Michael Kenna (1857-1946), First Ward Alderman, was one of Chicago's most powerful and corrupt politicians. With his fellow alderman "Bathhouse" John Coughlin, Kenna ruled the First Ward and its infamous "Levee" district. Short and thin, with a wispy mustache, Kenna was known as "Hinky Dink" or "the Little Fellow".
The "Lords of the Levee" protected madams, bought votes, and bribed their way to great power and influence. Their annual First Ward Balls were attended by the political elite, chiefs of police, as well as thieves, gamblers and prostitutes. About ten thousand tickets were distributed. Waiters each paid $5.00 for the privilege of being allowed to serve - they made their income entirely from the tips.
Big Jim Colosimo rose to power through his connections with Kenna. Ironically, it was Big Jim's eventual successor, Al Capone, who put an end to Kenna's position at the top. Called in to Capone's suite, Kenna was told "we don't want trouble with you... I'm telling you because I like you." Afterwards, a relieved Kenna said, "My God, what could I say? Suppose he had said he was going to take over the organization? What could we do then?"
Kenna lived most of the rest of his life in the Blackstone Hotel. When he died at age 89, he left over $1 million to his family, and set aside $33,000 for a mausoleum. His heirs were only willing to pay for an $85 tombstone.