GUILD OF AMERICA UNION
Research By: Dr. Michael Sunstar, D.D.
INTRODUCTION OF EDDIE RIO ASSOCIATES
PENNY “BLONDIE” SINGLETON VERSUS EDDIE RIO AS AGVA EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT 1975
THE MAFIA PROBLEMS INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF AGVA
MILDRED LA SALLE – EDDIE RIO’S FIRST WIFE
FREDERICK O’NEAL – EDDIE RIO’S AGVA UNION RIVAL
DANNY THOMAS – General President Of 1975 AGVA
MILTON BERLE – General 1st Vice President Of 1975 AGVA
DEBBIE REYNOLDS – General 2nd Vice President of 1975 AGVA
JACK HALEY – Executive Vice President Of AGVA 1975
JAN MURRAY – General 3rd Vice President of 1975 AGVA
HOW CELEBRITIES GO BANKRUPT
THE JOEY BISHOP SHOW – EDDIE RIO PRODUCES, MANAGES, BOOKS THE FIRST GENERATION STARS OF HOLLYWOOD PRODUCTIONS
THE VAUDEVILLE NIGHTCLUB SCENE
THE RAT PACK
BILLY BARTY – SECRETARY TREASURER OF EDDIE RIO’S VARIETY ENTERTAINERS GUILD OF AMERICA [VEGA]
MARTHA RAYE – ADVISORY BOARD OF RIO’S VEGA
MYRON COHEN – ADVISORY BOARD OF RIO’S VEGA
MARGIE COATE – ADVISORY BOARD OF RIO’S VEGA
NICK LUCAS – ADVISORY BOARD OF RIO’S VEGA
MICKEY ROONEY – FRIEND OF EDDIE RIO
RITA CONDE – ADVISORY BOARD OF RIO’S VEGA
BOB HOPE – EDDIE RIO’S GOLFING AND FISHING BUDDY
MY COUSIN TYRONE DATED ED ASNER’S DAUGHTER, KATIE ASNER
SAMMY DAVIS JUNIOR
SUNSTAR’S HOLLYWOOD CONCLUSION
SEE MY BOOK THREAD ENTITLED:
IN THE AFTERMATH OF JACK RUBY CALLS TO AGVA, TEAMSTER EDDIE RIO GETS OUSTED FROM THE AMERICAN GUILD OF VARIETY ARTISTS AND FORMS THE VARIETY ENTERTAINERS GUILD OF AMERICA
The chapters in this volume go over the names mentioned in the Volume above. These people were friends and associates and affiliates of my Uncle Eddie. He knew them all personally and had been friends with many of them, until the “Teamster” scandal arose when Penny Singleton ran against him. The same people on Frederick O’Neal’s list, who had known Eddie personally, were some of the architects of Vaudeville culture in First Generation Hollywood.
These people owe my Uncle a debt of gratitude and appreciation for what he tried to accomplish. Most of my Uncle Eddie’s friends are all dead. A lot of them passed away this past decade.
This volume does mean something to me. To me, this volume is another Gospel Revelation of GOD versus MONEY in the Matthew 6 context: YOU CAN’T SERVE BOTH GOD AND MONEY. But more than Biblical lessons, it helps me to understand many things that happened throughout my lifetime that I can’t explain in words.
Eddie Rio was a good man with a good heart, full of laughter, full of comedy, full of life, energy, and enthusiasm, until Liberace and some of the Hollywood elites turned against him in the aftermath of the Jack Ruby calls to AGVA.
Jack Ruby’s phone calls to AGVA launched a huge government investigation into AGVA’s financial affairs, which included Italian mafia money laundering. Although Penny Singleton accused my Uncle of being a “Teamster” and took up residence at a “Teamster’s Union” address in Los Angeles County, does not mean that Eddie was a member of the mafia or a mafia Teamster – although he did have Teamster connections to help him fund VEGA. The fued between Penny Singleton and Eddie Rio had to do with her being voted as Executive Secretary of AGVA and my Uncle, upset with how AGVA corruption was ruining people’s lives, intended to form his own union. Details are sketchy as to what exactly happened to VEGA – did it close down or continue under another name? I can’t find information on his wife: MILDRED LA SALLE, nor can I find information on what happened to VEGA. The only reference documents I was able to acquire were the AGVA files. From these files I could see my Uncle Eddie’s affiliates, associates, and vaudevillian entertainers who made Hollywood successful. I have compiled research from the Singleton/O’Neal letterheads, as well as the VEGA document showing my Uncle as the President of VEGA.
This research volume is only a background sketch of the people Eddie Rio was affiliated with, either in a business partnership or a friendship or both. Eddie Rio is part of my family history because my dad’s sister was married to him and had two wonderful children through him, whom I love dearly. I am just so proud of my cousins for what they have accomplished on their own and very proud of my dad’s sister.
My dad’s sister is compiling Rio tapes and notes that he wanted her to write down after his death and only she will be able to transcribe some information about Eddie’s life.
In my other title, I published AGVA documents that were relative to my Uncle Eddie Rio. Each document has a reference of AGVA Presidents & Vice Presidents that my Uncle knew personally and after the Jack Ruby phone calls, AGVA was being investigated for MOB connections. It is apparent from one of the Penny Singleton letters that my Uncle Eddie had taken residence at a Teamster’s Office when he chose to form a new rival union during the disputes that Penny brought. Celebreties chose sides and this volume explores the people behind the Singleton documents during her dispute with Eddie Rio.
SOURCE: LIBERACE: AN AMERICAN BOY:
By Darden Asbury Pyron – Pages 207 - 211
In 1948 when he had bought the house on Camellia Street, the Rio family had been his neighbors across the way at 4209. Eddie, the father, headed the L.A. office of the American Guild of Variety Artists. He had been a professional dancer before that. His wife had been a Chicago blues singer who went by the professional name of Mildred La Salle. Born in 1931, the same year as Rudy Liberace, Joanne, their daughter, was sixteen when Liberace moved in across the street. With dark hair and striking eyes, she was a beautiful young woman who later – and appropriately – doubled for Elizabeth Taylor in movies. Although the new neighbor did not pay much attention to her, she professed to having noticed him both at his home and walking his dog on the street. They also encountered each other at the church where the Liberace and Rio families both attended mass.
In 1953, Liberace won national fame and abandoned his Camellia street address for Valley Vista Boulevard. The Rios moved the same year. In the fall of the following year, however, the couple met again. Joanne Rio was performing as part of the chorus at the Hollywood Night Club LE MOULIN ROUGE; Lee was in the audience. She recognized her old neighbor at a front row table and sent him a note. He invited her over and recognized the now beautiful woman who had been the girl on his block.
The celebrity and the chorus girl began courting. While they attended functions at fancy clubs, most of their dates were low key. After a second performance at the Hollywood Bowl, she related, Liberace held a reception at his home and had given her a place of honor next to his mother. The next evening, Rio returned the pianist’s hospitality with a dinner party that included not only the Rio family and Liberace but Danny Thomas and his wife, Rosemarie, Virginia Mayo, and Michael O’Shea. Liberace also made a place for the young beauty on the payroll of THE LIBERACE SHOW.
Their association launched a flurry of media speculation about their intentions. By early October, the showman himself was fueling the rumors of marriage. In a news release on the 6th he disclosed plans to wed after fulfilling a year’s worth of previous engagements and obligations.
“Current concert, TV and film commitments would keep him too busy for a happy home life,” journalists repeated him. “When I get married I don’t want my career to interfere with my marriage like those Hollywood couples such as Marylyn and Joe,” Liberace said. “I want to give my marriage the full Catholic treatment. It must be a lasting thing.” Religion figured in Rio’s responses to her boyfriend, too: ‘If it is God’s Will that Lee and I get married then we will. I’m leaving everything in God’s hands,” she told another reporter. Whatever God’s Will may have been, his family’s wishes seemed clear, at least in Liberace’s mind. “There was a lot of sideline cheering from both our families trying to push things too fast.”
As he later revealed, the Rios actually opposed the union; the enthusiasm had clearly stemmed from the Liberaces rather from her people, and “his people” were, chiefly, Frances Z. Casadonte.
Soon after his October 6 press release, the entertainer took off on a five-week concert tour. On October 13, 14, and 15, a series of three articles appeared under Joanne Rio’s name in the Los Angeles Mirror about her romance with the pianist. When he returned form his tour, he announced publicly the essays “embarrassed” him. She replied in kind, “I’m the one who’s embarrassed. I just agreed to the article because I believed it would help Lee,” she insisted. “Every word of it was okayed by Lee’s press agent and if there was anything he didn’t like, he should have cut it out then and not waited until it was in print to kick.” The romance, she fumed, “was just a lot of publicity, and it looks like I got caught right in the middle of it.” The Rio-Liberace romance was history.
Joanne Rio vanished from Liberace’s life, but he did mention her in his auto-biography two decades later. His references opened up the whole affair again, with Rio, now Mrs. David Barr, suing the entertainer. Her suit, in consequence, elicited still more revelations about their relationship, her old suitor, and how his entourage worked. For one thing it emphasized Seymour Heller’s part in the affair, and his role in managing Liberace’s image in general. According to the depositions, Hellen had overseen the romance, instructing Rio on how to answer the reporter’s questions, for example. He had also sanctioned the three-part MIRROR article.
If the entertainer was unhappy with what was printed, he held his agent at least partially culpable. Contemporary newspaper articles limned the showman’s irritation. “Seymour, this is all your fault and I’m going to see to it that you are out of business in six months,” one of them quoted him. In a role he would play again, Heller also became the hit man for straightening out the mess.
Joanne Barr’s suit also reopened the issue of the performer’s sexuality. The AUTO-BIOGRAPHY made her hysterical, she warranted: she kept crying to herself, she told her interrogators, “Why was he degrading me to justify why he never got married? Why was he lying about me?”
Some of her friends and associates, she said, assumed the answers, “Was he a homosexual? Did you go to bed with him?” The case also allowed Liberace to give his version of the romance too, and his testimony played at the edge of the sexual issue, even while suggesting other values that influenced his career: As far as I’m concerned, Joanne Rio does not exist because this is something that happened twenty years ago. We all agreed it was like a ghost coming out of the past to haunt me….As I remember it, she was a very pretty girl, a very nice girl. I liked her very much. I wanted to marry her and that is exactly what I said in my book. The reason I didn’t marry her was because of these goddamn articles and her father screaming at me and calling me all kinds of names. I suddenly realized I had found out in the nick of time that was all going to be sunshine and roses.”
The record is silent about the sources of Eddie Rio’s objections, but one clue to them might be in what Rio’s father was “screaming” about and what kinds of “names” he was calling him. Bob Thomas, who interviewed , Eddie Rio, reconstructed what transpired in the old hoofer’s exchanges with the pianist.
Rio was skeptical from the outset about the match and tried to discourage his daughter. His doubts were confirmed later when he received information about “an incident involving Liberace that had the makings of a scandal but had been hushed up.” After advising his daughter about the affair, Rio then counseled the pianist, “The marriage wouldn’t work,” he told him, “and you know in our church there is no divorce.” After hearing all this, according to Thomas, Liberace wept softly, accepted Rio’s opinion, put marriage out of his mind, and indeed, put the entire affair out of his head, until he mentioned it in his auto-biography, which conjured these ghosts from the past. Although Liberace considered the suit stupid, it remained alive for almost six years until the showman finally settled out of court for a “substantial amount of money” around 1979.
Was Liberace serious about the romance? Although Rio concluded that the performer was using her as a cover, the affair resembled nothing that happened before or after in Liberace’s history. Like other gay Hollywood celebrities he did find women who provided date material; the queenly old Mae West, the trans-sexual Christine Jorgenson, or the aging ice skating queen Sonja Henie. He compared his relationship with Henie to scenes from the Gloria Swanson film, Sunset Boulevard—hardly a proper cover story for a normal, lusty man.
Young and fresh, Joanne Rio differed completely from these other women. Perhaps in her case Liberace was indeed flirting with the idea of marriage and family. Beyond such circumstantial evidence of the affair’s seriousness, the breakup seemed to have left some psychic residue. Only a few weeks after the exchange with Eddie Rio, the star suffered from what his physician described as a heart strain. The doctor prescribed rest and diet change, and the pianist went into a two-month seclusion.
Up to now, ever since he recovered from the illnesses of his early childhood, Liberace’s health had remained phenomenally good. Until thirty-five years later, when he contracted AIDS and died, this was one of the very few bouts of illness of any kind that he had suffered. Nor has he ever used illness as an excuse or cover for anything before. Even when he was dying, he refused to acknowledge illness. Yet, in this season, he went into a two-month seclusion on the basis of a doctor’s recommendation, his brother said. His mother had her own announcement about the break in her son’s routine: “He has been giving so many concerts, working and traveling so much without a vacation,” she explained, “It has nothing to do with Joanne Rio.”
It might have been that Liberace did play with the idea of wedding Joanne Rio, but other evidence sustains Rio’s notion that the relationship was another publicity ploy.
By the time he was thirty-one, his press agents had already started to become concerned about popular perceptions of his bachelorhood. As early as 1951, they generated publicity releases with headlines like, “Liberace Gives a Few Tips On Wooing Women.” Rio’s ghostwritten, Heller checked article in the Los Angeles Mirror—not to mention Rio herself—could be seen as part of a similar campaign; it developed Liberace’s image not merely as a romancer but as a certain kind of lover-gentleman; he was “the perfect all around man any woman would be thrilled to be with,” the article ran. “He’s so considerate on dates…He never forgets the little things that women love. He brings me orchids. He lights my cigarettes and opens doors. He makes you feel that when you are with him, well, you really are with him.”
The publicity played the same angle in an article entitled: MATURE WOMEN ARE BEST: TV’S TOP PIANIST REVEALS WHAT KIND OF WOMAN HE’D MARRY,” which appeared in CORONER, the popular women’s magazine. It appeared, perhaps not coincidentally, right after the Rio affair’s conclusions.
Scott Thorson testified flatly that Joanne Rio was nothing more than cover for Liberace’s sexual inversion. “The problem was not that he didn’t like her, it was that he still loved men,” the boyfriend argued. “Lee told me he never planned to walk down the aisle, with Joanne or anyone else. His engagement served to squelch the rumors about his sexuality—period!” Thorson’s view, not withstanding, neither the engagement nor its conclusion ended the gossip at all. On the contrary, the rumors actually grew louder after, and in part because of, the Rio romance. They had been only whispers before Joanne Rio; after he dumped the beautiful young woman from Camellia Street, the hearsay, began to filter into the press, and the showman’s homosexuality became a furiously guarded open secret that shadowed his career and his public persona in the late fifties. It offered the greatest trials—both literally and figuratively—in the darkest years of his eclipse.
It was perhaps coincidental—and then, again, perhaps it was not—that in the couple of weeks just before the Joanne Rio romance hit the papers, a Hollywood scandal sheet printed the first account Lee Liberace’s homosexuality. The pianist began dating Rio in September 1954. The article in RAVE had appeared the preceding August. “Don’t Call Him Master,” begins with a vicious review of The Liberace Show, comparing it to the Cherry Sisters, a vaudeville act which sang behind wire netting to avoid being hit by flying objects thrown by the audience.
PENNY “BLONDIE” SINGLETON VERSUS EDDIE RIO AS AGVA EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT
Penny Singleton played the role of Blondie in 28 films and on the radio between 1938 and 1950. The Blondie and Dagwood movies were based on the famous comic strip by Chic Young. Later, Ms. Singleton became the first woman President of an AFL-CIO-affiliated union, AGVA, the American Guild of Variety Artists.
