Edward G. Connors

Edward G. Connors

Edward G. Connors (January 1, 1933 Sharon, Massachusetts- January 1, 1975 Dorchester, Massachusetts) also known as "The Bulldog" and "Eddie", was an associate of the Winter Hill Gang and successful bar owner in Revere, Massachusetts.

Biography

Connors was born in Sharon, Massachusetts and raised in the Old Colony housing development at 265 East Ninth in South Boston, one of the Boston Housing Authority's oldest housing developments. Edward had one younger brother named James Connors who would pursue a career as a professional welterweight boxer like Edward and was a sparring partner of Anthony Veranis and Joe DeNucci. Edward had a close physical resemblance to heavyweight boxer Rocky Marciano. As a youth he was a regular at the L Street Curley Gym and Bathhouse located at 1663 Columbia Road in South Boston where Stephen Flemmi, James J. Bulger, Frank Salemme and William Bulger all hung out. In high school he was in the Old Colony basketball team in 1955 and helped lead to team to the state championships in 1955. After graduating high school he was trained at Fort Devens, Massachusetts where he was later placed in the 1st Battalion 25th Marines. While in the U.S. Marines he started boxing and excelled at it. After his honorable discharge he took up professional boxing. During his professional boxing career he received sponsorship by the boxing equipment and sportswear company Ben Lee, which would also sponsor his brother, James. He later opened up several barrooms in Revere and Dorchester, Massachusetts including "The Bulldog Tavern" in Savin Hill which began a hangout for known mob associates, loansharking and bookmaking. He is a close friend of Winter Hill Gang associate Alan Fidler. He was involved in bookmaking, loan sharking and drug trafficking with Alan Fidler. Edward was a close friend of future Massachusetts State Senator William Keating and Boston Mayor Ray Flynn who were introduced to each other for the fist time at his saloon, The Bulldog.

Boxing career

Edward's was a welterweight boxer who fought with an orthodox stance. He weighed between 158 and 161 pounds. His first professional fight was against Billy Wilcox on August 3, 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts. On April 20, 1959 Connors was knocked out by Tony DeMarco in the sixth round and lost. His last professional boxing match was against Willie Green on December 21, 1960 in Providence, Rhode Island. On April 14, 1959 he boxed against future Massachusetts State Auditor Joe DeNucci and lost. On November 21, 1960 he fought against Willie Green for the New England Middleweight title championship and lost. During his overall professional boxing career he successfully won twenty-two fights and had eighteen fights end in knock outs. He would later use his boxing training to handle drunk and disorderly customers in his Bulldog Tavern where he acted as a bartender and bouncer.

Spike O'Toole slaying

Winter Hill Gang associate James "Spike" O'Toole was a troubled alcoholic and a habituate of Connor's saloon, the Bulldog Tavern in Revere Beach. He tipped off his friend Howie Winter about O'Toole's drinking habits, and Winter told Connors to inform him the next time O'Toole was drinking at his saloon. O'Toole was later machine gunned by John Martorano as he walked out of his saloon on December 1, 1973.

Gangland slaying

After "Spike" O'Toole's gangland murder, Connors openly discussed his role in orchestrating the O'Toole murder with associates and patrons of his saloons in 1975. He also had been arrested in the commission of a botched armed robbery. Howie Winter soon learned that Connors was talking and that Connors was implicating the Winter Hill Gang in the O'Toole murder. Winter sent a message to Connors to give Winter the number for a "safe" telephone (one that was not tapped by the authorities), at which Winter could call Connors and discuss the matter. Connors was to appear at the station at 9:00 p.m. to receive the call from Howie Winter. Howie obtained the number and James J. Bulger, John Martorano and Stephen Flemmi tracked the number through contacts at Boston Edison to a pay telephone outside a gas station on William T. Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester. Winter then arranged to call Connors at that telephone at a pre-determined time.One hundred yards away, 150 officers from the Boston Police Department were enjoying a banquet. All would later report to their superiors that they did not hear any of the gunfire. The only problem for the murder, was a Metropolitan District Commission police traffic detail was situated almost directly across the boulevard from the phone booth. James J. Bulger quickly found another phone booth and called in a false accident report to the MDC police. The traffic detail immediately left to answer the alarm, and moments later Connors pulled up in his Cadillac to await the call. On June 12, 1975, John Martorano drove to the gas station with James J. Bulger and Stephen Flemmi in a stolen sedan. The two men walked to the phone booth where Connors was talking to Howie Winter. Bulger and Flemmi, armed with a shotgun and automatic carbine rifle riddled the telephone booth with bullets, hitting Connors numerous times almost cutting him in two. He died instantly.

