Posts Tagged ‘abduction’

Mobsters Kidnapped DC’s Gambling Godfather

February 13, 2023

James A. LaFontaine owned and operated the Maryland Athletic Club, better known as Jimmy’s Place, on the border of Bladensburg, Maryland and the District of Columbia, from the 1920s to the 1940s. It was said to be the biggest illegal gambling casino between Saratoga and Palm Beach. Jimmy’s was purely about gambling, and allowed no booze, women, or guns. It was bare-bones, a big barn of a place, though the kitchen served a pretty good beef stew.

In 1931, “Gentleman Jimmy” was kidnapped near his DC home by members of Philadelphia’s Hoff gang. It ended calmly, and seemed very genteel, but Jimmy Fontaine lost control of his casino to the mob afterwards, while remaining as the frontman.

Mr. LaFontaine died in 1949 at age 81, and is buried in Capitol Hill’s Congressional Cemetery.


“Washington’s Godfather: ‘Gentleman Gambler’ Jimmy Lafontaine,” Callum Cleary, Boundary Stones

“Mr. Jim Made a Million From a Casino Brooking No Booze, Women, or Guns,” Charles Price, Sports Illustrated

“Gamblers Once Thrived in the City, Leonard Hughes, Washington Post

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Taiwan Busts Racing Pigeon Kidnapping Ring

July 14, 2014

Taiwan Busts Racing Pigeon Kidnapping Ring

“Five people have been arrested in northern Taiwan for allegedly kidnapping dozens of racing pigeons for ransom, police said Tuesday. The suspects were accused of setting traps along racing routes to capture the pigeons before demanding up to Tw$10,000 ($333) per bird from their owners in ransom money, the Taipei City police department said.”


Ramos Rescued

November 12, 2011

Ramos Rescued

Kidnapped Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has been rescued from his abductors in Venezuela. There is no truth to the rumor that he was traded for two players to be named later.

Mr. Ramos was staying with his family in Valencia, the third largest city in Venezuela, capital of Carabobo state, and his hometown. He has been spending the Major League Baseball off-season playing for the Aragua Tigers in the Venezuelan Baseball League. Ethnocentric Norteamericanos insist on calling  this “winter baseball” even though it will soon be summer in the Southern Hemisphere.


“Wilson Ramos rescatado con un final feliz (Wilson Ramos rescued with a happy ending),” Prensa Tigres de Aragua


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Alberto Gonzales Goes Nashville

October 20, 2011

Alberto Gonzales Goes Nashville

Nashville’s Belmont University has a new law school, one that opened last summer. It also has a new Distinguished Professor of Law, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The Distinguished Professor is also distinguished by his official endorsement of government torture and kidnapping during his time at the White House and in the Justice Department.