In 1969, she was elected president of AGVA (American Guild of Variety Artists). In 1974, she received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from St. John's University. All this, plus she was the first woman president of an AFL-CIO union.
Penny Singleton took on an entirely new role in the 1960s when she was elected vice president of the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA), a performers' union. Entertainment workers in those days of daily live performances were exploited by the theaters, and often put in seven-day weeks with no allowed sick days. Performers' pay was docked if they missed a performance, no matter what the reason. Penny Singleton was adamant that producers and club owners making a profit from variety artists’ work be classified as employers, and pay social security and unemployment compensation, as well as contribute to pension plans -- something they had never done before. In New York, the union had been controlled by members of the organized crime families who stole the union's money and did nothing for the workers' welfare. Penny was determined to drive out the Mafia and she succeeded, but not without some personal danger.
It is also possible that Ruby was dealing with an organization fraught with incompetence and corruption. Certainly AGVA's internal problems in 1963 did not improve Ruby's plight. Neither did the possible corruption within AGVA. Palmer stated that dishonesty pervaded the upper echelon of the union,(976) and others have described AGVA as having "racketeer" ]inks(977) and being associated with "smalltime hoodlumism."(978) Penny Singleton, the current president of AGVA and an individual involved in the 1963 power struggle, described the situation then as "abominable" and stated that the union was completely corrupt. (979)
Just before Kennedy was assassinated on 22nd November 1963, Dallas, Texas nightclub owner Jack Ruby made contact with Marcello, and Tampa, Florida boss Santo Trafficante, about a labor problem he was having with the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA).
After the assassination of Kennedy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated Marcello. They came to the conclusion that Marcello was not involved in the assassination. On the other hand, they also said that they, "....did not believe Carlos Marcello was a significant organized crime figure," and that Marcello earned his living, "....as a tomato salesman and real estate investor." As a result of this investigation, the Warren Commission concluded that there was no direct link between Ruby and Marcello.
In 1966, Marcello was arrested in New York City after having met with the National Commission. The meeting was reportedly called because Marcello's leadership was being challenged by Trafficante Jr. and Anthony Carollo, the son of Marcello's predecessor as boss of the New Orleans Syndicate. The Commission had reportedly ruled in Marcello's favor just before the police burst in.
Marcello was then charged with consorting with known felons. After a long, drawn-out legal battle, Marcello was convicted of assaulting an FBI agent whom he had punched in the face on his return to Louisiana. Sentenced to two years in prison, he served less than six months, and was released on 12 March 1971.
G. Robert Blakey, Chief Counsel and Staff Director to the House Select Committee on Assassinations, published, "The Plot to Kill the President" in 1981. In the book, Blakey argues that there was a conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy. Blakey believes that Lee Harvey Oswald was involved but believes that there was at least one gunman firing from the Grassy Knoll. Blakey came to the conclusion that Marcello, Trafficante, Jr., along with Chicago Outfit boss Salvatore "Sam," "Mooney" Giancana were complicit in planning the assassination.
On January 14, 1992, a New York Post story claimed Marcello, Trafficante, Jr., and Jimmy Hoffa had all been involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. Frank Ragano was quoted as saying that at the beginning of 1963, Hoffa had told him to take a message to Trafficante and Marcello concerning a plan to kill Kennedy. When the meeting took place at the Royal Orleans Hotel, Ragano told the men: "You won't believe what Hoffa wants me to tell you. Jimmy wants you to kill the President." He reported that both men gave the impression that they intended to carry out this order.
The Official Newsletter of the University of Louisville Libraries
Vol. 6, No. 11 ~ December 1991
"The Owl of Minerva takes flight only as the dusk beings to fall" ~Hegel
Many bizarre events occurred at New York's Radio City Music Hall, both in front of and behind the great gold curtain. I worked there off and on for ten years during the 60s and held the dubious distinction of having once worked for an entire year of 365 consecutive days without missing a single performance, of which there were more than 1500. In those days the performers worked seven days per week, giving four shows per day during the Christmas and Easter seasons. It became a home away from home, and we had our own cafeteria, infirmary, dressing rooms and, of course, movie-preview rooms where we saw new films during our break periods between shows.
When a new show was being staged, we arrived at 4:00 A.M. to take advantage of the facilities before the movie crowds arrived at 10:00 A.M., and got home at 11:00 P.M. after the day's work. There was no such thing as a swing-shift, a six-day week, or sick leave. If you missed a performance for any reason, your paycheck was docked. And if you were featured in any special routines (as I often was) you were catapulted into a higher income bracket which netted you less "take-home pay" than ordinary choristers got.
But all this changed with Penny Singleton, the famous "Blondie" of the movies, who got herself elected Vice-President of AGVA (the performing union for variety artists), and set out to rectify working conditions for the Music Hall singers, Rockettes, and Corps de Ballet. Before her advent, the Mafia had run the union and lined their own pockets with the proceeds. Penny Singleton discovered vast files of unanswered letters when she took office. Her predecessors had held up all incoming mail to a strong overhead light. If there was a check inside for membership dues or residuals, it was immediately opened and the check cashed. All other letters were ignored. With this money, the Mafia built a large estate on Long Island where they held "receptions" which were tax-deductible.
Pulling no punches, Singleton declared open warfare on these underhanded tactics, vowing to "clean up the union or perish."
Her first step was to wade into the sea of unanswered mail, and then to send a letter to the Mafia demanding an accounting for every dime spent from union funds. Her reply from the Mafia was swift and to the point. It told her to "cease all investigations" or she would find herself at the bottom of the East River in a pair of cement shoes. Undaunted, she submitted the letter to the New York Times for publication and then wired the Mafia the following message: "Now the world knows. Come and get me!" It worked. The management at Radio City, however, refused to negotiate better working conditions for its performers, so in 1968 we all gathered to vote on whether or not to go on strike. After all, we were still being paid the minimum scale inaugurated in 1933 when the Music Hall was built, and there had never been a strike in its entire history. We voted "yea" and set up a strike headquarters at the Wellington Hotel on Sixth Avenue near Central Park. Louise Thompson became our strike captain. She was also captain of the Rockettes, and a delightful and efficient organizer.
On that far-off day when the Music Hall was built in the heart of the Great Depression, Coe Glade and Titta Ruffo had opened the first stage show with excerpts from Carmen. Over the years, such distinguished singers as Jan Peerce, Leonard Warren and Robert Merrill had graced its stage. The "Flying Walendas" came with their breathtaking trapeze act; Joyce Kuoko, the "Baby Ballerina," performed endless pirouettes to appreciative audiences; contortionist Mary Beth Olds sat on her own head to groans of disbelief; and first-rate composers like Ferde Grofe wrote immortal music for the big Leon Leonidoff extravaganzas. Young acting hopefuls like Gregory Peck were Music Hall ushers. The "Rockettes" became a household word. Their founder and trainer, Russell Market sold the copyright to their name for one million dollars when the Music Hall went on strike.
In some ways, we all felt it was the beginning of the end for the "Showplace of the Nation." Penny Singleton had made similar reforms at New York's famous Latin Quarter, after which it was forced to close down for insolvency. She next attacked Las Vegas (known affectionately as "Glitter Gulch"), but the gambling casinos held too firm a grip on the entertainment industry to suffer financial loss, so her reforms were effected without difficulty. But back in New York the Music Hall remained the last stronghold in town where tourists could still get a movie and a stage show with enough money left over to catch a bus back to Podunk.
I remember those picket lines in front of Radio City Music Hall. We were all keenly disappointed when the orchestra members crossed our lines to play for the shows while we marched in the December cold. We had supported them in all their strikes with the musician's union, and felt betrayed by their actions. "Labor versus Management" became the cry . . . and Management was personified in the President of the Radio City Music Hall Corporation, whose name was Mr. Gould. While other performers were marching with placards and slogans decrying our poor working conditions, I devised my own brand of vengeance, aimed directly at Management. I lettered a brilliantly colored sign which I thought ingenious. It read: ALL THAT GLISTERS IS NOT GOULD! (Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Act 2, Scene 7, line 65.) One of the Rockettes stared at it for a long time, and then timidly suggested that I had misspelled "glisten." Then Penny Singleton appeared and tactfully explained that our purpose was not to "single out personalities" and to get rid of the sign. I did so grudgingly, but with the ultimate conviction that she was right. We had to keep our noses clean.
The strike continued and we marched in all kinds of weather. Our lawyers went into arbitration for an unprecedented two and a half months before an agreement was reached. The rest is history. We got our six-day week, our swing shift, and higher pay, and then began counting the days before we would be out of a job. And the days were not many. The first reform was to play "canned music" for the shows, during which a minimal number of the old-guard performers were hired to fill the stage and move our mouths as though actually singing the canned music. Then the splendid Corps de Ballet, trained by Bettina Rosay, was terminated, following which the singers were let go. The Rockettes managed to hang on, and most of us still recall the national press coverage relating their battle for survival.
But an era had passed. The Music Hall would never be quite the same again. Those wonderful Christmas shows with live camels, horses, donkeys, cattle and sheep, marching to Bethlehem! Sadie, the chief camel on the mock-route to Bethlehem, had always been a true show camel. Whenever she heard a certain martial strain from the orchestra she immediately broke into the "Hucklebuck" and had to be restrained. Every Christmas, as regular as clockwork, she reared up on her hind legs to go into her act whenever the orchestra played "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful." The audience thought she was skittish, but we knew better. Her trainer (disguised on stage as a Judean shepherd) had his hands full trying to curb her enthusiasm. But for one show, during the 1963 Christmas season, Sadie became ill and had to be replaced by a younger and less experienced camel. With malice aforethought, one of the Rockettes crept into the animal room backstage and severed her halter two-thirds of the way through with a razor blade (Rockettes occasionally require diversion). When the grand procession to Bethlehem began, the camel's halter snapped in twain and she bolted across the footlights onto the front apron overlooking the orchestra pit. She was finally subdued , but not before she relieved herself on the musicians beneath. Pandemonium reigned, the gold curtain descended prematurely on the scene, and the orchestra struck up "Silent Night" while a long-handled broom mysteriously appeared from beneath the gold curtain, stage center, to mop up the mess. It was a memorable pageant and the audience was enchanted.
I worked there for several years more, and stored up many more memories, but they'll have to wait for a full length novel. I've always remembered Penny Singleton's advice not to "single out personalities," so I will have to wait until I'm of a more venerable age before writing a complete memoir of my ten years at the Music Hall. By that time, no one will be able to separate fact from fiction, and personalities will have been forgotten. It's true that I was once recognized in the south of France by an American tourist who'd seen me at the Music Hall, so I will have to settle for this fleeting bit of fame. But I often think of that naughty Rockette who cut the camel's leash. Will she someday publish her memoirs? I wonder.
PENNY SINGLETON DRIVES OUT MAFIA FROM AGVA?
Singleton, who also played Blondie on radio from 1939 to 1950, did a night-club act after the series finished, then became active in union affairs, ultimately serving two terms as President of AGVA (the American Guild of Variety Artists). Extremely militant, and consequently both loved and loathed (her supporters called her "the brains of the union"), she organised the Rockettes' 27-day strike against Radio City Music Hall in 1966, and later made national headlines when she sued the union over alleged intra-guild corruption and they countersued. In New York unions were controlled at the time by organised crime and Singleton put herself in personal danger in her successful campaign to drive out the Mafia. In 1974 she famously ousted the whole board of the guild when she felt they were not serving the best interests of the members.
On the afternoon of July 8, 1965, the last day to file acceptances, Richard Jones made repeated inquiries of the Elections Department concerning the names of those candidates who had filed. Finally, at 4:47 P.M., Mr. Jones, himself, filed the acceptances of Jack Haley for president and Penny Singleton for vice president. Mr. Jones filed these acceptances at the request of Mr. Haley and Miss Singleton who had sent them to him with an accompanying note from Miss Singleton, the contents of which Mr. Jones could not recall.
On August 5, Mr. Jones, intervening on behalf of the Haley slate, secured the transfer of the tissue sheets containing the names and addresses of union members from AAA to Fifth Avenue for the purpose of having that company prepare a mailing for the Haley slate. This transfer was effected by Mr. Jones either personally picking up the list and hand delivering it to Fifth Avenue or by calling Mrs. Priestly, identifying himself, and directing her to have it hand delivered. On the same day, Mr. Jones wrote a letter to Fifth Avenue authorizing it to enclose a Variety newspaper reprint in the Haley campaign literature. This was done, Jones testified, at the request of either Jack Haley, the then vice president of AGVA and candidate for president, or Will Aherne, Haley's campaign manager.
In September 1960 Johnny Roselli and Sam Giancana, took part in talks with Allen W. Dulles, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), about the possibility of murdering Fidel Castro. In 1961 Roselli persuaded Trafficante to join the conspiracy. Meyer Lansky also became involved in this plot and was reportedly offering a million-dollar reward for the Cuban leader's murder.
Trafficante also worked closely with the CIA agent, William Harvey, in this operation. By 1962, Trafficante and his friends became convinced that the Cuban revolution could not be reversed by simply killing Castro. However, they continued to play along with this CIA plot in order to prevent them being prosecuted for criminal offences committed in the United States.
It is also believed that Trafficante became involved in Mafia plots to kill President John F. Kennedy. He told a friend, Jose Aleman: "Mark my word, this man Kennedy is in trouble, and he will get what is coming to him. Kennedy's not going to make it to the election. He is going to be hit."
Just before Kennedy was assassinated on November 22 1963, Jack Ruby made contact with Trafficante, and another Mafia leader, Carlos Marcello, about a problem he was having with the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). However, the Warren Commission failed to find any direct link between Trafficante and Ruby concluded that "Oswald acted alone".
Trafficante continued to work for the CIA and was involved in the Iran-Contra affair.
Santos Trafficante died on the 19th March, 1987.
On 14th January, 1992, the New York Post claimed that Trafficante, Jimmy Hoffa and Carlos Marcello had all been involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Frank Ragano was quoted as saying that at the beginning of 1963 Hoffa had told him to take a message to Trafficante and Marcello concerning a plan to kill Kennedy. When the meeting took place at the Royal Orleans Hotel, Ragano told the men: "You won't believe what Hoffa wants me to tell you. Jimmy wants you to kill the president." He reported that both men gave the impression that they intended to carry out this order.
Penny Singleton (September 15, 1908 – November 12, 2003) was a Hollywood actress best known for her role in the series of motion pictures based on the comic strip Blondie, followed by the popular Blondie radio program.
Born Marianna Dorothy Agnes Letitia McNulty in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and known as Dorothy McNulty, she was the daughter of an Irish-American newspaperman, Benny McNulty. She began her show business career as a child by singing at a silent movie theater, and toured in vaudeville as part of an act called The Kiddie Kabaret. She sang and danced with Milton Berle (whom she had known since childhood) and actor Gene Raymond, and appeared on Broadway in Jack Benny's Great Temptations.
She married a dentist, Lawrence Singleton, in 1937, and moved to Hollywood, where she later became billed as Penny Singleton. They had one child, a daughter, and divorced in 1939. She married Robert Sparks in 1941. They had one child, a daughter. Sparks died on July 22, 1963.
