Boston Question: mayor james curley: How Corrupt was He?

I was reading a biograpgy of Curley: he was a Boston legend, having served for many years as mayor 9he was at other times a MA governor, and representative in Congress). The concensus seems to be that curley was very corrupt-the claim was made that (in his later terms), he took 5% off the top of all city contracts. My question; was this level of curruption SOP in most American cities?
People I talk to (whoived i n the Curley era) tell me that you either loved or hated the guy (if you loved him, chances are you had a relative who got a city job , courtesy of Curley). If hated, you saw the massive corruption that went on. My question: did curley set a record for corruption, or was he a run of the mill corrupt politician, of a type (like the Jimmy Walker (NYC), or Daley (Chicago) variety?

It’s not SOP, no. Some mayors or city councils manage it for a while, but usually they have to keep any corruption small and very under the table - advantageous deals or information sharing, that kind of thing. Some of the more legendary ones include Tamany Hall, New York, which basically bought and sold city government for decades. That was a long time ago.

My son just did a report on Boss Tweed in NYC in the 1800s. I was helping him find historic newspaper cites, etc.

They’re not sure of the exact amount stolen, but estimated between 40-200 million. That’s in 1860s dollars! :eek:

I love my city. Try looking up the foundation of the Fire Department and the NYPD some time. You think there are troubles now? Hell, we’ve had cannons fired down 6th Avenue at some points. You could still see the marks till the 1980s.

And I’m not even going to get into the pre-British government. Well. Except for that one who went around in ladies dresses and would just walk into people’s houses and take their stuff because it appealed to him.

That Curley was pretty corrupt, even by the urban political standards of the day, has always been my impression. The novel The Last Hurrah was inspired by, if not based on, him: