Monday, April 4, 2022

Myron "Mikey" Selik--Junior Purple Gang Alumnus

Myron "Mikey" Selik and Harry "H.F." Fleisher in Jackson Prison.

Myron "Mikey" Selik was born November 16, 1912. He reached adulthood the same year Prohibiton ended which threw the rackets into a state of confusion. Drug trafficking, gambling, and labor racketeering were the primary money earners for organized crime now, but Selik seems to have been most involved with burglary and extortion. He was mentored by Harry Fleisher--one of the original Purple Gang members.

In 1944, Republican party boss Frank McKay and some underworld Detroit gangsters wanted Michigan State Senator Warren G. Hooper killed. Hooper was scheduled to testify before a grand jury about graft payouts to legislators for voting against gambling reform in the horseracing industry. Organized crime stood to lose lots of money.

Senator Warren G. Hooper  

Senator Hooper confessed under oath to Ingham County Prosecutors that he had accepted a $500 bribe to vote against a bill designed to protect against cheating in the horseracing industry. In exchange for immunity, he was willing to testify before a Michigan grand jury.

Only forty years old, Hooper was murdered at about 4:30 in the afternoon on January 11, 1945 when his car was run off the road on Highway 99 while he was driving home to Albion from the state capitol in Lansing. Hooper was shot in the head three times and his car was burning when the Michigan State Police arrived on the scene. A witness came forward saying he saw a small man looking into Hooper's car when he drove by. Selik was 5'/6.5" tall and 130 pounds.

Hooper's hat with bullet holes.

Hooper's body was taken from the car by two passing motorists who threw snow on his smoldering clothes and on the inside of the car to dampen the fire. From examining the crime scene and Hooper's wounds, investigators determined that Hooper was shot at close range by someone in the car with him. The car was not torched. The fire was started by a lit cigarette the senator was smoking when he was shot. Detectives noted small footprints in the snow.

Ingham County and Michigan State Police were clueless about who murdered Hooper until there was a break in the case. Sam "Sammy A" Abramowitz was out on parole for a robbery conviction. When he was implicated in the assassination plot, he plea bargained with the Ingham County prosecutor and turned informant.

Abramowitz did not know who pulled the trigger, but he did confess before a grand jury that four men tried to recruit him to participate in the hit for $500. The four men were Harry and Sammy Fleisher, original Purple Gang members; Pete Mahoney, an associate who just happened to be there; and Myron "Mikey" Selik, Junior Purple Gang member. The conversation took place at O'Larry's Bar on Dexter Avenue in Detroit--a known underworld hangout.

The men were convicted of conspiracy to murder Senator Hooper and sentenced to five years in prison. Mikey Selik and Harry Fleisher were also charged and convicted of armed robbery of the Aristocrat Club--a Pontiac, Michigan gambling resort they were shaking down for protection money. Both men were sentenced to 25 to 50 years on the robbery rap. After their appeal was denied, Harry Fleisher and Mikey Selik skipped town in 1947. They were at large for a couple of years.

Selik used the alias Max Green and went underground in New York City. Harry Fleisher traveled with a woman not his wife, under the assumed names of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Goldwyn of Toledo, Ohio. They were sunning themselves on the beach in Pompano, Florida when the FBI caught up with him on January 18, 1950. A year later on February 1, 1951, Max Green (38)--alias for Myron Selik--was arrested with three other men in an unsuccessful $20,000 fur and jewelry robbery in the Bronx, New York. Both Fleisher and Selik were extradited to Michigan to serve their prison sentences.

When released, Harry Fleisher went straight and became a foreman in a Detroit steel warehouse. Fleisher died in 1978 at the age of seventy-five. Myron Selik is believed to have returned to the gambling rackets and ran a bookmaking operation. Selik died on August 7, 1996 at the age of eighty-three.

More on Harry Fleisher