She appeared as a nightclub dancer in After the Thin Man (still credited under her real name). She was cast opposite Arthur Lake (as Dagwood) in the feature film Blondie in 1938, based on the comic strip by Chic Young. They repeated their roles on a radio comedy beginning in 1939, and in guest appearances on other radio shows. As Dagwood and Blondie Bumstead, they proved so popular that a succession of 27 sequels were made from 1938 until 1950 (the radio show ended the same year). Husband Robert Sparks produced a number of these sequels. Singleton dyed her brunette hair blonde for the rest of her life.
She was active in union affairs and was the first woman president of an AFL-CIO union. She led a strike by the Radio City Rockettes.
She became familiar to television audiences as the voice of Jane Jetson in the animated series The Jetsons, which originally aired from 1962 until 1963, reprising the role for a syndicated revival which (from 1985 through 1988) and assorted specials, records, and Jetsons: The Movie. She also toured in nightclubs and roadshows of plays and musicals.
Singleton died in Sherman Oaks, California following a stroke at the age of 95, and was interred in San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
Friday, November 14, 2003
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Penny Singleton, who brought the comic strip character Blondie to life in a popular series of films and was the voice of the mother on "The Jetsons," has died. She was 95.
Singleton died Wednesday at Sherman Oaks Hospital, two weeks after suffering a stroke, said longtime friend Dick Sheehan.
The Blondie series, which had 28 films from 1938 to 1950, was based on the cartoon strip about the misadventures of a small town family created by Chic Young in 1930. Arthur Lake played Blondie's husband, the bumbling Dagwood Bumstead.
Among the films: "Blondie Meets the Boss," "Blondie Plays Cupid" and "Blondie Knows Best."
"I'm proud and grateful I was Blondie," Singleton said in a 1973 book on film serials, "Saturday Afternoon at the Bijou."
"She was dumb and shrewish sometimes," she said. "But she was real and sympathetic and warm, a real woman, a human being. And that's how I tried to play her."
In his "Movie and Video Guide," critic Leonard Maltin wrote that the early entries in the series were "fresh and original _ with many clever touches belying the fact that they were low-budget films." "Halliwell's Film Guide" calls Singleton and Lake "perfect screen incarnations."
No one else ever played Blondie and Dagwood on the big screen. Two later "Blondie" TV series were short-lived.
After her stint as Blondie, Singleton was the voice of Jane Jetson in "The Jetsons," Hanna-Barbera's 21st century counterpart to their highly successful "Flintstones" cartoon family. The show ran in prime time for just one season, 1962-63, but has been widely seen in reruns.
Singleton also appeared in the 1964 film "The Best Man" but spent most of her time touring in nightclubs and roadshows of plays and musicals such as "Call Me Madam."
She became active in the American Guild of Variety Artists, the union representing touring performers, chorus girls and other entertainers. As union vice president in the 1960s, she helped lead a strike by the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.
Singleton was born in 1908 -- some references say 1909 -- daughter of a Philadelphia newspaperman. She got her start in show business by winning an amateur contest and was touring in vaudeville by her early teens.
After debuting on Broadway in the late '20s, she began appearing in films, at first under her real name, Dorothy McNulty. She took the name Singleton after marrying dentist Lawrence Singleton in 1937.
In the mid-'30s, she played several roles as shady characters, and got worried she would be typecast.
"I just didn't want to be typed," she once said. "It goes to show you how you can eat your words. I became probably the most typed actress in the world. But, at least (Blondie) had some dignity."
Singleton is survived by two daughters, two grandchildren and a great-grandson.
Michael O'Shea (March 17, 1906, Hartford, Connecticut - December 4, 1973, Dallas, Texas) was an American character actor whose career spanned from the 1940s-1960s. Unlike his five brothers who became policemen, O'Shea dropped out of school at 12 and began his acting career in vaudeville by touring with boxing idol Jack Johnson's show.
Much like his character from Lady of Burlesque (1943), Biff Brannigan, O'Shea was a comedian and emcee at speakeasies. He put together his own dance band, "Michael O'Shea and His Stationary Gypsies", and later broke into radio and the "legitimate" stage, where he was billed for a time as "Eddie O'Shea". His performance in the 1942 play The Eve of St. Mark led to a string of film roles in the 40s, which included a memorable performance as Barbara Stanwyck's boyfriend comic in Lady of Burlesque. He also received great reviews in 1944 when he reprised his stage role of Private Thomas Mulveray in the film version of The Eve of St. Mark.
After his career in film waned --he was largely out of films by 1952-- he took many roles in television. He acted in TV programs such as Ethel Barrymore Theater, Damon Runyon Theater, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, The Revlon Mirror Theater, and Daktari.
He also starred in the television series It's a Great Life from 1954-1956 as Denny Davis, a former GI trying to find a civilian job.
In the 1960s, O'Shea became a plainclothes operative for the CIA after retiring from show business.
He was married twice. His first wife was Grace Watts, by whom he had two children. They divorced in 1947. His second wife was actress Virginia Mayo, whom he married in 1947. He met Mayo during the filming of Jack London in 1943. They subsequently appeared on the stock stage together in such productions as George Washington Slept Here, Tunnel of Love and Fiorello!. They had one child, Mary Catherine O'Shea, who was born in 1953. They remained married until December 4, 1973, when O'Shea died from a heart attack.
Lady of Burlesque (1943)
Jack London (1943)
Something for the Boys (1944)
Man from Frisco (1944)
The Eve of St. Mark (1944)
Circumstantial Evidence (1945)
It's a Pleasure (1945)
Last of the Redmen (1947)
Mr. District Attorney (1947)
Smart Woman (1948)
The Threat (1949)
The Big Wheel (1949)
The Underworld Story (1950)
Captain China (1950)
The Model and the Marriage Broker (1951)
Fixed Bayonets! (1951)
Disc Jockey (1951)
Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952)
It Should Happen to You (1954)
Monday, Jun. 15, 1959 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,892688,00.html?iid=chix-sphere
It was one of the strangest union meetings to be found anywhere. Ranged on one side of a bitter leadership battle was a fading movie actress supported by her floor leader and lieutenant, a goateed mind reader. On the opposite side was a former nightclub pitchman supported by fire-eaters, sword-swallowers and comics. As a flock of Washington reporters perched outside the Pall Mall Room of the Hotel Raleigh, the annual meeting of the American Guild of Variety Artists grew as raucous as anything that ever happened on a carny midway.
At real and serious issue was the conduct of Jackie Bright, the M.C. who rose from the floor of obscure nightclubs to the $25,000-a-year post of administrative secretary of null a 13,000-member union made up of vaudevillians, circus performers and miscellaneous nightclub entertainers (ranging from Red Skelton at $40,000 per week to a chorus boy at $75). Sporting pearl tie pin, jeweled cuff links and charcoal-grey suit, Bright quickly earned a reporter's nickname, "Blackie." Against him stood Blondie herself—Actress Penny Singleton, fortyish, who was up for re-election as A.G.V.A. president. Said she, weepily: "I'm just a little 114-lb. girl going in there alone."
The most serious question: had there been an off-to-Buffalo shuffle with A.G.V.A. sick and relief funds? Member contributions are recorded only by number, not by name, so that only Bright and his staff can decipher who deserves what. In addition, a separate corporation called the A.G.V.A. Foundation, headed by busy Jackie Bright, last year bought 62 acres of land in the Catskills, plus assorted buildings, announced that this was the new retreat for retired A.G.V.A. members. So far no A.G.V.A. member has retired there. Asked one critic: "What kind of a home is it up there in the hills? You need overcoats, underwear and everything else. What are they going to do in the winter—sit in the basement and watch TV?"
Secretary Bright denied all charges, shouted that his staff had been "pretty good crucified in here by dirty innuendoes." The Blondie v. Blackie battle will continue until all mail ballots can be counted. In the meantime, Senator John McClellan confirmed that his Labor Rackets Committee has been taking a look at A.G.V.A. For the moment, Crusader Singleton seemed to have the last word. Said she about her opponents: "I have a national reputation as a housekeeper, but I resent having to clean out their kind of mud."
It is also possible that Ruby was dealing with an organization fraught with incompetence and corruption. Certainly AGVA's internal problems in 1963 did not improve Ruby's plight. Neither did the possible corruption within AGVA. Palmer stated that dishonesty pervaded the upper echelon of the union,(976) and others have described AGVA as having "racketeer" ]inks(977) and being associated with "smalltime hoodlumism."(978) Penny Singleton, the current president of AGVA and an individual involved in the 1963 power struggle, described the situation then as "abominable" and stated that the union was completely corrupt. (979)
THE MAFIA PROBLEMS INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF AGVA
Accordingly, the wife of Eddie Rio has planned to put together some tapes and notes of Eddie that he requested to be published and there may or may not come a time when such a publication will take place.
I can only speculate at this point, what exactly happened to Eddie or VEGA. Accusations by Penny Singleton, from her own signed document, reveals that she was convinced he was part of the Teamster’s Union.
JACK RUBY was a Jewish gangster, a Meyer Lansky wannabe. His story began in Czarist Russia when Joseph Rubenstein, a Jewish peasant, became an infantryman and paid a matchmaker to find him a wife. The matchmaker introduced him to Fannie Rutkowski, the daughter of a prosperous physician. Fannie Rutkowski came from a much better background than Joseph Rubenstein, and she resented her arranged marriage. The Rubensteins had two children, Hyman and Ann, before Joseph Rubenstein was transferred to Siberia. In 1903 Joseph Rubenstein deserted, then immigrated to America. He left his family in Russia. Joseph Rubenstein settled in Chicago. In 1904 Joseph Rubenstein joined a carpenter's union and a year later he sent for his family. [CIA 1165-432-P; WCR p779] By the time JACOB (JACK) RUBENSTEIN was born in April or March 1911, Joseph Rubenstein was the neighborhood drunk. Eight children lived in the Rubenstein's three room apartment. Two other Rubensteins had died in childbirth. Fannie Rubenstein went insane from poverty and repeated pregnancy. She claimed that a fish bone was lodged in her throat and she believed her husband was having an incestual relationship with her daughter. There were violent arguments. Fannie Rubenstein was described as illiterate, unable to speak English, four feet six inches tall, one hundred and eighty-two pounds, build obese, red hair and blue eyes. Her prognosis was poor "because of the poor personality of the patient and the long duration (24 years) of her mental abnormality." [Elgin State Hospital report 8.12.37] By JACK'S fifth birthday his older brother Hyman had been declared an incorrigible by Juvenile Court in Chicago. Hyman Rubenstein would become part of Chicago's Democratic machine, well known for its corruption, and he was appointed sidewalk inspector of his ward, a position he held for eight years. [WCR p785] JACK RUBENSTEIN attended public school, but dropped out in the fourth grade at age nine.
In 1921, when JACK RUBENSTEIN was only ten years old, he became a member of the Dave "Yiddles" Miller gang, led by David Miller, a Capone-connected prizefight referee and bookie, who survived an encounter with Dion O'Banion, Chicago's top Irish hoodlum and arch-rival of Al Capone. [John Kobler, Capone, Putnams, N.Y. 1971 p80] There was a reference to a Chicago gangland figure named "Dave Miller" in the Kefauver Hearings on Interstate Organized Crime, although David Miller is a very common name. [U.S. Cong. Senate Special Committee to Invest. Organized Crime in Interstate Comm.] By the time he was 11, JACK RUBENSTEIN scalped tickets at sporting events on behalf of David Miller. In 1922 JACK RUBENSTEIN was referred to the Jewish Social Services Bureau because of his "disregard for other people's property" and an "interest in street gangs. [WCR pgs. 779-786] In 1923, when JACK RUBENSTEIN was 12, the court ordered the Jewish Welfare Bureau to place him in a foster home outside of Chicago. By 1924 JACK RUBENSTEIN was back in Chicago where he scalped tickets and made book. JACK RUBENSTEIN assaulted a police officer during an altercation about ticket scalping. Hyman Rubenstein had the charges dropped. Because of his aggressiveness, JACK RUBENSTEIN earned the nickname "Sparky."
In 1926 JACK RUBENSTEIN became a messenger for the Capone gang. Barney Ross, who had also made the transition from the Miller gang to the Capone mob, told the FBI: "When I began my prize fighting career in 1926, back in the 24th Ward, JACK RUBENSTEIN and I ran errands for Capone." Barney Ross said that Al Capone had sponsored him, and that Ralph and Matty Capone, along with Frank Nitty, were all close followers of his boxing career. [WCE 1288; WC ltr. Rankin to Hoover 6.64] During this time Al Capone collected dozens of errand boys. Charles Gioe, an associate of Johnny Rosselli, was described by the Kefauver Committee in 1950 as having once been a "messenger boy" for Al Capone. [Kefauver Hearings p5, p356 as cited by P.D. Scott] Two of RUBENSTEIN'S associates, David Yaras (born November 7, 1912; died January 1974), and Lenny Patrick, were executioners for the Capone mob. [HSCA V9 paragraph 1195; Eva Rubenstein Grant WC Test.] David Yaras began as a pinball and slot machine concessionaire under Al Capone. Robert F. Kennedy called him "a notorious Chicago racketeer." [Moldea, Hoffa Wars, p124] JACK RUBENSTEIN joined the Capone gang shortly after Al Capone inherited Chicago gangland leadership from Johnny Torrio. By 1926 the Capone family, along with Johnny Rosselli, Sam Giancana, Tony Accardo, Jake Guzik and other hoodlums had amassed hundreds of millions of dollars from bootlegging, gambling and prostitution.
From 1926 to 1929 JACK RUBENSTEIN worked for the Capone mob.
Many documents linked JACK RUBENSTEIN to Al Capone and the mafia. When the FBI conducted its investigation into JACK RUBENSTEIN'S background in 1964, it interviewed James Allegretti, described as "the top local organized crime figure in Chicago." James Allegretti admitted he "may have seen RUBY back in the Al Capone days..." but became agitated when the FBI pressed the issue: "I told you, he was not connected, he was not mobbed-up!" Matty Brescia was also questioned by the FBI about RUBY. The partner of Matty Brescia, Lew Farrell, was described as being a "Top Hoodlum" from Chicago. Lew Farrell was on the fringes of the Al Capone mob and had moved into labor racketeering, where he maintained a close association with James Hoffa. [FBI #DL 44-1639 11.25.63 Chicago; FBI DL-44-1639-6266] In 1978 Matty Brescia was mentioned during the HSCA testimony of RUBY associate Lewis J. McWillie. [HSCA V5 pgs 28, 87]
Eva Rubenstein Grant, JACK RUBENSTEIN's sister, supplied evidence that linked JACK RUBENSTEIN to the Al Capone mob, when she admitted this to a friend: "Jack and I were connected with the Capone mob in Chicago." This information came to light on November 13, 1962, when the sister of a friend of Eva Rubenstein named Susan Brown, telephoned the FBI Dallas office and reported that her sister had told her that Eva Rubenstein had said this. In 1964 the Warren Commission interviewed Susan Brown and her sister. Both of them maintained their recollection of the conversation. The Warren Commission had its representative inform Eva Rubenstein about the accusations of the Brown sisters. Eva Rubenstein called the Brown sisters and confronted them with their charges. This frightened the Brown sisters and they complained to the FBI.
