Filed Under Crime

Daniel "Danny" Greene

Daniel "Danny" John Patrick Greene (November 9, 1929 – October 6, 1977) son of John and Irene Greene, suffered from a difficult childhood. His mother passed away due to medical complications shortly after the boy's birth. His father, devastated by his loss, began to drink away his sorrows, placing his son in the care of Parmadale Children's Home until Danny found a permanent home with his paternal grandfather.

In his youth, Daniel dabbled in delinquency, dropped out of high school, and earned himself a reputation as an alley-fighter. As an adult, he seemed to mellow out. In 1956, he married a local waitress and the following year took employment as a stevedore on the banks of Lake Erie. Here he was quickly elected president of the Local 1317 International Longshoremen's Association.

Sometime during this period Greene began to travel a path of illegal activity. On November 13, 1964, Greene was indicted by the federal grand jury on charges of embezzlement and falsifying records. Accused of stealing $11,542.38 in union funds, Daniel Greene stood trial in spring 1966 alongside the union's vice president Leon J. Ponikvar. It only took the twelve jurors five and a half hours to deliberate Greene's fate. With proof that he had deposited 19 grain boat checks into his personal account at the Rockefeller branch of Central National Bank, Greene was found guilty. The ruling however, was overturned in August 1968 because "the Government's cross-examination of Greene about his high living on his union expense account was prejudicial."

In the years following his indictment, Daniel Greene, forbidden to participate in union activity, formed the Cleveland Trade Solid Waste Guild. Chartered by the state in June 1969, the guild was intended to unify the commercial rubbish business in the city of Cleveland. Membership was solely voluntary, but many collectors reported that they joined for fear of being put out of business. In a membership meeting held on June 25th of the same year Danny is quoted as saying "If others don't join we will follow their trucks and take away their 'stops', offer to pick up for less and take away their business at the cheapest price- and knock them out of the box." In July 1971, Greene once again found himself in a legal hotspot, as police noted a connection between organized crime and the violence amongst private rubbish haulers.

Greene's connections with organized crime went beyond the world of waste. In the early 1970s there was a reported 35 homicides linked to explosives, many of which could be linked to Greene or one of his associates. Over the next few years multiple attempts were made on Danny Greene's life until he met his end in a car blast outside of his dentist's office on October 6, 1977.

Images

Daniel "Danny" Greene. Daniel "Danny" Greene, ca. 1962, when Greene was employed as the president of Cleveland's Local 1317 International Longshoremen's Association. During this time Greene and his family lived a comfortable lifestyle which he would be questioned about during his embezzlement trail. Image Courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwarz Library. Division of Special Collections. The Cleveland Memory Project.
Greene under federal investigation Daniel Greene entering the US Attorney's Office in 1964. Indicted on multiple counts of embezzlement and falsifying records, the former Longshoremen president faced up to $50,000 in fines and seventeen years in federal prison. Image Courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwarz Library. Division of Special Collections. The Cleveland Memory Project.
Greene in Court Greene (right) and co-defendant, Longshoremen vice-president Leon Ponikvar (left), entering a federal courtroom during their 1964 trial. While Greene was later convicted, Ponikvar, acquitted on all charges was quoted by the Plain Dealer as saying "Danny was the Boss and I was the worker... I was acquitted and those charges against me were bullshit." Image Courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwarz Library. Division of Special Collections. The Cleveland Memory Project.
Apartment Bombing Aftermath of the May 12th, 1975 bombing of Greene residence at 15805 Waterloo Rd. The bomb exploded just after 4am while Greene (46) and his girlfriend, Collinwood High School senior Denise Schmidt, slept in the building's second story apartment. Both escaped the explosion with minor injuries. William Kiraly was later convicted of the crime. Image Courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwarz Library. Division of Special Collections. The Cleveland Memory Project.
Bomb Attack Survivor Greene was not to be deterred by the 1975 bomb attack that left his home destroyed in the dead of the night. Refusing to move from his Waterloo Rd. location, Green antagonized his enemies further by taunting them on broadcast television. In his usual flamboyant fashion, he announced his address during an evening news interview and invited the would-be assassins to try again. Image Courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwarz Library. Division of Special Collections. The Cleveland Memory Project.
The Blast Site A tremendous car bomb resulted in the death of long-suspected racketeer Daniel "Danny" Greene. The day after his murder, the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote that "Daniel John Patrick Greene had the quiet courtesy of an Irish butler but his shillelagh-bold eyes were those of a muscle man." Image Courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwarz Library. Division of Special Collections. The Cleveland Memory Project.
The Death of Danny Greene Daniel Greene was killed by an assassin's bomb on October 6, 1977. After numerous unsuccessful attempts on his life, Greene met his end in the parking lot of his dentist's office at Brainard Place, Lyndhurst. The Chevrolet Nova in the center of the photograph, laced with explosives, was detonated by remote as Greene was entering his Lincoln (left). Image Courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwarz Library. Division of Special Collections. The Cleveland Memory Project.
Death of the Irishman Emergency personnel loading the remains of Danny Greene. Greene's long-standing underworld accomplice John Nardi had met a similar end a couple of months prior to the October bombing. Police reported that both men had known that they were being hunted. Image Courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwarz Library. Division of Special Collections. The Cleveland Memory Project.

Location

Metadata

Morgan Choffin, “Daniel "Danny" Greene,” Cleveland Historical, accessed May 26, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/401.