In 1919, Daniel Patrick “Dan” O’Connell, a brick layer who dropped out of school, was elected County Assessor of Albany, NY. He became chairman of the Democratic Committee and was instrumental in unseating the Republican Party that had held Albany for 20 years. As O’Connell family’s power grew, their connections ran to the governor’s office and beyond. But Dan’s ability to influence elections came with strings.
In what may have been a case of mistaken identity, mobsters kidnapped O’Connell’s nephew, John, and demanded $250,000 ransom.
But the crime wasn’t that simple.
To finance their kidnapping, the mobsters had robbed the Rensselaer County Bank, leaving behind a dead cop and a town set on revenge.
Suspects kept turning up dead.
And when the case finally went to trial, the powerful O’Connell family handpicked the foreman of the jury.
That foreman was my grandfather.