Sask woman says her family farm was a front for Al Capone
Al Capone infamously ruled Chicago’s crime during prohibition by smuggling and bootlegging liquor into the city. And he might have done it with the help of Saskatchewan.
Joseph Bukowski moved from the United States to a Farm near Weyburn, and he always seemed a little more successful than all of his rural neighbours. At least, that’s how his daughter, Violet Lauder, remembers it.
“I often wondered ‘where did he get all of that money?’ Well, now I know. Bootlegging!” she said.
Lauder is the last member of her family left to share the stories of her dad’s side business. She said he father’s farm was a staging ground for Al Capone’s men to bootleg booze across the border.
"When Al Capone came with his men to take the liquor across we were not allowed outside, us children. I remember that story,” She said. “Why I didn't know but I later found out it was because they partied and they were drinking and shooting up into the air."
Lauder’s colourful family history is being featured in a new documentary, Finding Al. It searches for proof to the many stories connecting Capone to the land of living skies, specifically in Moose Jaw.
“It seems like everybody has an Al Capone story in their closet, so it’s been interesting to work on this film and authenticate some of those stories,” said Kelly-Anne Riess, the film’s director.
For Lauder, there’s proof to her claims. She said dozens of rum jugs were found in their farm house attics, a lot of the sheds on the property were the perfect size to hide a car, and the farm had a very profitable second set of accounting books for the family farm.
Even the family’s next generation says it’s tough to dispute the claims.
“And according to mom every spring grandpa would go down to the states for two weeks. Who he visited and what he did we don't really know,” said Mike Finney, Lauder’s son.
“We’ve got quite a history, haven’t we? It’s true though!” she said laughing.
Lauder never considered her childhood out of the ordinary, but as the new film shows, even a 70 year old connection to Al Capone is something to talk about.