The FBI burned the Brown sisters because they supplied the Bureau with information which contradicted the FBI's line that Ruby was not a member of organized crime. Even in 1963, J. Edgar Hoover maintained that organized crime, or the mafia, did not exist, so how could Ruby have been a member or associate? The Brown sisters learned that FBI and the Warren Commission were intent on ignoring RUBY'S long term membership in the mafia and anyone who got in their way would be sacrificed. [FBI 44-29016-2074 10.15.64]
RUBY explained to the Warren Commission the reason he was acquainted with Chicago's top hoodlums at an early age was because of ticket scalping: "When you live in the city of Chicago and you are in the livelihood of selling tickets to sporting events, your lucrative customers are some of these people...you may know them as you get acquainted with them at the sporting events or the ball park or prizefights." [RUBY WC Test.]
Al Capone and Jack Ruby were associated with the syndicate, which was an equal opportunity criminal cartel. The syndicate began circa 1928 when the mafia began admitting Jews as associate members. Legend has it that the syndicate came into existence during a meeting between Al Capone and Meyer Lansky. Al Capone's cousin, "Lucky" Luciano brought the two gangsters together at a meeting of crime families in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and suggested that they discuss a merger between the Jewish and Italian underworld. [Hank Messick, Lansky, G.P. Putnam - N.Y. 1971; Dennis Eisenberg, Uri Dan, Eli Landau Meyer Lansky, Mogul of the Mob Paddington Press, N.Y. 1979] The Jewish and Italian gangsters formed the most powerful criminal organization in the world.
By 1930 gangland activity in Chicago began to decline. In 1932 Al Capone began serving a sentence for income tax evasion and "Lucky" Luciano took over his position. In 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt ended prohibition. "Lucky" Luciano began to import narcotics to make up for the loss of revenue due to the repeal of prohibition. In 1936, when "Lucky" Luciano went to prison, Joe Adonis was appointed boss of bosses. Joe Adonis put out the word to the families to co-operate with Meyer Lansky, because Meyer Lansky had promised to get "Lucky" Luciano out of prison. [McCoy, Alfred, The Politics of H in SE Asia, Harper Row, N.Y. 1972 pgs. 17-27] Meyer Lansky received a share of gambling revenue in Louisiana. Jake Lansky was listed as an officer in an outfit controlling slot machines. Meyer Lansky worked with CARLOS MARCELLO.
JACK RUBENSTEIN and his sister, Eva Rubenstein, were involved in illegal gambling, which was controlled by the syndicate. In 1934 they moved to San Francisco where they worked for Frankie Goldstein. [WCE 2328] In 1961 a confidential informant told the FBI that Frankie Goldstein was a bookmaker. The FBI opened a case on him, and investigation revealed he operated a local sporting book for many years, and he frequented the Ambassador Health Club. Information on this club was withheld by the FBI. In 1962 the FBI interviewed Frankie Goldstein's cousin, Anthony Hatsis, the owner of a Salt Lake City nightclub. Anthony Hatsis told them that Frankie Goldstein inquired as to the possibility of setting-up a bookmaking operation in Utah. The FBI tapped the business telephone of Frankie Goldstein. In 1964 Frankie Goldstein told the FBI that JACK RUBENSTEIN and Eva Rubenstein sold newspaper subscriptions for him from 1933 to 1939. Frankie Goldstein insisted that "JACK RUBENSTEIN had no association with hoodlums or with the underworld." In 1977 this researcher called Frank Goldstein and asked him about RUBY'S mob-connections: "The kid worked for me. I don't know any of these names you mention. How'd you got this information?"[FBI DC-44-1639-4707 ,4493; FBI SF 44-194; FBI DL-44-1639-CMS-Cover page, I, J.]
RUBY told the Warren Commission: "I have never been a bookmaker." His association with Frankie Goldstein told another story.
During JACK RUBENSTEIN'S six year stay in California he was also employed by Eugene Shriber, a gambler who worked under "Bones" Remer. "Bones" Remer was the owner of record of the Cal Neva Lounge in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The Cal Neva Lounge was linked to the syndicate by numerous sources, including the Kefauver Committee. Eugene Shriber, who came to California from Chicago in 1933, managed a San Francisco card room for "Bones" Remer and employed JACK RUBENSTEIN and Eva Rubenstein as dealers. [FBI DL-44-1639-4094, 4110; WCD CD360 p115 interview with George T. Davis]
JACK RUBENSTEIN, Frankie Goldstein, "Bones" Remer, and Eugene Shriber worked under mob boss Johnny Rosselli, who controlled bookmaking in California at this time. Johnny Rosselli came to California in 1933, the same year that JACK RUBENSTEIN did. By 1936 Johnny Rosselli controlled gambling on the West Coast. JACK RUBENSTEIN sold tip sheets at Santa Anita raceway. Johnny Rosselli had risen to gangland prominence in the mid-1930's by taking over the wire service at Santa Anita. [Kefauver Hearings Part 5 p399-400; WCR p786] In 1944 Johnny Rosselli was convicted of labor extortion through a union whose organizers included JACK RUBENSTEIN'S brother-in-law. [WC H V20 p18-cited by Scott] In 1939, JACK RUBENSTEIN, 28, left California for Chicago.
When JACK RUBENSTEIN returned to Chicago in 1939 he became a labor racketeer. Johnny Rosselli had proven that labor unions could provide a steady source of revenue. JACK RUBENSTEIN contacted a friend from the Capone gang, Paul J. Dorfman (born May 22, 1901; died April 1971). The McClellan committee reported: "Paul Dorfman's connections with members of the old Capone mob are a matter of record." [McClellan Committee, Interim Report p167; FBI CG 44-645 12/18/63 Chicago; WCE 1236, 1293; FBI 44-24016-8. 62-109060-1528] Paul Dorfman gave JACK RUBENSTEIN a job in the Chicago Waste Handler's Union. Several years later Chicago private detective Bob Mullenix conducted an investigation concerning Paul Dorfman and JACK RUBENSTEIN'S entrance into the Waste Handler's Union. The FBI was unable to question Bob Mullenix in 1964. He was killed in an automobile accident in 1962. [FBI 44-24016-742] Mullenix's files were sent to his brother. [FBI 44-24016-606]
THE MURDER OF LEON COOK
Victor Riesel wrote that Paul Dorfman made John Martin President of the Waste Handler Union. JACK RUBENSTEIN was Secretary-Treasurer. [Dallas Morn. News 11.30.63, Victor Riesel, "RUBY Linked to Racket."] Victor Riesel was a syndicated labor columnist, blinded by mob. RUBY had Riesel's telephone number in his address book. [FBI 44-1639-3123] Leon Cook, 27, the Jewish attorney who had originally formed the union, held no office. Leon Cooke only served as an advisor. In late 1939 Leon Cooke told the FBI that he had formed a rival union affiliated with the CIO and had written several letters to junk dealers about this, which he signed "Cook." John Martin had learned of these letters. [FBI DL-44-1639 F-Cover page] On December 8, 1939, John Martin shot Leon Cooke in the back. Before he died, Leon Cooke described what occurred to Chicago Police: "I went to see Martin to protest his conduct of the union. While we were scuffling he grabbed a gun. I told him he was crazy and started to leave. He fired three times. Two bullets hit my overcoat, which was over my arm. The other hit me in the back. I staggered into the hall and took a cab to the hospital." Physicians there extracted one bullet from the side of Leon Cooke and told him he would probably recover. [Chicago Tribune 12.9.39 p.l] Cooke died.
After the shooting, John Martin disappeared down the rear fire-escape with the only witness, his secretary. John Martin was under indictment for having conspired with a well known Chicago hoodlum to withhold income tax information from the Internal Revenue Service in the Gambrinus Drawing Company matter. The States Attorney Office was investigating John Martin. It believed that the Waste Handler's Union was a shakedown racket and that JACK RUBENSTEIN was a thug who would intimidate prospective members into joining the union at gunpoint. After the shooting, a member of the State Attorney's office confiscated the union's charter and records, then issued the following statement: "We are looking into the union's finances. I am trying to find out where $1,400 in dues went." When the States Attorney's investigators discovered that Carlos Fontana, a notorious West Side hoodlum, worked for the union, its investigators questioned JACK RUBENSTEIN. He told them: "I had no idea he was a hoodlum."
JACK RUBENSTEIN was questioned about Leon Cooke's murder: "During our conversation with JACK RUBENSTEIN, who is Secretary Treasurer of the Scrap Iron & Junk Handlers Union, he stated that he had been out all day with the President John Martin collecting membership dues and that they entered the office about 3:00 p.m. On their arrival there they found present Gladys Welch, Vice President of the Union, Joseph Medill, employee of Leon Cooke, and Leon Cooke. He remained in the office until about 3:20 p.m. and then left in the company of Medill to go to the northwest side for the purpose of doing some organizational work. The first he knew about the shooting was at 3:30 p.m. when he telephoned his office...Leon Cooke formerly was an organizer for the Junk Handler's Union, and upon his leaving the Union his office of Secretary-Treasurer was taken over by JACK RUBENSTEIN." [Chicago PD Report Central Complaint Room No. 55513]
One day after the shooting John Martin and his secretary turned themselves in. JACK RUBENSTEIN was with them and told the press that Martin had shot Leon Cooke in self-defense. At the trial of John Martin an assistant state's attorney informed the judge that the State had obtained no evidence beyond that presented to a coroner's jury, which had absolved John Martin of blame. John Martin's story at the inquest was that Leon Cooke drew a gun on him and struck him in the face and when he struggled for possession of the weapon, it went off. The police never found any evidence to corroborate John Martin's story that the gun belonged to Leon Cooke. John Martin was acquitted of murder. He left the union. A few months later, JACK RUBENSTEIN left. He adopted the middle name of "Leon" around this time, allegedly to honor his dead friend. RUBY told the Warren Commission: "I am not a gangster. I have never used a goon squad for union activities."
Paul Dorfman formed a new local and began to dominate it. He worked closely with Anthony Accardo, a leader of the Chicago mob since the death of Al Capone. On July 28, 1948, when millionaire industrialist Nathan "Natty" Gumbin was shot-gunned to death by two gunmen firing from a moving car, Paul Dorfman was called in for questioning. The Chicago Police stated that the slaying of Nathan Gumbin was linked to the killing of Charles Crane, another industrialist who had negotiated with the Waste Handlers Union. The Intelligence Unit of the Chicago Police Department reported that "Natty" Gumbin and Charles Crane, along with about 100 waste and rag dealers, were allegedly paying monthly installments to a person named "Dorfman," Secretary of the Waste Handlers Union, to guarantee no labor troubles. [FBI 44-24016-358] Years later the Intelligence Unit learned that during a meeting of top syndicate members in Miami in 1953, an unknown person mentioned the execution of "Natty" Gumbin, and the fact that he refused to take part in a deal. The FBI reported: "Gumbin forced to make monthly payments to laborites for labor peace in his business. Apparent guarantee of no labor problems if monthly payments made. Plant employees under two separate unions, one was Waste Material Handlers Union, Paul Dorfman, Secretary-Treasurer. The other was Scrap Iron and Junk Handlers Union founded by Leon Cooke in 1937. Cooke was slain in 1939. Paul Dorfman, upon learning of death of Gumbin, cut short vacation to avail himself for questioning. Had his union offer $1,000 reward for information leading to solution of murder." The murder of "Natty" Gumbin remained unsolved.
In 1949 Paul Dorfman joined with Jimmy Hoffa in a complex conspiracy to give a million dollars worth of Teamster Pension Fund business to an insurance company owned by Paul Dorfman's son, Allen Dorfman. [New York Herald Tribune 8.1.57 pg.1; New York Mirror 8.30.57- Riesel] Paul Dorfman continued to run the Waste Handlers Union until 1957, when he was expelled by the National Office of the AFL-CIO. [NYT 8.l.57 - Mafia Associate Ousted] The AFL-CIO tolerated Paul Dorfman for more than a decade, but Paul Dorfman's pension fund scheme brought him to the attention of the McClellan Committee, which focused on Jimmy Hoffa and the men around him. Robert F. Kennedy, an attorney for the McClellan Committee, wrote: "Everywhere Hoffa goes Paul Dorfman is close by." [Robert F. Kennedy, The Enemy Within, Harper Bros. 1960 NY] Paul Dorfman was forced into semi-retirement.
Allen Dorfman became Jimmy Hoffa's "rabbi." [NYT 8.24.67p6] When Jimmy Hoffa was indicted by a Nashville Grand Jury, Allen Dorfman and Hoffa-thug Robert "Barney" Baker helped him earn an acquittal. In early 1963 Allen Dorfman was indicted for jury-tampering in this case. The star witness for the United States Government was Edward Partin. [Sheridan, Walter, The Fall and Rise of Jimmy Hoffa, Saturday Review Press 1972; Allen Dorfman and the Teamsters, Prod. Wash. D.C.] In 1964 Allen Dorfman was indicted in Chicago on charges related to his management of Teamster Funds.
By 1967 Allen Dorfman was coordinator of the Teamster Union Pension Fund following the incarceration of Jimmy Hoffa. In 1969 Allen Dorfman was indicted by a Grand Jury in New York City. The chief witness for the United States Government in this case was also a witness against Meyer Lansky. [PROD, The Teamster Connection, bio. of Allen M. Dorfman; Overdrive, Crimes Web of Pension Fund Fraud; USDC-SDNY 66 CR. 732 - Memo From Deputy Chief U.S. Probation Office - Horvath - redirect 10433, 1333, ltr. from Lou Poller 5.3O.71] In another case, Allen Dorfman and co-defendants were acquitted after a key government witness was killed in his office by shotgun blasts fired by gunmen wearing ski masks. [Newsweek, 11.24.75 p9l] Allen Dorfman was convicted and sent to prison in 1972 for having taken a $55,000 kickback to arrange a loan from the Teamster's Union Pension Fund. In 1979, Gerald Denono, a mafia hit man under federal protective custody, gave a diary to the FBI that he said he stole from Dr. Canale, a New Orleans physician linked to CARLOS MARCELLO. The entry dated January 5, 1973, read: "Fitz OK Al Dorfman chi ok.--Tony Pro Jersey ok ($500,---to C.C. = nix OK." This signified that a payment was made to NIXON through Charles Colson which had been okayed by Teamsters Allen Dorfman, Tony Provenzano and Frank Fitzsimmons. [NY Post 11.16.79] The name of Allen Dorfman surfaced in an off-shoot of the FBI's ABSCAM investigation. Allen Dorfman was involved in an attempt to bribe Senator Howard W. Cannon, (Dem.- Nevada) to sponsor favorable legislation. These charges were never proven because Allen Dorfman was gunned down gang-land style in Chicago.
