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Known as "The Irishman," Daniel "Danny" Greene was one of most notorious crime figures in the Midwest. He even took on the entire Mafia in his quest for power.
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Crime figure. Born on November 9, 1933, in Cleveland, Ohio. Known as "The Irishman," Daniel "Danny" Greene was one of most notorious crime figures in the Midwest. He even took on the entire Mafia in his quest for power.
Danny Greene's life began with loss and hardship. His mother died a few days after his birth, and his father could not take care of him. Greene ended up spending his early years in an orphanage.
A high-school dropout, Greene served in the U.S. Marines for a few years. He later went to work as a longshoreman on the Cleveland docks. Over time, Greene became a union organizer and eventually made his way to union boss. He had a great passion for his Irish heritage, which he displayed in many ways. One of these ways was to paint the union office green. He also loved to wear green clothes.
Greene's time at the top did not last, however. He was forced to resign after it was discovered that he had been embezzling funds. While Greene was tried for his crime, he ended up only having to pay a $10,000 fine. He found work on the other side of the law instead, acting as an enforcer for Alex "Shondor" Birns, a Jewish mobster.
In addition to being a mob strongman, Greene started up his own loan-sharking, gambling, and racketeering outfit. He was viewed as a threat by other organized crime figures including Birns, because of his efforts to muscle into their territories. Greene reportedly took over some of Birns' operations while Birns was in prison, and joined forces with Teamster official John Nardi. There were also reports that Greene may have been an FBI informant, which might explain why he seemed to escape serious prosecution for his crimes.
Several attempts were made on Greene's life—one even involved bombing a building where he was living. He and his girlfriend survived the explosion and made their way out of the rubble. Another time, an adversary tried to shoot Greene while he was out for a run with his dogs in 1971. Greene took out his own weapon and killed his would-be assassin. In this case, he was tried and acquitted of manslaughter. Greene attributed his survival in these attacks to "the luck of the Irish."
The battle for turf in Cleveland continued to heat up, and Greene is believed to have eliminated some of his competition. One-time friend Birns met a grisly end outside of a Cleveland church in March 1975—a bomb exploded when he got into the car. In an ironic twist, Greene was killed by a car bomb on October 6, 1977, in Lyndhurst, Ohio.
Greene's murder acted as a springboard for a crime crackdown; roughly 22 convictions were made in relation to Greene's death.
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