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Las Vegas: At Mob-Con, good guys meet and mingle with the (ex-)bad

By Jay Jones

10:30 AM EDT, August 20, 2013

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Former mobsters and the lawmen who once investigated them will exchange friendly greetings when they appear together at Mob-Con Sept. 7 and 8 in Las Vegas.

The good guys and the bad guys along with true crime writers and historians will gather at Mob-Con at Palace Station to discuss the era in which gangsters controlled Las Vegas casinos. The activities will include panel discussions, question-and-answer sessions, and a meet-and-greet party. Where else could you find retired FBI agents clinking glasses with former members of the mob?

One of those reformed gangsters is Frank Cullotta, a henchman for the “Chicago Outfit” and the “Hole in the Wall Gang.” Cullotta reprised his real-life role in the 1995 movie “Casino.” He is also a consultant to mob-related tourist attractions in Las Vegas.

Other former mobsters slated to appear are Frank Calabrese Jr., Kenji Gallo and Tony Montana.

Dennis Arnoldy, a G-man-turned-private investigator, will also speak. While he was  posted to the FBI’s Las Vegas office during the 1980s, he was a member of the team that tracked mobster Tony “The Ant” Spilatro, an enforcer for the Chicago mob. Spilatro was the inspiration for Joe Pesci’s character in “Casino.”

Arnoldy will be reunited at the convention with fellow former agents Ronald Fino and Gary Magnesen. Other retired crime fighters are also scheduled to appear.

Curators from Mob Attraction -- an interactive experience at the Tropicana -- are lending their expertise.

Registration for the two-day event costs $195. It includes the Vegas Mob Tour, a four-hour coach trip to the sites around Las Vegas made infamous by the crooks who once controlled the action.

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