Suzanne Gollin: Family History

Daughter of reputed mobster exercises influence in world of liberal philanthropy
James, Suzanne Gollin / Facebook

James, Suzanne Gollin / Facebook

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Suzanne Gollin is the only child of Morris Barney “Moe” Dalitz, a reputed mobster who helped build old Las Vegas.

She and her husband are also heavily involved with the Democracy Alliance, a shadowy organization that pumps money into liberal nonprofits and Democratic Super PACs.

“[Dalitz] was one of the most powerful Jewish racketeers in Cleveland and the country,” said mob expert and author of To Kill the Irishman: The War That Crippled the Mafia, Rick Porrello.

Dalitz got his start as a Depression-era bootlegger, later heading up several illegal casino operations in Ohio and Kentucky before helping infamous mobster Bugsy Siegel open up shop in Las Vegas.

“As years went by, Dalitz found less of a need for violence; they went straight,” Porrello said. “But these guys were just as violent during prohibition, perfectly capable of violence and murder.”

In his later years, Dalitz became a prominent real estate investor and casino magnate, taking more than $200 million from infamous union boss Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters Union to help finance his Desert Inn according to Dan E. Moldea, author of Interference: How Organized Crime Influences Professional Football.

Dalitz developed a knack for charity late in life, financing multi-million dollar hospitals, among other humanitarian missions. His daughter and her husband make $125,000 per year issuing grants to a variety of leftwing causes from the $4 million Angelica Foundation, which she founded in 1994.

“She’s not building hospitals like [Dalitz] was, she’s spending the money to legalize drugs,” said a source familiar with Suzanne Gollin’s activities.

Suzanne and her investment banker husband, James Gollin, pump money into a variety of causes, including the Drug Policy Alliance headed by Democracy Alliance member Marsha Rosenbaum and the Tides Foundation, which helps fund a number of anti-war and radical environmental groups. Tides received more than 85 percent of the foundation’s grants in 2010, according to its most recent IRS filings.

The Angelica Foundation made nearly $435,000 in 2010—$250,000 of which came from hedge fund billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

The Gollins are heavily involved in other Soros efforts such as the Democracy Alliance, which Soros co-founded.

James Gollin is a prominent environmentalist and Alliance board member. He made his fortune as an investment banker before becoming president of the Rainforest Action Network (RAN). RAN pressures companies, including Home Depot, logging outfit Boise, and Citibank, to withdraw from logging operations in old growth forests.

Anna Hawken McKay, the wife of Democracy Alliance chairman Rob McKay, sits on the board of RAN.

Gollin’s most prominent advocacy comes through the Alliance, however. As a board member, he helps select which groups receive portions of members’ $200,000 annual contribution pledges.

The Alliance is increasingly dedicated to President Barack Obama’s reelection efforts, giving to liberal powerhouses such as the Center for American Progress, Media Matters, and Democratic Super PACs including Priorities USA.

The Gollins have contributed more than $60,000 to Democratic candidates and groups since 2008, including $11,000 to the Obama campaign. Their advocacy has won the ear of the administration; the power couple has visited the White House 10 times since Obama took office.

Neither the couple nor the Democracy Alliance returned requests for comment.