Belle Isle Blog knows this is a little outside our neighborhood, and the connection is a tiny reach — but it’s too interesting to resist.
There is a legend we’ve previously reported — unproven, but in the history books — that when Herbert Hoover was president, he pointed the Internal Revenue Service at gangster Al Capone because Capone upstaged him when Hoover visited Belle Isle in 1929.
There are two different versions of the story, neither confirmed, both delicious:
From the Mafia Encyclopedia:
It was now a matter of folklore inside the underworld that the president railroaded Scarface Al to prison because of a personal vendetta. One allegedly dates to shortly after Hoover won the 1928 contest against Al Smith and vacationed at the J.C. Penney estate on Belle Isle in Florida, not far from the Capone compound on Palm Island. The tale goes that there was so much shouting, females crying, and shooting during the night from the Capone retreat that Hoover could not sleep. His puritanical ire aroused, Hoover decided then and there to destroy the famous gangster when he took office.
And there is this account on About. com:
Herbert Hoover vacationed at the J.C. Penney estate on Belle Isle in 1928. It is rumored that Hoover’s grudge with Al Capone started in Florida. There are two versions of the story circulating. First, the Capone compound was not far away from the Penney estate and the tale goes that there was so much shouting and shooting during the night from the Capone retreat that Hoover couldn’t sleep. His ire aroused, Hoover decided then and there to destroy the famous gangster when he took office. The second tale describes an enraged Herbert Hoover. The president-elect watched in dismay as a drove of reporters suddenly abandoned him in a Miami lobby when a more important person strolled in. That person? Al Capone.
All of that is an excuse to share this video by Chuck Farris, which takes you inside the Capone compound as it looks today. Awesome.
Oh, and the house is for sale for $9.95 million.