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George Browne runs against General President William Elliot

Photo caption: International President William C. Elliot of Cincinnati, at the 31st Biennial Convention in 1932.

The Browne era, brief but damaging, began in 1932 when Browne ran against General President William Elliot.  He lost his bid because of strong Eastern local opposition, especially from Locals 1 and 306 in New York.  Though Browne did not defeat Elliot, he was still considered vulnerable because of the 1933 strike.

At the same time, Browne came to the attention of a minor underworld figure, William “Willie” Bioff, associated with the crime gang of Frank Nitti, Al Capone’s successor.

Through Bioff’s influence, George Browne would become involved with Nick Circella, one of Bioff’s associates from the Prohibition.  Circella was a member of the Capone crime syndicate, under Frank Nitti.