Mark Funkhouser's first seven months as mayor may have been controversial, but at least no one has suggested that he used mob ties to rig the vote. Historically, though, Kansas City has been an intersection of the mob and politics. Prairie Village native Frank R. Hayde
will explain why the town always comes up in movies such as Casino
when he reads today from his new book, The Mafia and the Machine: The Story of the Kansas City Mob
. Hayde tells the story of organized crime's role in local politics and such national organizations as the Democratic Party and the Teamsters Union, recounting stories about the friendship between boss Tom Pendergast and organized-crime figure Johnny Lazia as well as the rise of the Civella brothers three decades later. Even the Kansas City Chiefs owe something to the syndicate, according to Hayde. Learn how to steal an election tonight at 7 at the Corinth Branch of the Johnson County Library
, (8011 Mission Road in Prairie Village, 913-967-8650). The reading is free and open to the public.
Thu., Dec. 20, 7 p.m., 2007