them.
late arrival joined the Schultz party. It was Abba Dabba Berman.
All four were shot to
death, Abba Dabba included.
A final testament to
the skills of the numbers genous was contained in the papers the quartet had
been going over. They indicated that over a certain period of time
the Schultz policy banks had taken in $827,253.43 in bets and paid out
only $313,711.99. The difference between that last figure and
the approximately $500,000 which should have been paid out to winners
was attributed to Abba Dabba Berman’s skills.
His demise cost the
syndicate literally millions of dollars annually. For a time others tried to
imitate Berman’s technique—as much as could be figured out—but none
came within a fraction of his results. Even Vito Genovese, probably the
most anti-Semitic crime bigwig in the syndicate, mourned the
passing of “the Yid adding machine.”
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