CRIME HISTORY - William 'Boss' Tweedbusted for corruption

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Crime,Scott McCabe

On this day, Oct. 27, in 1871, William M. "Boss" Tweed, Democratic leader of Tammany Hall, was arrested after the New York Times exposed his corruption.

Boss Tweed, a commissioner of public works who ruled New York City's government, is remembered as a universal symbol of greed and political corruption.

His fall came after a series of articles accused Tweed of overcharging contractors and lining his own pockets with kickbacks.

As the publicity mounted, Tweed ordered Harper's Weekly to stop publishing cartoons by Thomas Nast, famously complaining, "I don't care so much what the papers say about me. My constituents don't know how to read, but they can't help seeing them damned pictures!"

Tweed was arrested and found guilty of corruption and stealing nearly $200 million. He was sentenced to 12 years behind bars.

Tweed escaped from prison and fled the country. An American in Spain recognized Tweed from one of Nast's cartoons. Tweed was sent back to the United States.

Tweed died in prison in 1878.

-- Scott McCabe

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