After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Warren Commission received several reports that indicated an on-going relationship between RUBY and the Dorfmans. Justice Department investigator Walter Sheridan received information that RUBY had recently received money from one of the Dorfmans. Assistant United States Attorney Robert D. Peloquin was assigned to investigate the matter. Robert D. Peloquin, who at the time was part of United States Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's "Get Hoffa Squad," was called off the case by his boss, Herbert J. Miller. [FBI 44-24016-112,1247; 62-109060-1528] Herbert J. Miller informed Robert Peloquin that he had contacted the source of the information concerning RUBY and the Dorfmans, and the source had refused to substantiate the information. Herbert J. Miller ordered "no further inquiry in this matter" because "the story would give Hoffa an opportunity to criticize the Justice Department for trying to tie Hoffa in with President Kennedy's murder." J. Edgar Hoover agreed: "I do wish Justice Department would mind it's own business." [FBI DC-44-1639 BL-E-cover pg; FBI CG 44-645- DWS: pl6, cover page B]
On November 25, 1963, an individual who called himself "Mr. Miller" contacted the FBI and told the Bureau he was "a close friend of JACK RUBY." In addition, he identified Clint Murchison and Johnny Webb as being "friends of RUBY." When J. Edgar Hoover saw this anonymous report (the name Miller and the address given by the informant were determined to be fictitious) he ordered the Bureau to "Press vigorously. I would surmise it is Clint Murchison, Jr., not Sr. I think we should talk to Clint Murchison, Jr." [FBI 44-24016-197, 198; 62-109060-363; Wash. Post 2.14.64; Drew Pearson D13; FBI Memo 1.22.64 NR 2.6.64; FBI Memo and ltr. to WC 1.3l64 NR 2.6.64] J. Edgar Hoover was close to the Murchison family and vacationed almost annually at their Del Charro Hotel, situated near the Murchison's Del Mar racetrack. [Messick, Hank, John Edgar Hoover, McKay , NY, 1972.] Clint Murchison Jr. told the FBI he never heard of RUBY or OSWALD before the events of November 1963. Tommy Webb told the FBI the same. In 1977 Tommy Webb signed an affidavit in which he admitted his association with Clint Murchison Jr. and Allen Dorfman. [Affidavit of Thomas Dougherty Webb Jr. 10.21.77] Edward Partin told Walter Sheridan that Clint Murchison Jr. was a "great benefactor" of Jimmy Hoffa's.
On November 27, 1963, Daniel Adario, Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Philadelphia, advised FBI S.A. Robert L. Tagg, Newark, that he had received information from a confidential informant that "(FNU) Cohen, aka, 'Pigface' operator of used car lots, and brother of Raymond Cohen, a former official of the Teamster's Union, Philadelphia, had told the informant of Daniel Adario that he was very friendly with JACK LEON RUBY and knows RUBY from Chicago. Cohen advised informant RUBY 'tied up with rackets in Chicago.'" Raymond Cohn was a close associate of James R. Hoffa. [FBI 44-24016-1069371] On June 8, 1965, the FBI reported: "Philadelphia Office has reviewed Xerox copies of anonymous letters naming RAYMOND COHEN as having information regarding assassination of President Kennedy, and Philadelphia has no information as to who might have written these letters. It is opinion of Philadelphia, also, that no useful purpose or productive information would be obtained through an interview with Raymound Cohen, former Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 107, Philadelphia. Cohen is presently serving a one to two year prison term for defrauding the Local, and has served six months of this sentence. There was much factional fighting in Local 107, which eventually deposed Cohen and any number of dissident teamsters on the opposite side to Cohen could have written the letters attempting to implicate Cohen." [FBI 157-916-319 Phil. 6.8.65] Arlen Spector successfully prosecuted Raymond Cohen. The FBI reported: "Because of this success Attorney General Kennedy offered Spector a job on the Justice Department Staff to assist in the prosecution of James Hoffa and other Teamster officials. Spector declined because the local case against Cohen had been appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, and he wished to see it through. That case was argued in September and the court's ruling is awaited." [FDBI CIA 62-109060-61 1.9.64. Phil.]
On November 25, 1963, the Houston FBI Office received information from Al Bright, an ex-felon of Corpus Christi, Texas, to the effect that RUBY was the payoff man for the Dallas Police Department, and whenever liquor and gambling raids were to be made on the Dallas underworld, RUBY was always contacted first by some unknown person from the Dallas Police Department. Al Bright obtained this information from Roy William Pike, who had once served an a bookkeeper for RUBY, and was one of 12 persons known to have been in telephone contact with RUBY just before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Roy William Pike was arrested for rape in 1943. Roy William Pike told Al Bright: "I think I spoke with RUBY about his relationship with Hoffa." The FBI interviewed Roy William Pike, who denied having said any of this. J. Edgar Hoover confused the report of Al Bright with that of Roy William Pike, and noted: "Pike was interviewed in connection with the case on November 25, 1963, at which time he alleged that RUBY was friendly with James Hoffa and the syndicate and was a pay-off man of the Dallas Police Department." [FBI 44-24016-1196; FBI report filed 11.25.63 Corpus Christi; FBI #110-44-939 pgs.329, 530, 531, 532]
In 1941 JACK RUBENSTEIN distributed punch board gambling devices throughout the United States while serving as a courier for the syndicate. During this period he and his associates disrupted pro-Nazi German-American Bund rallies. [WCR 779-806] In September 1941 JACK RUBENSTEIN was drafted. JACK RUBENSTEIN never saw any action, and spent his military career in the United States. One of JACK RUBENSTEIN'S army buddies, Hersey Colvin, was employed by a Chicago hoodlum when the FBI questioned him in late November 1963. [WCE 1201] He told the FBI that RUBY was not connected to organized crime. Another of JACK RUBENSTEIN'S army buddies, Urban Roschek, told the FBI that JACK RUBENSTEIN had offered him a job picking up numbers in Chicago. [FBI 44-1639-54444]
In February 1946 JACK RUBENSTEIN was discharged from the Army. He returned to Chicago where he lived with Hyman Rubenstein in the Congress Hotel. JACK RUBENSTEIN frequented the H & H Restaurant, a hang-out for bookmakers, gamblers and hoodlums. It's proprietor, Maishi Baer, got very upset when the FBI questioned him in 1964. He told the FBI that he "didn't want to get involved" then tried to unsuccessfully reach his attorney. [FBI 44-24016-275]
PAUL ROLAND JONES
While JACK RUBENSTEIN was in the service, his sister Eva Rubenstein Grant moved to Dallas where she became associated with Paul Roland Jones. In 1930 Paul Roland Jones was arrested on a bootlegging charge in Kansas. In 1931 he began serving a life sentence in Lansing, Kansas, for the first degree murder of a government witness. On December 31, 1938, his life term was commuted by Kansas Governor Ratner to 20 years, and he was pardoned on July 8, 1940. Throughout the early 1940's, the offenses of Paul Roland Jones ranged from Vagrancy to OPA Violations. He was arrested in Dunkirk, N.Y. in 1944 for Grand Larceny, but no disposition of the case was shown in the records. He was later charged with swindling in Dallas, but the disposition of that case was also not shown. During the war, Paul Roland Jones and Eva Rubenstein opened up new territory for the mob. [HSCA V9 p986] Paul Roland Jones admitted that he had started gambling operations in Dallas in 1942 on behalf of Al Capone's cousins, the Fischetti brothers. [FBI LHM, Charlotte, North Carolina 6.29.64 copies destroyed 1.21.73]
Paul Roland Jones relied on bribery to keep the syndicate's gambling operations from being closed down. Paul Roland Jones had the Sheriff Smoot Schmid and various members of the Dallas Police Department "on the pad" for at least five years. Eva Rubenstein, who had purchased a building in Dallas and was opening a nightclub, introduced JACK RUBENSTEIN to Paul Roland Jones. Paul Roland Jones recalled this meeting: "It was in 1946, at the Congress Hotel in Chicago. I came up from Dallas to discuss business with Paul Labriola and Jimmy Weinberg. JACK RUBY'S sister arranged the meeting." Paul Roland Jones convinced RUBY to move to Dallas and manage a gambling joint there on behalf of the Chicago syndicate. There was one obstacle that had to be overcome: Steven Guthrie, the newly elected sheriff, who had come into office on a reform ticket had to go on the pad.
Four months after Sheriff Steven Guthrie took office (October 1946), Paul Roland Jones called Dallas Police Detective George Butler and asked him to arrange a meeting with Sheriff Guthrie. Sheriff Guthrie and Detective George Butler made recordings of their meeting with Paul Roland Jones. Sheriff Guthrie: "Shortly after my election, Jones contacted me and asked if I wanted to make some big money. At the time gambling, prostitution were wide-open in Dallas, and there were three gangland murders each month. I knew the syndicate had moved in because there were always at least 25 Chicago thugs in town. I was determined to get them." [WCE 1251] Sheriff Guthrie installed a hidden movie camera and photographed Paul Roland Jones entering and leaving the meeting. Paul Roland Jones reported his apparent success to Anthony Accardo, who sent Paul "Needlenose" Labriola and (FNU) Weinberg to Dallas. Paul Roland Jones introduced Sheriff Guthrie to Pat Manno, a friend of Anthony Accardo. On November 14, 1946, Paul Roland Jones called Detective George Butler and told him he was going to Chicago, where the syndicate was meeting for the purpose of formulating plans for moving into gambling activities in Dallas. In December 1946, Detective George Butler visited Paul Roland Jones and introduced two men identified as Murray Humphreys and Jake Guzik, both Capone-gang members.
In 1964 Sheriff Steve Guthrie told the FBI: "JACK RUBY was a small peanut with this group that tried to bribe me. His name came up on numerous occasions as being the person who would take over a fabulous restaurant and turn it into a posh gambling joint." Jack Wilner, a crime reporter for The Chicago Daily News stated that RUBY was involved in an effort to take over gambling in the Texas area at this time. [HSCA V19 par. 1131] Another reporter for the Chicago Daily News stated that Detective George Butler told him RUBY was involved in an attempt to bribe Sheriff Guthrie.
The HSCA obtained the original recordings of the Jones-Guthrie-Butler meetings. The original recordings were of such poor quality it was impossible for the Committee to determine if JACK RUBENSTEIN'S name came up. Two recordings were missing. The HSCA was unable to interview former Sheriff Steven Guthrie. Just before Christmas, 1946, Paul Roland Jones and his associate, Jack Nappi, were indicted on Bribery charges. Jack Nappi was related to Frank Nitti, Al Capone's enforcer. In early 1947 Paul Roland Jones was convicted on the bribery charge, then released on appeal bond.
In October 1947, Homer R. Padgett, a former manager of Eva Rubenstein's Singapore Club, told Detective Butler Eva Rubenstein had him beaten him when he tried to overhear one of her conversations. JACK RUBENSTEIN called Homer R. Padgett a stool pigeon. Detective George Butler investigated the Singapore Club and examined its toll records. [HSCA V9 para. 1131] The HSCA questioned Eva Rubenstein about the allegations of Homer R. Padgett. She recalled that when her club first opened, two Dallas Police Department officers asked her questions about having known Al Capone and about gangsters from Chicago who visited her club. When Detective George Butler was questioned by the HSCA he told them that "From 1947 to 1948 some members of the Capone organization were trying to move gambling into Dallas. I had a snitch in the outfit, Paul Roland Jones, who told me the Capone outfit considered RUBY too erratic for them."
Detective George Butler told the HSCA that Paul Roland Jones was a snitch. If so, why did he do time?
Meyer Lansky, as he had promised, secured the release of "Lucky" Luciano from prison by collaborating with Charles Siragusa and the OSS to stop Axis sabotage in America's sea ports during World War II. This was OPERATION UNDERWORLD. "Lucky" Luciano was released from prison in 1946 and immediately deported to Italy. "Lucky" Luciano charged Meyer Lansky with the responsibility for managing his financial empire. Meyer Lansky played a key role in organizing the heroin syndicate of "Lucky" Luciano. The relationship of Meyer Lansky with the TRAFFICANTE family was of particular importance. In 1947 Meyer Lansky and "Lucky" Luciano had a meeting in Cuba about expanding the mob's heroin trade. In 1947 Paul Roland Jones was involved in the narcotics trade, which experienced a post-war renaissance.
JOHN AND MAURICE MELTON
The narcotics operation of Paul Roland Jones involved John and Maurice Melton, two brothers who owned 127,000 acres of land near Durango, Mexico, suitable for the cultivation of opium. The opium was grown there and was flown into the United States by pilot Taylor Crossland. [FBI report filed 12.14.63 at Albuquerque, New Mexico #AQ 44-391] In August 1947 the Federal Bureau of Narcotics became aware of the operation. Maurice Melton and Paul Roland Jones were put under 24-hour surveillance and their telephone calls were monitored: "Prior to arrest above Subjects were surveilled during course of investigation and they checked into the Central Plaza Hotel on August 2, 1947. While at this hotel they made several phone calls which were checked out and the number Kedzie-1717 was listed to Hyman and JACK RUBENSTEIN." [Bureau of Narcotics Report, Chicago 10.31.47 A.E. Aman; FBI #44-24016-586; FBI 44-1639-21, Dallas] On August 27, 1947, Taylor Crossland was forced down, and arrested at the Mexican-American border with 48 pounds of raw opium worth nearly one million dollars in his aircraft. Taylor Crossland told the FBI that when he and Maurice Melton brought a load of opium from Mexico to Dallas he contacted Paul Roland Jones in an effort to dispose of the opium. He "stated Paul Roland Jones took him to an unknown motel, where Jones introduced an individual whom he believes possibly identical to RUBY as RUBENSTEIN. States Jones and RUBENSTEIN went back into motel, stayed approximately five minutes, and then Jones returned to automobile and said 'We will have to go to Chicago to dispose of this stuff' and no further reference was made to an individual believed to be JACK RUBENSTEIN." [FBI 44-1639-1629; WCE 1271, 1272, 1273; FBI 44-24016-481]
Taylor Crossland became a States witness against Paul Roland Jones, as did the Melton brothers. On October 24, 1947, Paul Roland Jones was arrested in Dallas. Five days later, the Chicago office of the Bureau of Narcotics questioned JACK RUBENSTEIN and his brother. JACK RUBENSTEIN said he knew Paul Roland Jones through his sister, Eva Rubenstein Grant, who met Paul Roland Jones while operating her supper club in Dallas. JACK RUBENSTEIN claimed he had never spoken to Paul Roland Jones in Chicago, either personally or by phone. When the calls in question occurred (August 2, 1947 and August 3, 1947) JACK RUBENSTEIN said he was visiting Dallas. JACK RUBENSTEIN said he was a sales promoter and merchandise distributor and he knew nothing about narcotics. Hyman Rubenstein admitted having known Taylor Crossland, Maurice Melton and Paul Roland Jones and told the Bureau of Narcotics investigators that the telephone call in question had been made to him. He admitted meeting with them, but insisted "I know absolutely nothing about opium, or narcotics in any shape, manner or form, nor the illicit traffic of narcotic drugs. Paul Roland Jones never mentioned opium to me nor did Taylor Crossland or Maurice Melton. I'm a business man with no arrests. We were involved in selling lumber and pipe. They gave me a sample of lumber which I showed around Chicago." During the trial, Maurice Melton testified that when Hyman and Jack Rubenstein were propositioned regarding narcotics, they refused any part in it. [FBI 44-24016-395]
The Melton's had been told by Paul Roland Jones that the Rubenstein family had connections with the Chicago crime syndicate, who would offer them the best price for the opium. The deal never went through. The Melton brothers were afraid to testify against Rubenstein because they knew he was connected to the Syndicate and they didn't want to end up dead.
On January 10, 1948, Hyman Rubenstein appeared as a witness in the narcotics trial of Paul Roland Jones in Dallas. Eleven months later, the Bureau of Narcotics closed the JACK RUBENSTEIN file, but seven years later, in 1955, the Bureau reopened it. The original file released by the Justice Department in unexcised form (over the objection of the Drug Enforcement Administration - the heirs to Bureau of Narcotics files) had the following in a box labeled "Related Files": "SE-202 Mafia pages 234 and 240." When this researcher applied for these files Benjamin R. Civiletti informed him that the materials were not of "historical interest" because "even today, the materials remain substantially related to continuing investigations...I do want you to know that no reference to JACK RUBY has been discovered in the materials which are the subject of this appeal." [Ltr. Office of Deputy Attorney General 5.8.78 re: DEA/FOIA/Req#77-492-F]
After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy RUBY did not deny that he was in touch with Paul Roland Jones in Chicago. Paul Roland Jones admitted he was a member of the syndicate during this period. In late January 1948, Paul Roland Jones, who was described as a "Dangerous Public Enemy" by the FBI, was convicted of Conspiracy to Import Narcotics and sentenced to three years in prison. An additional two years were added when his appeal on the bribery charges was denied. Released in 1952 Paul Roland Jones returned to Dallas and managed several taverns for the syndicate. In 1953 Paul Roland Jones was involved in the sale of worthless uranium stock. By 1960 he had become connected with a phoney cancer clinic. Paul Roland Jones lived in Birmingham, Alabama, but made frequent trips to Dallas.
