Peifer Taps Barker-Karpis for the Big Score
In April 1933, Jack Peifer invited the Barker-Karpis gang to the Hollyhocks club to propose a job. He wanted the gang to kidnap the president of Hamm’s Brewing Company, William Hamm Jr., whom he met at his Hollyhocks club in 1931. Hamm was president of one of only six St. Paul breweries out of the city’s original sixty to survive Prohibition. Hamm’s Brewery successfully back in business when the Cullen-Harrison Act was passed in March of 1933, a step toward officially repealing Prohibition. The Hamms were making money again. Peifer wanted a ransom of $100,000 for the kidnapping. This seems like a small amount for such a high-profile kidnapping, but according to historian Paul Maccabee, the kidnaping was more politically motivated than financial. The gang and their associates retreated to their Idlewild resort to plan the job.