Meyer Lansky's Daughter, Grandson Seek Riviera Hotel CompensationDecember 11, 2015 1:12 pm
Meyer Lansky, known as the “Mob’s Accountant”, was one of America’s most successful organized crime figure, having used his affiliation with both the Jewish and Italian mafia to develop a gambling empire across the world. He even helped transform the island of Cuba into a gambling destination, and in 1957 built the iconic Riviera Hotel, only to see it seized by the Cuban government after the 1959 revolution.
Meyer Lansky’s hotel was just one of hundreds of other properties which were appropriated by the socialist government at the time, but since Cuba and the United States recently turned a new chapter on their relations, more than 6,000 American are now hoping to one day receive compensation for their confiscated properties, which are estimated to be worth around $10 billion.
Consequently, Meyer Lansky’s heirs are considering filing a compensation claim for the Riviera Hotel, which was built in Havana at a cost of $8 million, and is currently being run as a state-run hotel. The list of heirs includes Meyer Lansky’s daughter, his grandson, Gary Rapoport, 60, as well as Rapoport’s uncle. Commenting on the timing of their claim, Rapoport explained:
“We never filed a claim with the government or hired an attorney earlier because we didn’t think the door for negotiating would ever actually open. Now it is open.”
Whether the Cuban government will consider a Lansky-related claim, however, remains to be seen. Nevertheless, despite being accused of many serious crimes, Meyer Lansky was only ever convicted once of illegal gambling, for which he received a two month sentence in 1953. Lansky eventually died in 1983 aged 80, and is believed to have amassed a $300 million fortune throughout his life, which the FBI believes was hidden in secret bank accounts. Officially, however, Lansky left behind just $37,000 in cash, and in later life told people that he had lost almost all his money in Cuba.