In December 1947 JACK RUBENSTEIN changed his name to JACK RUBY. In early 1948, when Paul Roland Jones went to prison, RUBY moved to Dallas. After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy RUBY admitted he "came to Dallas because of connections with the Chicago crime syndicate." [WC Ltr. Hoover to Rankin 6.2.64] Later in 1948 Eva Rubenstein moved to California and RUBY took responsibility for the management of The Silver Spur Club.
LEWIS J. McWILLIE
RUBY contacted Lewis J. McWillie who helped manage the gambling interests of the syndicate in Dallas. Lewis J. McWillie was born at Kansas City, Missouri, May 4, 1908. At age 16 he was arrested for stealing a car and sentenced to two years at a boys reformatory. Lewis J. McWillie became a professional gambler, who worked river boats up and down the Mississippi. The FBI described him as a "murderer." [FBI PX-44216 12.5.63] In 1942 he worked for Benny Bickers, and Benny "the Cowboy" Binion, at the Top of the Hill Casino, located just outside the Dallas City limits. [HSCA V9 para. 1153; Lt. Butler, Kefauver Committee test; WCE1692; WCD 686d] Benny Binion had controlled gambling in Dallas ever since his rival was executed in gangland fashion. Benny Binion had been arrested for murder and possession of a sawed-off shotgun. Benny Binion left Dallas in 1948 and moved to Las Vegas where he became associated with West Coast mob figures Mickey Cohen and Jack Dragna. Jack Dragna was frequently referred to as the Al Capone of Los Angeles and was closely associated with Johnny Rosselli. In 1951 the State of Nevada granted Binion a gaming license, and he became a casino operator. [Reed, Ed, Ovid Demaris, The Green Felt Jungle, Trident Press, NY, 1963 pgs. 66, 84, 104, 184]
McWILLIE AND BENNY BINION
In 1978 Lewis J. McWillie was questioned about his association with Benny Binion and any possible connection between gambling in Las Vegas and Dallas.
Q. Did you know Benny Binion in 1947?
A. Knew him to see him.
Q. Who did you work for in the 1940's?
A. I worked for Ivy Miller and Red Scarborough.
Q. Did you know that Miller and Scarborough worked for Benny Binion in a numbers operation?
A. No I didn't.
Q. Did you know Harry Urban?
A. Didn't know him intimately. I knew him to speak to him.
Q. Did you know he was a partner of Benny Binion?
Q. Prior to your present employment (in 1978), where did you work?
A. Binion's Horse Shoe Club in Las Vegas. [HSCA V5 pgs. 2, 22, 57, 65]
RUBY AND MARCELLO
RUBY was associated with the MARCELLO family soldiers, or capos, in Dallas. These men included R.D. Matthews (born July 26, 1920, in Aspermont, Texas), Joe Civello, (born January 2, 1902; died January 1970), Joe Campisi (born October 11, 1918, Dallas), and Sam Campisi (born May 19, 1938), and Ralph Paul (born December 17, 1899, Kiev, Russia).
Lewis J. McWillie introduced RUBY to Russell Douglas Matthews. When R.D. Matthews was seven he moved to Dallas. He served in the Marine Corps from December 1941 to October 1945, after which he returned to Dallas. [HSCA V9 par 1054] By the late 1940's R.D. Matthews was actively engaged in criminal activity in Dallas. He was described in one FBI report as a burglar, armed robber, narcotics pusher and murderer. Another described him as armed and dangerous, and stated that he had been known to carry firearms and to use explosives in the past. In 1949 R.D. Matthews was arrested for burglary and in 1950 for having violated the Federal Narcotics Act.
Ralph Paul was most closely associated with RUBY. An employee of the Carousel Club testified: "If anybody gave JACK money, he would probably got it from Paul. He was a silent partner who passed on to him some of that cash." [HSCA V9p242] Ralph Paul, a Russian-Jewish immigrant whose name was Ralph Bielapolski, came to Dallas in 1947 from the South Bronx where he owned a fruit stand. Ralph Paul told the FBI that he had worked 16 hours a day for 25 years at this stand for very low wages. Yet when he came to Dallas he had amassed a considerable amount of capital; enough to purchase several nightclubs. [WCD 4 p466; HSCA V9 para. 1271] CARLOS MARCELLO was in the tomato growing and marketing business when Ralph Paul owned a fruit stand. CARLOS MARCELLO needed frontmen to invest his illegal earnings in legitimate businesses. The brother of Ralph Paul, Louis Paul, was President of the Pleasant Finance Company of Lodi, New Jersey. Frank Laduca was the manager of Pleasant Finance. [FBI tel from Newark #44-443 to Dallas 6.3.64] In 1952 RUBY took Ralph Paul on as a silent partner. By 1952 the MARCELLO family had gained control of organized crime in Dallas.
Ralph Paul was a partner of Joseph Campisi. [FBI report filed 11.24.63 Dallas, DC 44-1639, Lee and R.M. Barrett] Joseph Campisi attended high school with R.D. Matthews. In 1944 Joe Campisi was arrested for a murder that involved the shooting of an employee of Campisi's, who allegedly drew a knife on him. A Dallas County Grand Jury believed Joe Campisi had acted in self-defense. In 1947 Joe Campisi and his brother Sam Campisi bought the Idle Hour Bar in Dallas. This was the year the Campisis first met RUBY. In 1957 the Campisi brothers bought the Egyptian Lounge from John Grizzaffi; an associate of RUBY'S. John Grizzaffi, a native of Dallas, was mentioned in the Jones-Butler tapes. Employees of the Egyptian Lounge included men like Peter Piccola, who was known to the FBI as a bookmaker. [FBI 44-1639 FD-302 with P J Piccola 4.24.63 Dallas, Lee & Barrett] Other associates RUBY and Joe Campisi had in common included Lewis J. McWillie, Benny Binion and James R. Todd. [HSCA V5 para. 908] The FBI reported: "On February 17, 1959, Special Agents (Deleted) and (Deleted) observed Dallas police character and known gambler (Deleted) at the Egyptian Lounge, which is owned and operated by Joe and Sam Campisi. The connection between (Deleted) and the Campisis was not known. On May 14, 1959, Special Agents (Deleted) and (Deleted) observed Dallas-Fort Worth gambler (Deleted) at the Egyptian Lounge. On August 18, 1959, Special Agent (Deleted) observed (Deleted) and his family at the Egyptian Lounge. (Deleted) was observed in conversation with (Deleted) and (Deleted). A newspaper article in The Dallas Morning News on November 23, 1959, stated that suspected mafia adherent Charles Vincent Saterino, FBI No. 497185, had died on November 21, 1959. Among the pallbearers were Charles Civello, brother of Joseph Francis Civello, John Ross Patrono and Joe and Sam Campisi. These same individuals attended the funeral of the of the father of Pete Piccola during the same week. On November 22, 1961, while contacting Sam Campisi on another matter, Special Agent (Deleted) observed (Deleted) enter the Egyptian Restaurant and engage in what appeared to be a guarded conversation with (Deleted). He left shortly thereafter. On March 27, 1962, Special Agents (Deleted) and (Deleted) observed Joseph Francis Civello at the Egyptian Lounge apparently waiting for an order of pizza to be filled. The recent robbery of Sam Campisi was discussed with Civello. On January 31, 1963, Special Agents (Deleted) and (Deleted) observed known Dallas gambler (Deleted) in the Egyptian Lounge in contact with (Deleted). On August 7, 1963, (Deleted) advised Special Agent (Deleted) that numerous known bookmakers and dice hustlers frequent the Egyptian Lounge on a daily basis. (Deleted) no information had been received from any reliable source that the Campisis were involved at present or in the recent past in any illegal activity." [The rest of this document was highly deleted. [FBI Dallas 12-7792-2] In 1967 a friend of Joe Campisi estimated that each brother netted $100,000 per year from their restaurant business. That year the Campisis aided the promotion in Dallas of gambling junkets sponsored by the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. From January 1967 to the day he died on December 23, 1970, Campisi was the subject of a FBI Anti- Racketeering Investigation. On April 4, 1968, the FBI in Dallas requested permission to review the Campisis telephone toll records based on their associate with Joseph Civello. In 1970 an FBI report related an assertion of an informant that Joe Campisi was close with both State judges and members of the Dallas County District Attorney's office. He allegedly had contacts within the Dallas Police Department. Joe Campisi was linked with both gambling and bookmaking activities in the Dallas area, but had never been arrested for any gambling activities. Joe Campisi's technical characterization in Federal law enforcement records was an organized crime member whose affiliation had, at one point, been termed: 'Definite.'" In the 1970's the MARCELLOS often appeared at Campisi family affairs. [Earl Golz, MARCELLO in Dallas, Iconoclast 11.2l. 76; Mike Graugnard, MARCELLO, Iconoclast 10.15, 29, 1976, 11.5.76] Sam Campisi died on December 23, 1970. The FBI recorded the license numbers of all out of state cars attending his funeral. [FBI 92-9792-25] It concluded: "A review of the list of registrations obtained from cars attending subject's funeral reflected the following individuals, members of a local group who allegedly control organized crime in the Dallas area, were noted and were personally observed being present at the Subject's funeral."
The MARCELLO family made an alliance with Dallas mafia boss Joseph Francis Civello, whom MARCELLO knew from Baton Rouge. In 1938 Civello served four years of a 15 year federal prison sentence for having participated in a heroin and cocaine distribution conspiracy that reached from Dallas, to New Orleans, to Chicago. In late 1962 the Immigration and Naturalization Service began proceedings to deport Joseph Francis Civello. The FBI: "The Campisi's are members of a small group of aliens in Dallas closely associated with Civello, deceased, former LCN leader in Dallas. The subject and brother operate the Egyptian Restaurant, 5610 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas. In addition to the above association, the subjects have been connected with gambling activities in Dallas." [FBI DL 92-9792 9.22.70]
LEWIS J. MCWILLIE, THE CAMPISIS, AND THE CIVELLOS
The HSCA questioned Lewis J. McWillie about his, and RUBY'S, connection to the Campisis and the Civellos:
Q. Did you know Joe Civello?
A. I knew him, yes. I didn't know him intimately but I knew him to speak to him.
Q. Did RUBY know him?
A. No. I don't think he knew him.
Q. Did JACK RUBY know Joe or Sam Campisi?
A. I'm sure he did.
Q. Do you recall having dinner with JACK RUBY and the Campisis in 1954 or 1955?
A. I don't recall but its possible.
Q. Do you know of any business dealings between RUBY and the Campisis?
A. No. they would have no business dealings with JACK RUBY. [HSCA V3p73, V9 para.1153]
THE CAMPISIS AND THE CIVELLOS
When Joe Campisi was questioned by the HSCA he admitted a close connection to Joseph Francis Civello: "I knew the whole Civello family, I had known them all of my life...They owned Civello's Liquor Store, and they had imported foods like pastas and cheese...and at that time we started buying provolone cheese from them...we were just like kinfolks, you know. Just like we are, real close friends, like being cousins, you know."
Q. Did you ever discuss with Joe Civello the fact of his having been arrested at Appalachia?
A. Never have. [HSCA V9 para. 1153]
In November 1957 a meeting of the commission took place in Apalachin, N.Y. A FBI informant reported that purpose of this meeting was to "collect money to back Fidel Castro and help Castro overthrow Batista. (Deleted) said that apparently Batista did not let the Italian racket element get into gambling or wanted too large a share of the profits from the gambling operation. Castro, according to (Deleted), was being used as a tool to sway Batista's opinion. He said that when the Italian racket element was entrenched in Cuba, they would take over all gambling operations. (Deleted) did not believe that Castro had knowledge as to why the Italian racket element was backing him, and also, based on recent news articles, that Castro had gotten out of hand." [FBI PH 92-444 12.58 - Bruno's FBI File]
In 1953 RUBY obtained an interest in a third nightclub, the Vegas Club. His partner in this venture was Joe Locurto. An FBI report filed in 1953 revealed: "RUBY and Joe Locurto always carried concealed pistols and were in constant association with Jack Todd, a well known Dallas hoodlum." In July 1953 Joe Locurto was convicted of having violated the White Slave Act and having committed unnatural sexual acts. The RUBY/Locurto partnership ended when Locurto went to prison. [FBI 287527 information concerning memo 6.11.64 JWH/jh/cac. NR 6.19.64; FBI pre-1963 traces on RUBY Item 3] From 1953 to 1955 the Vegas Club was managed by Ken McDermitt. Ken McDermitt later became "State Supervisor of the Arizona State Bureau of Identification."
James Robert Todd (born December 10, 1919, Groesbeck, Texas), was described as "knowing CARLOS MARCELLO on a first name basis." During World War II James Robert Todd was employed by North American Aviation. In 1948 Jack Todd became part of the Hollis Green Gang which specialized in burglaries of pharmaceutical houses and large drug-stores for narcotics and cash. [HSCA V9 para. 1324, 1054] Jack Todd worked closely with R.D. Matthews at this time. The son of Jack Todd, Gerald Todd, was involved in a shootout with Joe Campisi in 1973. The two business partners had a falling out. The HSCA questioned Lewis J. McWillie about RUBY'S association with Jack Todd:
Q. Did JACK RUBY know Jack Todd?
A. I'm sure he did.
Q. Did you know Todd?
A. Jack Todd, I knew him...To tell you the truth, I don't know what Jack Todd did. He was in Cuba, too, just came over visiting. I saw him once or twice. [HSCA McW Dep.]
The HSCA also questioned Campisi about Todd:
Q. Do you know Jack Todd?
A. Yes sir.
Q. And how long have you known Mr. Todd?
A. Oh, ever since we were 15, 16 years old.
Q. What business, if any, have you had with Todd?
A. No business, none.
THE DALLAS MOB
Both Jack Todd and R.D. Matthews were questioned by the HSCA. Both admitted knowing the Campisis, Johnny Grizzaffi, the Civellos, and RUBY. They shared common gambling connections that included bookmakers Benny Binion and John Eli Stone. R.D. Matthews admitted having known "Izzy" Miller, the former employer of Lewis McWillie, while Jack Todd admitted knowing Paul Roland Jones and Joe Locurto. [HSCA Depo see V9p126 index]
AMERICAN GUILD OF VARIETY ARTISTS
In August 1953 an FBI agent witnessed RUBY threaten the Branch Manager of the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). RUBY said he would kill the man if he didn't stop asking him to pay his entertainers in advance. The AGVA representative explained that he had been pistol whipped by Joe Locurto, and he heard that RUBY was a hoodlum who had experienced financial difficulties because of the Kefauver investigation.
