Millionaire Turned Murderer George Remus Was Inspiration for The Great Gatsby

One of George Remus’ lavish dinner parties at his Price Hill home. Remus is seated with his wife, Imogene, standing to his right, and his daughter with her arm on Remus’ shoulder. Guests were usually given copies of the dinner party photos. The Delhi Historical Society/Cincinnati.

A Battle Between Husband and Wife

One day, Remus told an inmate that he had left his wife, Imogene, in charge of his assets and she was his Power of Attorney. Unfortunately, for Remus, this inmate had a secret that could ruin him, the inmate was actually an undercover prohibition agent. Once the inmate had received this news, he started an affair with Imogene, who began to fall in love with the secret agent and out of love with her husband.

As Imogene was suing for divorce from Remus, the affair blossomed between herself and the undercover agent. Together, they sold all of Remus’ assets and hid all the money they could so Remus would have no idea where the money was. Imogene then went further and tried to get Remus deported for his illegal actions, but this was not successful. Therefore, she hired a hitman to try to kill Remus, but again, this was unsuccessful.

Finally, Remus was out of prison and anything but pleased with Imogene. Not only did he find out that he was now broke, but Remus had also learned about the hitman and the attempt at deportation; meanwhile, he still had to go to court for the finalization of the divorce. While he was on his way to court for the completion of the separation, Remus had his driver run Imogene’s taxi off the road. Once she left her car and tried to escape on foot, Remus shot her to death. Today, Imogene is said to haunt the location, Eden Park, where she was murdered.

Spring House Gazebo across from Mirror Lake at Eden Park where Imogene’s ghost is said to haunt. Wikipedia.

At the murder trial for Imogene, Remus acted as his own lawyer. Once again, Remus was able to use his legal knowledge to try to get out of prison. This time, it was more successful. In his trial, Remus pled guilty due to the reason of insanity. It only took about 20 minutes for the jury to side with Remus, and instead of being sent to prison, he was sent to the state hospital for the criminally insane. Then Remus turned around and appealed to the state hospital on the grounds that he was no longer insane. He won and only spent about two months in the state hospital.

The End of the King of Bootleggers

After Remus successfully got out of the state hospital in the late 1920s, he once again tried to get into the bootlegging business. However, he had found that it had been taken over by violent gangsters. The millionaire turned murderer then turned to real estate and worked the rest of his life to gain everything back that he had lost through his wife, Imogene. Nevertheless, Remus married for the third time and lived a mostly peaceful life until he suffered a stroke in 1950. He then passed away two years later from natural causes.

Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:
“George Remus (1876-1952)” William A Cook, Immigrant Entrepreneurship. March 2012.
“George Remus: ‘King of the Bootleggers’ During Prohibition” David J. Hanson, Alcohol Problems and Solutions. 2016.
“George Remus: The King of Bootleggers.” Explore Whisky. June 2018.