Leisure was born in Detroit, Michigan, his mother was Lebanese and his father a Sicilian. Leisure was an associate of the St. Louis crime family and later started his own criminal organization, which became known as the Lebanese Mafia. His father was a hard worker, and with time opened Lesiure's, an Italian-Lebanese restaurant, in the 1920s. Leisure was a business agent for Local 42 and part owner of LN & P Company, a towing company owned by the Leisure family
On September 17, 1980, a well known St. Louis mobster and Leisure gang rival by the name of Jimmy Michaels (age 75), the leader of a rival faction within the Lebanese- Syrian mafia, was killed by a car bomb as he was driving on an interstate on his way home. Paul Leisure and his gang were the main suspects. Then on August 11, 1981, as Leisure sat behind the wheel of his 1979 Cadillac outside his home a bomb was detonated, leaving him seriously injured. The ensuing blast cost him his right leg and left foot. Investigators believed it was retaliation for the murder of Michaels the year before. A gang war ensued, resulting in many deaths on both sides between the Leisure faction and the Flynn- Michaels faction, now led by labor racketeer Raymond Flynn, over control of labor racketeering and other illegal activities.
On March 24, 1982 James A. Michaels III, a grandson of Jimmy Michaels, and Milton Russell Schepp, a former St. George, Missouri police chief, were charged with the Paul Leisure car bombing. Michaels was convicted of the Leisure bombing by a federal jury on October 19, 1982. He was sentenced to five years in prison.
On May 1, 1985 Paul and David Leisure were sentenced to 55 years in prison. The sentence consisted of 20 years for conspiracy, 20 years for racketeering, 5 years for obstruction of justice, and 10 years for manufacturing the bombs.
Leisure died at a federal prison hospital in Springfield, Missouri on July 17, 2000 at age 56.