On this date in 1961: Mike Farah, 56, was practicing his golf swing outside his Warren, Ohio, home, when gunshots from a gray-green Chevrolet cut him down.
Farah dragged himself into the house, and an ambulance was summoned to take him to the nearby hospital. About two hours later, Farah died of internal bleeding.
Police found the Chevrolet abandoned just a half mile from Farah's home. They determined that it had been stolen from Canton three months earlier.
Mike Farah was known to authorities as the former part-owner (with his brother John and Tony Delsanter) of the Jungle Inn gambling casino, in Liberty township, just outside of Youngstown. James "Jack White" Licavoli, Cleveland-based Mafia leader, also appeared to hold an interest in the establishment. (Licavoli was known to have partnered with Mike Farah in the Girard Novelty Company in Niles and the Triangle Novelty Company in Warren.) The casino, opened following the repeal of Prohibition, proved itself impervious to law enforcement until the late 1940s, when the Ohio governor sent in agents from the state liquor control board. The Jungle Inn was closed after a raid in 1949.
Authorities in the region believed that Farah continued to be involved in racketeering, though he insisted that he was retired. He was charged with assault with intent to kill following an attack against Trumbull County Republican chairman and Board of Elections member Jean Blair in June 1959. In that case, he was convicted on a lesser charge of assault and battery and was sentenced to four months in county jail, a $200 fine and court costs. He did not begin serving that sentence until his the Ohio Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal.
Farah served two and a half months of the sentence before being released on March 31, 1961. Common Pleas Judge G.H. Birrell granted Farah's freedom in consideration of his good behavior while behind bars.
|The Jungle Inn|
The Farah murder was counted as the fourth in a series of shootings in Mahoning and Trumbull counties dating back just over a year. The first was Joseph "Sandy" Naples, killed along with his girlfriend on the front porch of her home. Joseph Romano was struck by a shotgun blast but survived. He said he could not identify the shooters. "Big John" Schuller was shotgunned to death while fixing a tire on his car at the side of the highway. Authorities determined that the tire had been rigged to go flat. Additional murders of underworld figures would follow in the very near future.
Rumors indicated that the shootings were part of an effort by Cleveland mobsters to take direct control of gambling operations in the Youngstown area.
- "Motion filed by Mike Farah for new trial," Dover OH Daily Reporter, Jan. 6, 1961, p. 12.
- "Warren rackets figure released," Salem OH News, April 1, 1961, p. 8.
- "Around Ohio," Akron OH Beacon Journal, April 1, 1961, p. 19.
- "Ohio mobster slain in own front yard," Pittsburgh Press, June 11, 1961, p. 7.
- "Racketeer Farah slain in Warren," Akron OH Beacon Journal, June 10, 1961, p. 1.
- "Warren racket boss Mike Farah slain by gunmen," Salem OH News, June 10, 1961, p. 1.
- "Youngstown racketeer fatally shot," Chillicothe OH Gazette, June 10, 1961, p. 1.
- "Clues sought in murder of rackets boss," Sandusky OH Register, June 12, 1961, p. 7.
- "Purple gang member quizzed on slayings," Sandusky OH Register, Aug. 1, 1961, p. 1.