"Dapper" Danny Hogan (ca. 1880 - December 4, 1928) was a charismatic underworld figure and boss of Saint Paul, Minnesota's Irish Mob during Prohibition. Due to his close relationships with the officers of the deeply corrupt St. Paul Police Department, Hogan was able to act as a go between, overseeing the notorious O'Connor System.
Known as the "Smiling Peacemaker" to local police officials, Police Chief John "The Big Fellow" O'Connor of Saint Paul allowed criminals and fugitives to operate in the city as long as they checked in with police, paid a small bribe and promised not to kill, kidnap, or rob within city limits.
Arrival in Saint Paul
Around 1909, he permanently settled in Saint Paul, and turned to organizing major crimes from the sanctuary of the city. He became so closely connected to Saint Paul's political machine that the police not only feared him, but actively protected his associates. The Federal Department of Justice made repeated attempts to prosecute him, but failed to incarcerate him.
Hogan was described by the Justice Department as "one of the most resourceful and keenest criminals" in the nation. He acted as an "ambassador" for Chief O'Connor and the visiting mobsters. Hogan himself owned the Green Lantern saloon on Wabasha Street in Saint Paul, which was also an illegal gambling casino, and became a speakeasy during Prohibition. Hogan was involved in planning armed robberies in the towns surrounding the Twin Cities, and also in money laundering and casino gambling in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area.
On December 4, 1928, Dapper Dan got behind the wheel of his Paige coupe and turned on the ignition. A bomb located beneath the floorboards detonated and blew off his right leg. He slipped into a coma at the hospital and died nine hours after the blast. He was given a funeral worthy of Prohibition-era Chicago and was buried in Calvary Cemetery. His widow, Leila Hogan, was heard to say, "I am sure there will be justice. If Danny had lived, he would have gone on the one leg they left him and taken care of it himself."
Hogan's death was especially notable because it was one of the first instances of death by a car bomb. The most likely culprits in his assassination were rival mob figures.
Although the murder is still considered unsolved, recently declassified FBI files reveal that the most likely person responsible was Harry Sawyer, Hogan's underboss. Sawyer was a gangster known as "Harry Dutch".
According to the FBI files, Sawyer felt that Hogan had cheated him out of his cut from a nearby casino. In addition, Sawyer also resented the fact that Hogan never repaid the $25,000 which Sawyer had contributed to bail Hogan out of prison in 1924. Hogan's death marked the end of an era in Twin Cities crime.
- John Dillinger Slept Here 1995
- Paul Maccabee, John Dillinger Slept Here, page 18.
- Maccabee, Paul. John Dillinger Slept Here. Saint Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1995.