JAMES HENRY DOLAN, MARCELLO AND TRAFFICANTE
By 1958 the Dallas mob controlled AGVA. James Henry Dolan, an associate of CARLOS MARCELLO and TRAFFICANTE, became a top AGVA official. [HSCA V9 para 924] James Henry Dolan was discharged from the Army in 1945. In 1951 James Henry Dolan was arrested and convicted for impersonating an Internal Revenue Service agent. In 1952 James Henry Dolan violated his probation when he rigged a poker game in Denver, Colorado. In 1953 James Henry Dolan was sent to federal prison where he remained until 1956. From 1958 to 1961 James Henry Dolan was employed by AGVA. An FBI report stated: "In late 1960 or 1961, George Fuqua and James Henry Dolan were introduced to SANTOS TRAFFICANTE JR., through TRAFFICANTE'S associate, Milo Bell. The purpose of the contact was to ascertain if Milo Bell and TRAFFICANTE could use James Henry Dolan and George Fuqua in the collection business, or as enforcers for TRAFFICANTE. TRAFFICANTE allegedly told these two Dallas people that he wanted a 'bolito man knocked-off and roughed-up as this man was holding out on his collections and owed TRAFFICANTE some money'...Dolan and Fuqua subsequently 'knocked off' this man and got about $7,000." In February 1961 James Henry Dolan was arrested in Dallas for breaking into a pay telephone. James Henry Dolan had placed a call to Milo Bell. In March 1963 it was learned that James Henry Dolan had been on a trip to New Orleans and had spoken to "CARLOS" (last name unknown, possibly MARCELLO), a "big time New Orleans hoodlum." On May 10, 1963, James Henry Dolan was stopped by the New Orleans police, and was found to be in the company of Dimitry Sack, who frequented the Town and Country Restaurant, which was owned by Joseph A. Poretto. James Henry Dolan was also associated with R.D. Matthews, a frequent visitor to his AGVA office. On May 29, 1963, Dallas Police Intelligence advised that James Henry Dolan was in contact with R.D. Matthews, allegedly having discussed the need for $2,000 to gain the release of their associate, George Fuqua. A 1964 investigation of telephone calls made by James Henry Dolan indicated a call was made to the American Bonding Agency in Chicago, which was operated by mobster Irwin Weiner. A 1964 FBI report listed Nofio Pecora as a known associate of James Henry Dolan's. Another FBI report placed the partner of James Henry Dolan, George Fuqua, at a restaurant located across the street from the Tropical Tourist Courts Trailer Park.
DOLAN AND RUBY
When the FBI interviewed James Henry Dolan circa December 1963, he stated he had known RUBY since 1957 and had seen him quite often when he worked for AGVA.
According to the HSCA, in 1953 RUBY was a confidential source for Kefauver Committee investigators. [HSCA V9 para. 11208] RUBY was not mentioned during the Kefauver investigation, and this researcher was unable to locate any paperwork that substantiated this.
In 1953 Senator Estes Kefauver named CARLOS MARCELLO as the boss of the Louisiana mafia. As a result, the Immigration and Naturalization Service issued an order of deportation against CARLOS MARCELLO. It cost MARCELLO a million dollars in legal fees to fight this order. In 1956 the first of MARCELLO'S deportation hearings began. MARCELLO'S strategy involved pay-offs to members of the Italian Parliament so that Italy would not accept him should he be deported. This international bribery brought CARLOS MARCELLO to the attention of the CIA, which was also funneling money to Italian politicians.
Throughout 1953 RUBY was involved in gambling activities and confidence games. His partner was Harry Hall. Harry Hall, (Harry Schwartz), was described an a big-time swindler associated with Johnny Rosselli. Harry Hall's uncle, Marty Schwartz, was a dealer at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. Andrew Armstrong, the janitor at the Carousel Club, stated: "JACK would tell me stories about Marty Schwartz when Marty and he did this or he and Marty did that...about things that happened in Chicago." [HSCA V9 para. 886] On December 11, 1963, the FBI interviewed Harry Hall. He told them that he had known RUBY from childhood, since he had been raised in the same neighborhood in Chicago. Harry Hall claimed he had not seen RUBY for eight years and to his knowledge, RUBY had never visited Las Vegas. The FBI marked this document "no leads."
RUBY'S close friend, Alex Gruber, told the HSCA that Barney Ross had introduced him to Harry Hall in Chicago, then he ran into him at several sporting events. Alex Gruber maintained he did not know that Harry Hall was connected with RUBY. [HSCA V9 p485; FBI 44-1639-1841, 2125; USSS File #4,3-601.0 - 454; FBI 105-82555- NR. 12.11.63; FBI # Los Angeles-44-895-WJN; mjg; HSCA V9 p251]
In Dallas, Harry Hall joined the Petroleum Club where he fleeced oil barons Clint Murchison, Sr., and H.L. Hunt. The FBI discounted the information supplied by Harry Hall about having worked with RUBY, despite the fact that Harry Hall was an FBI and Treasury Department informant who had provided the Treasury Department with reliable information in the past. Harry Hall wanted to trade his information for release from Federal prison where he was incarcerated for fraud.
In 1978 the HSCA questioned Lewis J. McWillie about Harry Hall:
Q. Who were some of the oil men who gambled at the Top of the Hill?
A. Billy Byers, he played out there. Big oilmen, H.L. Hunt, he played out there.
Q. Did you know Harry Hall?
A. I knew a dealer years and years ago by the name of Harry Hall. Hell, he's been dead 30, 40 years.
ISRAEL AND SOUTH AFRICA
RUBY traveled to Israel in 1955. While visiting "known racketeers and gamblers" in San Francisco that year he told Harry Hall: "After I leave here I'm going to Florida to buy a load of contraband (arms) to send to Israel." RUBY'S notebook contained the phone number TE-8-7475. This number belonged to A. Snyman of New York City. The NY FBI attempted to contact A. Snyman by telephone, and personal visit, for several days without success. The agents went to her apartment and knocked on her door. As they were leaving A. Snyman appeared in the lobby. She told them that she had diplomatic immunity, and they should contact her through Ambassador M. I. Botha of the South African Mission to the United Nations. Had RUBY been involved in an arms deal between Israel and South Africa? The FBI determined the number in question was JE-8-7475 rather than TE-8-7475.
The Warren Commission re-examined the entry and determined it was TE-3-7475. This number was "possibly identified with a Fort Worth resident, Carl M. Applewhite, a cousin of well know singer and nightclub operator, Charles M. Applewhite." [FBI 44-24016-1550] Charles M. Applewhite's name appeared in RUBY'S telephone book.
JAMES ECKFORD BREEN
James Breen, (born January 4, 1928), was arrested in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1942 and 1943. He became a welder's helper around this time. James Breen was arrested in 1944 in San Francisco, when he was 16. He was charged with illegally wearing a Navy jacket and cap. James Breen enlisted in the Army in 1947, but went AWOL a year later. In 1952 he was arrested for marijuana. In 1954 he was in Seagoville Federal Correctional Institute, and in 1955 he was arrested in Los Angeles on suspected narcotics act violations. In December 1955, the San Francisco Office of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics attempted to locate James Breen and Eileen Curry with a view in mind of possibly using these individuals in connection with a narcotics investigation, then in progress. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics could not locate them. James Breen was arrested in Long Beach, California, in December 1956. In March 1957 he was arrested in Signal Hill, California. In December 1959 James Breen was charged with auto theft and in 1961 he was charged with running a house of prostitution in Los Angeles. In 1962 James Breen was suspected of cultivating marijuana. He was arrested again May 29, 1962 in Anaheim, California. He was arrested March 9, 1963, in Los Angeles, and on March 28, 1963. The FBI "Breen was former FUDE, Los Angeles origin."
EILEEN ELLIS CURRY
In 1940 Eileen Curry was sent to the Ventura School for girls for five years. In 1943 Eileen Curry went to work for the War Department but by 1947 she was in the Oregon State Penitentiary. She was released in 1949. In 1951 Eileen Curry was arrested for lewd vagrancy. Curry was arrested for vagrancy on June 23, 1956 in Dallas. Eileen Curry was "lodged in a motel frequented by colored patrons...where she plied her trade as a prostitute." On October 18, 1956, she was arrested in Louisville, Kentucky. On October 30, 1956, Eileen Curry was charged with passing a bad check in Indianapolis, Indiana. She pleaded guilty and served one month in jail. She was arrested on January 3, 1957, in Cleveland, Ohio. She was arrested on December 13, 1958. On May 16, 1959, Eileen Curry was sent to prison in Ohio for prostitution. She told authorities there that "she started prostitution at an early age and has known no other measure of making a living, nor has she any intention of changing her behavior pattern." She was released on March 19, 1960. She was arrested on November 7, 1960, in Cleveland. She was arrested on August 7, 1961, and on September 29, 1961, in Cleveland. That year Assistant United States Attorney Burt W. Griffin indicted her for violations of the White Slavery Act. She plead guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison beginning on October 25, 1961. Click HERE to see a photo of Eileen Curry.
RUBY AND CURRY AND BREEN
After November 22, 1963, the Los Angeles Field Office of the FBI located a reference to JACK RUBY, James Breen and Eileen Curry in its files. Titled "James Breen, Miscellaneous Information Concerning" the file related that on March 18, 1956, Eileen Curry requested that the Los Angeles FBI Office have S.A. Ambrose K. Law call her collect at Dallas, Texas. The rest of the text read "She had been interviewed twice for information she might furnish in the case entitled 'Unknown Subject, Abraham Davidian - Victim. Obstruction of Justice.' She was acting, as was James Breen, as an informant for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Los Angeles Police Department Vice Squad. She indicated she had formerly been with Stanley Adams, a Subject in this case. Bunny at that time was operating a house of prostitution in Los Angeles on a call girl basis. She furnished no information of particular significance. James Breen was interviewed two or three times as a possible Potential Criminal Informant, but both were constantly in trouble with local authorities and contact could not be maintained with them. Bunny, on March 18, 1956, last, advised that she and James had jumped a local bond on narcotics charges about the first of this year and gone to Dallas. James was driving a cab for City Transportation Company and was apparently operating in some branch of the prostitution racket. Bunny was told by James he had a connection with a large narcotics set up operating between Mexico, Texas and the East. James made several trips and returned. He purposely did not give details so she could not get into trouble. He took his clothes about three weeks ago and said he was going on another trip. She heard later that he left her, but heard also from a bondsman named (Deleted) this was not true, and that James had contacted him, and asked him to look out for her in case she got into any trouble. She believes James made the connection to narcotics ring through a former associate from Seagoville Prison where James served time. In some fashion James got the okay to operate through JACK RUBY of Dallas. Several days ago, one Jack, (LNU) of Houston came to see Bunny with one Gordon Winter of Houston, a friend of hers and James. Jack told her that James was trying to hijack a 300 to 400 thousand dollar load of narcotics from Mexico and was going to try and go with another distribution setup...Bunny fears James has been killed or kidnapped and wanted to talk to someone she could trust." [FBI 62-103069 3.22.56; WCE 1762; FBI LHM, Cleveland, Ohio, 6.9.64; FBI 44-24016-1160; FBI 44-24016-1180; FBI 44-24016,1492, 5158, 610]
On February 11, 1964, Eileen Curry was arrested in Chicago for running a house of prostitution. The FBI received this information in March 1964. The Dallas FBI: "Since the trial of JACK RUBY is now in progress no action with be taken UACB to locate Curry and Breen for interview... Following references in Dallas files are identifiable with Breen: 137-440 (Potential Criminal Informant file on Eileen Curry). 31-7327.31-6047, 31-7294, 91-1185, Ser. 16, 29, 52, 79, 135, 91-1184 Ser. 7." In June 1964 the Warren Commission asked the FBI to locate Eileen Curry and James Breen. The FBI interviewed Lieutenant Martin P. Cooney who was in charge of the Bureau of Special Investigations of the Cleveland Police Department. He told the FBI that Eileen Curry operated a brothel in Chicago and gave the agents the address. He said he considered Eileen Curry to be unreliable and would not place any credence in anything she said unless her statements could be corroborated from at least two other sources. Lieutenant Martin P. Cooney considered her "one of the most dangerous and unreliable woman he had ever dealt with."
On June 11, 1964, Curry told the FBI: "Approximately four weeks after their arrival in Dallas, James Breen brought JACK RUBY to the apartment house where he introduced RUBY to Curry as a friend of his. A few days after this first meeting, JACK RUBY, accompanied by a white male, who was short and dark, drove to the Curry apartment. They waited outside of the apartment until joined by James Breen, at which time they departed. Later that day James Breen told Curry that he had accompanied RUBY to an unnamed location, where he had been shown moving pictures of various border guards both Mexican and American. [RUBY had the telephone number of a Mexican Government Official in one of the notebooks taken from his home by the FBI in late November 1963]. In addition, included among the movies were films of persons described by James Breen as various narcotics agents as well as persons who were contacts on the Mexican side."
The FBI contacted the parents of James Breen and was told that he had been adopted, and the Breen family had experienced considerable difficulty with him. Mrs. Breen had not heard from him for 14 years. In July 1964, as a result of a telephone conversation between Burt Griffin and FBI Agent Hines, the Warren Commission asked the FBI to discontinue its attempt to find James Breen.
The Warren Commission never called Eileen Curry as a witness, despite the fact that the files of the FBI on RUBY listed Eileen Curry as one of his associates: "Information concerning RUBY'S association with Eileen Curry appears on page five of a nine page memorandum, undated, but block stamped, April 4, 1956, submitted by S.A. Emmet J. Murphy, captioned (deleted). The memo is a former Dallas Office form DL-3, which was used at the time for recording preliminary information to form the basis for opening a Potential Criminal Informant file. RUBY'S name appears on page five, paragraph J, under the sub-caption, 'Criminal Associates' The basis for inclusion of RUBY as an associate of the Potential Criminal Informant was apparently an airtel dated March 20, 1956, from the Los Angeles Office to the Director (deleted)." [FBI 44-1639-4518] Information about James Breen was withheld from a document declassified in 1994. [NARA RIF 124-10099-10249]
James Breen and Eileen "Bunny" Curry were career criminals. They were apprehended often and became informants. What was the FBI waiting for? A nun or a rabbi to come forward with information on Ruby? Curry's story corroborated the earlier allegations that RUBY was involved in narcotics. The FBI was afraid to interview Breen.
