Dennis Griffin — the state investigator turned historian of Las Vegas mobsters and casino-related crime — has died. He was 75 years old and passed away on Monday from lung cancer in Verona, N.Y.
Over his career, he was a prolific author, writing many books, including one work on the true story behind the Martin Scorsese movie “Casino.” That film starred Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone, and Don Rickles.
Griffin’s “The Battle for Las Vegas: The Law vs. The Mob,” appeared in 2006.
He also was the co-author of four books which he wrote with ex-mob figure turned government witness Frank Cullotta.
Denny Griffin and I started ‘Bringing Down Cullotta’ back in August of 2019, shortly after I met with Frank Cullotta for the first time in over 39 years,” David Bowman recalled in a Facebook post appearing on the Las Vegas Mafia History group page. Bowman was a secret witness for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
“Frank contacted Denny the same day we met up again on his Casino Tour and told him who I was and that I was interested in writing a book. I wrote my manuscript and gave it to Denny.”
For six months, Griffin edited and scrutinized the manuscript.
“And he did a fantastic job of using his writing skills and style to capture my personality as I told my story,” Bowman recalled. “I couldn’t have done it without him.”
Also, Ronald Fino, an FBI undercover operative turned writer, said on the same Facebook group page, “We just lost a wonderful friend, a great human being, and fantastic author.”
And Ron Chepesiuk, an author, journalist, and radio host, noted on Facebook how Griffin appeared on his radio show several times.
He was to appear again July 29 to discuss his Sergeant Rust book. Denny was a very smart, likeable, and engaging man,” Chepesiuk said. “We will miss him.”
Griffin also wrote on other law enforcement topics. He also authored fictional mysteries and thrillers.
Griffin was born in 1945 in Rome, N.Y. A Navy veteran, he spent 20 years in law enforcement. In 1994, he retired as director of investigations for the New York State Department of Health.
Two years later, his books began appearing.
Books Were Detailed, Well-Documented
When looking at the totality of his work, Geoff Schumacher, vice president of exhibits and programs at Las Vegas’ Mob Museum, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “They’re detailed, they’re well-documented, and they simply are accurate.
There are plenty of people working within the true crime genre for whom facts are optional. But, with Dennis, he has always focused on telling a good story and telling an accurate story.”
Griffin is survived by his wife, Faith Finster Griffin, two daughters, Margaret Carro and Antoinette Mahoney, his stepchildren, Pamela Ashley and Robert McAree. Another stepdaughter, Kimberly McAree, predeceased him. He is also survived by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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