Personal attack on Billy Bulger

By 1993, it became clear to the junior members of the Massachusetts State Senate that, in his fifteenth year as president, William Bulger had solidified his position. At this time, Bulger was trying to expand his political influence. When Mayor Ray Flynn quit City Hall to become ambassador to the Vatican, a special election was scheduled to replace him. Bulger quickly mobilized his troops behind Representative James Brett of Dorchester, the husband of his long-time secretary Patricia Brett. Brett made it to the runoff, but in the final couldn't overcome Thomas Menino, who as the president of the City Council had become acting mayor after Flynn's departure. But the fact that Billy had been able to muscle his lightweight candidate into the final meant he wasn't quite dead yet. Many younger Democratic politicians were growing concerned that with the governorship gone, and the two U.S. senators less than attentive to state politics, the face of the Democratic Party had become William Bulger. Any democrat who ran for governor from now on could- and would- be portrayed as a tool, not just of Bulger, but of the "Bulgers", which was to say, organized crime. The Democrats would remain in control of the legislature, but the Corner Office seemed out of reach until someone could get rid of Billy Bulger. That task would eventually fall to Senator Bill Keating of Sharon. Keating was not someone anyone who would have picked as a future rival of the Senate president. Billy understood that any legislative leader who wished to survive must preserve at least an illusion of upward mobility for his members. If the rank-and-file legislator saw no future for himself in the status quo, he would more likely be willing to participate in any uprising against the leadership. Everyone knew that for Billy to survive in the senate, he would have to start easing out his more ambitious members, which including Bill Keating. Billy offered Keating a judgeship, which Keating turned down. Following the job refusal, one day in the spring of 1993, in the Senate chamber in front of the podium, he goaded Billy Bulger. He began talking about his old friend, Mayor Ray Flynn. Keating went on, in loud terms, what a great guy Hizzoner was. Finally Billy handed the gavel to one of his underlings and stalked off the rostrum, steaming. A few minutes later, a court officer told Keating that Billy wanted to see him. Bulger told Keating, "That Flynn is a not a good person, you know." Keating replied, "I have known Ray for a long time. I knew him since before I was even a state representative. You know where I first met him? I met him at this bar in Savin Hill. Maybe you heard of it- the Bulldog Tavern. Yeah, I'm in the Bulldog, and so's Ray, and this guy I know, he introduces us. You know who that guy was? I was Eddie Connors." Keating was talking about the same Edward G. Connors that Billy's brothers, James J. Bulger and Stephen Flemmi had machine gunned to death in a telephone booth on Morrissey Boulevard in 1975. Billy Bulger knew Connors very well, his saloon The Bulldog was located in his ward and a suspected victim of his brother, James. It was verboten to mentioned James J. Bulger or his crimes, in Billy's presence, and Keating had done it, in a backhanded way no less, with a smirk on his face. Keating spoke up, "Yeah, Mr. President. It was poor Eddie Connors who introduced me to Ray Flynn. You remember, Eddie Connors, Mr. President?"

References

  • The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century by Howie Carr

External links

  • http://www.boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=47972&cat=boxer
  • http://www.boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=12891&cat=boxer
  • http://wrko.com/Whitey-Watch/975375
  • http://www.thebrothersbulger.com/Edward%20Connors.htm

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