RUBY AND JESSE CURRY
In 1956 RUBY traveled to Hot Springs, Arkansas, a center of gambling and vice in the South. RUBY was accompanied by Jesse Curry, the Chief of Police of Dallas, Texas. After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a friend of RUBY'S, Eli Schulman, told the FBI that "RUBY had many Dallas cops for friends - in fact he took the Chief of Police to Hot Springs Arkansas, when I don't know." [FBI 44-24016-275; C.Ray Hall WCE 3; FBI DL 44-1639; LL R: BC D-cover page] The contents of a cable regarding "Possible Association Between Jesse Curry Chief of Police and JACK RUBY" stated: "(Deleted) advised that (Deleted) born Poland Texas [Ralph Paul?] November 30, 1963, (deleted) stated that he had information indicating that the correspondent, name not known, of Indian publication Blitz was in Dallas November 22, 1963, and apparently obtained documents stating that Police Sheriff Curry and RUBY were members of the 'MB SESIDE.' (Deleted) was to verify this information December two next and (deleted) also indicated this information would be published in the near future by Blitz which he described as an anti-American publication. The list of non-U.S. nationals accredited as correspondents and representatives of information media by the U.N. as October 31, 1963, lists Ramesh Sanghvi of Indian nationality as associated with Blitz. (Deleted) Born India Texas." [FBI 44-24016-610]
JOSEPH 'CHUBBY' MALONE
Joseph 'Chubby' Malone, who operated Duffy's Tavern, a known hangout for prostitutes, advised the FBI that he met RUBY at the Ellis Park Race Track in Kentucky in 1957 or 1958. RUBY was with the late Lieutenant Ellis Joseph, "who had been a member of the Louisville Police Department from about 1934 until permitted to resign in 1952 as outgrowth of charges alleging theft... Lieutenant Ellis Joseph told him that RUBY was a syndicate man out of Chicago." [FBI 44-1639-1086] "While at Ellis Park, Ellis Joseph introduced him to a JACK RUBY whom he recalled is the same individual whose photograph has recently appeared in newspaper publicity in connection with the shooting of LEE HARVEY OSWALD. Joseph told him that RUBY was 'a syndicate man out of Chicago.' Joseph Malone did not know where RUBY was living at that time. Lt. Ellis Joseph appeared to be well acquainted with RUBY, and both remained together during the races at the track on that particular day. Joseph Malone advised that Ellis Joseph told him that RUBY was a 'good friend' and had some 'hot' horses, that is, tips on winners, allegedly on the horse that were being bet by the 'syndicate' on that date. Joseph Malone advised that RUBY had a number of winners that date. RUBY was accompanied by an unrecalled white male, age 45 to 50, of Jewish extraction. This individual remained with RUBY and Ellis Joseph on that occasion. Joseph Malone has had no contact with RUBY since that time. [The following was crossed out] Joseph Malone noted that from 1956 to 1958 he was putting down large wagers with Louisville bookmakers on behalf of Courtney Snider, a Jeffersonville, Indiana, bookmaker. Courtney Snider was then alleged to have been handling 'syndicate' business interests from Evansville, Indiana." [NARA #124-10099-10290]
MEYER LANSKY, RUBY AND THE COLONIAL INN
When the war ended, Meyer Lansky opened a gambling house within easy reach of Miami. In 1946, The Colonial Inn opened it's doors in Hallandale, Florida. The Sheriff of Hallandale, Walter Clark, operated a numbers racket from his office and controlled slot machines throughout Broward County. His deputies protected Meyer Lansky's holdings. Frank Erickson, Joe Adonis, CARLOS MARCELLO, SANTO TRAFFICANTE, Sr., Frank Costello all had points in the Colonial Inn. The profits from the Colonial Inn were invested in the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, then under construction. Meyer Lansky and "Bugsy" Siegel supervised the construction of the Flamingo. The Colonial Inn closed in 1948, but with the cooperation of corrupt law enforcement officials, other establishments like it flourished.
SENATOR ESTES KEFAUVER DRIVES THE MOB TO CUBA
In 1950 the Flamingo Hotel and the Colonial Inn, along with the names Meyer and Jake Lansky recurred with regularity throughout the Kefauver Hearings. Meyer Lansky admitted having known Frank Costello, Joe Adonis, Frank Erickson, the Fishetti Brothers, Vincent Alo, Anthony Accardo, Jack Dragna, Johnny Rosselli, Doc Stacher and "Trigger-Mike" Coppola. In February 1951 Meyer Lansky was questioned again. Joe Adonis was deported, and Frank Erickson was jailed. [Testimony of Meyer Lansky - Kefauver Hearings] The televised hearings brought so much "heat" on the mob Meyer Lansky could no longer operate with immunity within the United States. The syndicate returned to Cuba where the Authentico Party of Carlos Prio Soccarras was in power. Meyer Lansky wanted to see Carlos Prio Soccarras overthrown and Batista reinstalled. Meyer Lansky had worked with Fulgencio Batista in the early 1930's. He encouraged Fulgencio Batista to run in absentia for the Cuban Senate. [Tad Szulc, The Cuban Invasion, Ballantine Books 1962] As stated in, Batista overthrew Prio on March 10, 1952. Meyer Lansky, however, could not take immediate advantage of the coup. He was in prison for one year. When he was released in 1953 Meyer Lansky invested heavily in Cuba. In 1954, Meyer Lansky moved to Havana, where he became the top syndicate figure. SANTOS TRAFFICANTE Jr. became second in command. It was easy for Meyer Lansky to persuade Fulgencio Batista to legalize gambling. In 1955 Fulgencio Batista changed the gambling laws to permit a legal casino in any nightclub or hotel worth one million dollars or more. The Cuban Minister of Labor ruled that all pit bosses, stickmen, and dealers, in casinos were skilled technicians who qualified for admission under two year visas. The Cuban Government offered in one way or another to put up a good part of the construction costs for any new casinos. For the $17 million Riviera government-controlled banks loaned $6 million. Meyer Lansky supervised the construction of the Riviera. Within four years the syndicate constructed $50 million worth of gambling casinos; the Riviera - worth $17 million; the Cleveland-mob controlled Hotel Nacional - worth $7 million; the Tropicana - worth $6 million; Capri - a property of the mafia group headed by Charlie "the Blade" Tourine - estimated worth - $5 million; Seville Biltmore - worth $4 million, Deauville - worth $2.5 million and the San Souci - worth $1 million. [Life 3.10.58; NYT 1.12.59]
Meyer Lansky and Fulgencio Batista turned Cuba into the center of gambling, narcotics and vice in the Western Hemisphere. The take was so high that Albert Anastasia, who was the "Chairman of the Board" of Murder Incorporated, tried to take-over Meyer Lansky's empire. TRAFFICANTE hit Albert Anastasia's under-boss, Frank Costello, then hit Albert Anastasia, as he lay in a barber-chair, getting a shave. New York District Attorney Frank S. Hogan named TRAFFICANTE as a suspect in the killing and announced that he wanted to question Meyer Lansky. [NY World Telegram, 1.9.59, "An Anastasia Grab at Cuba Dice Triggered Fate," Paul Meskil; Time 3.2.59]
Meyer Lansky and SANTOS TRAFFICANTE Jr., out of reach of New York District Attorney Frank S. Hogan in Cuba, prospered. The mob's major problem was that Cuba was a banana republic. This meant constant, periodic, changes of government. In order to hedge its bets some elements of the syndicate supported Fidel Castro.
MACK BLANEY JOHNSON
RUBY AND THE COLONIAL INN
According to Mack Blaney Johnson JACK RUBY owned points in Lansky's Colonial Inn. Mack Blaney Johnson (born 1900) informed the FBI of this connection on November 29, 1963: "Blaney Mack Johnson (protect identity), interviewed by S.A. Daniel D. Doyle, claims to have owned interest in Playbrook Club, Miami, Florida, in early 1950's, during which time JACK RUBY held an interest in the Colonial Inn..." The Miami City Directory for 1949 listed a Playbrook Club. It was not listed for any other year.
The Colonial Inn shut down on February 12, 1948, by an injunction by the Broward Court. Miami Office FBI files did not reflect that it ever reopened. Johnson was mistaken about the time he ran the Playbrook Club so he might have been mistaken about the year that Ruby owned points in the Colonial Inn.
In 1975 this researcher located a former Hallandale policeman, Walt Zassler, who had worked for Sheriff Walter Clark. He was familiar with the Colonial Inn operation. He was asked if Jack RUBY or JACK RUBENSTEIN was involved. Walt Zassler stated: "I do remember the name. There was Jack so and so Rubystein and Rubystine...I do remember the name. I don't know if it was the same JACK RUBY, but there was a JACK RUBY involved. I met this guy a long time ago, about 1950. I was indicted by a Grand Jury that came about as a result of the Kefauver Investigation and I went to Alaska."
RUBY AND ARMS SMUGGLING TO CUBA
Mack Blaney Johnson also told the FBI that in the early 1950's he was an independent airplane pilot engaged in flights of cargo from Miami to Havana Cuba: "In this connection he allegedly learned of illegal flights of cargo from Miami to Havana Cuba for the Castro organization in Cuba. JACK RUBY, then known as JACK RUBENSTEIN, was active in arranging these flights. He was part owner of two airplanes used for these purposes. Mack Blaney Johnson subsequently left Miami and purchased substantial share in Havana gaming house, business name unknown, in which one Carlos Prio was principal owner. Carlos Prio, Johnson explains, was within favor of former Cuban leader Batista, but was instrumental in financing and managing accumulation of weapons by pro-Castro forces. Johnson advises one Donald Edward Browder was associated with RUBY in arms smuggling operation. Johnson names one Joe Marrs, Marrs Aircraft, as having contracted with RUBY to make flights to Havana. Leslie Lewis, the former Police Chief of Hialeah, Florida, now possibly pistol instructor, Dade County Florida Sheriffs Department, possessed, according to Johnson, a detailed knowledge of persons involved in flight of weapons to Cuba and has specific knowledge of RUBY participation." [FBI 44-24016-471,76; WCE 3063; FBI 44-24016-75; FBI Report 11.29.63 and 11.30.63 Atlanta; FBI 105-3193; WCE 3063; FBI 44-24016-624; WCD 856; FBI 44-1639-4835]
Johnson stated that: "Carlos Prio, Johnson explains, was within favor of former Cuban leader Batista, but was instrumental in financing and managing accumulation of weapons by pro-Castro forces." This was never true. Johnson was confused on another point.
On November 30, 1963, Mack Blaney Johnson was recontacted by the FBI and shown a photograph of RUBY. Mack Blaney Johnson said he was convinced beyond a doubt the JACK RUBENSTEIN he knew was identical to JACK RUBY. He added that Clifton T. Bowes Jr., a pilot for National Airlines, was familiar with JACK RUBENSTEIN. The FBI claimed a problem with Mack Blaney Johnson's story was that "while there were flights of weapons to Cuba in the early 1950's, noted Castro organization was not active until about 1956." Fidel Castro tried to storm the Moncada on July 26, 1953, and his organization was active before this.
The FBI questioned Leslie Lewis on November 30, 1963. He told the Bureau he was Chief of Hialeah Police Department from May 1947 to September 1947. He never heard of JACK RUBY and had no knowledge whatsoever of persons flying weapons to Cuba. He stated he did not know Edward Browder or Joe Marrs.
Joe Marrs told the FBI on November 30, 1963, "he was a pilot for Eastern Airlines during World War II. Immediately after the war he engaged in selling airplanes and airplane parts in Miami, Florida. He never flew for hire or transported any goods by air to Cuba or otherwise. He had never heard of JACK RUBY and as far as he knows he never saw him prior to RUBY'S appearance on TV last weekend. Concerning Donald Edward Browder, he knew him as Ed Browder, and ex-RCAF Ferry Command pilot who came to Miami about 1945. He described Browder as an individual he shunned due to being a shady promotor and blowhard who was all conversation and no money. Browder spoke of plans to set up an air transport service to South American countries, but to Marrs' knowledge did not succeed in doing so. Marrs has read of Browder's alleged escapades of smuggling, but has no knowledge of them." [FBI 44-24016-594] Investigation in Miami developed that Joe Marrs was a former Eastern Airlines pilot until 1943, when he was dismissed because of ulcers.
CLIFTON T. BOWES
When the FBI questioned Clifton T. Bowes on December 1, 1963, he said he has been "National Airlines pilot for the past 20 years. Says he never heard of JACK RUBY or JACK RUBENSTEIN and certain he has never met him. States never heard of RUBY until recent TV publicity and has no information concerning anyone sending arms to Cuba...Does not know Edward Browder though says he formerly knew a Mack Blaney Johnson as an independent pilot in Miami. Never closely acquainted with Mack Blaney Johnson, but understood Mack Blaney Johnson was ill and hospitalized for some unknown reason several years ago. Last saw Johnson some three years ago. Describes him as rational but highly imaginative, a story teller, and apt to identify himself with unusual situations. He says Johnson particularly imaginative when drinking." [FBI 44-24016-594] Clifton T. Bowes was questioned by this interviewer in 1975. He said Johnson "was an alcoholic who has since died. He died some five or six years ago. Don't know what he died of."
The Dallas SAC determined on December 10, 1963, that the "Investigation appears to indicate information furnished by Johnson is a fabrication in its entirety. No further inquiries in same connection are intended." [FBI 44-1639-1769 to Director] On April 3, 1964, J. Lee Rankin asked that "the allegations of Atlanta informant be fully resolved and reported to the Warren Commission." On April 10, 1964, the SAC Dallas stated that "in view of information in Miami telexs which negated information from Atlanta informant, information in Miami tels has not been submitted in report form to date, and accordingly, President's Commission, while receiving referenced Atlanta report, has not received additional investigation...Suggest Atlanta inform Johnson his identity can no longer be concealed..." The FBI informed Mack Blaney Johnson of this on April 11, 1963. Mack Blaney Johnson told the FBI that Leslie Lewis, Joe Marrs and Clifton T. Bowes were lying due to their having participated in illegal activities. [FBI 44-1639-4835] Mack Blaney Johnson "re-affirmed the truthfulness and accuracy of information heretofore furnished and expressed belief that Lewis, Marrs and Bowes, to serve their own interests, lied concerning their knowledge of, or participation in, weapons smuggling together with JACK RUBENSTEIN'S involvement." The Dallas FBI requested the Atlanta FBI check Johnson, Lewis, Marrs and Bowes criminal and credit records. No derogatory information was uncovered. [FBI 44-1639-4836] Mack Blaney Johnson had told the FBI he had no objection to his name being disclosed for official purposes. On April 13, 1964, the FBI re-interviewed Mack Blaney Johnson. "After detailed interrogation Johnson finally admitted that he could be mistaken about individual he knew as JACK RUBENSTEIN being identical with Subject JACK RUBY. He said individual he knew as JACK RUBENSTEIN described as 5'9" to 5'10", 160 lbs, black hair with full head of hair, hairline not receding, middle 40's, athletic build, was a golfer and resided in the Racket Club in Miami. Johnson also stated Bob Vollmar, of the Records Bureau, City of Miami Police Department and Bill Gould, the owner of the Playbrook Club, are individuals that should know JACK RUBENSTEIN, and were also familiar with the alleged smuggling of guns to Cuba in the early 1950's. Johnson was asked to give a more detailed time of his residence in Miami and his acquaintanceship with JACK RUBENSTEIN, and he stated this was about the time of the Kefauver Investigations. He stated it could have been 1952, or 1953, but had no way of verifying it. Records, Atlanta, Police Department, reflect no record for Mack Blaney Johnson. Credit Bureau records file established August 1961. No derogatory information. Resided in Miami 17 years prior to 1961. Johnson advised that until he suffered a heart attack several years ago he was a pilot, and had a part interest in the Playbrook Club in Miami in the early 1950's. Johnson, also as a pilot, made numerous flights of cargo from Miami to Havana, but stated he never participated in the smuggling of arms. He stated that he had participated in night club activity in Florida, and some of his activities would tend to incriminate him, but he would not go into detail. However, he indicated Playbrook Club had a gambling casino which was closed as a result of the Kefauver investigations, and he also indicated the Colonial Inn was a place where counterfeit money was handled...His wife was present during part of interview and stated she believed he was mistaken concerning the identity of JACK RUBENSTEIN, but reluctant to admit it. However Johnson converses in a rational manner and does not appear to be unstable...Johnson was shown a photograph of Eddie Browder and stated Browder not identical with the Donald Edward Browder he knew in Florida." [FBI 44-1639-4840]
Johnson finally got the message that the FBI was not going to leave him alone until he retracted his statements.
On April 13, 1964, the FBI questioned Robert Vollmar. He said he knew Johnson for many years and he understood Johnson has become an increasingly heavy drinker. He denied having known RUBY etc. and said "that he feels if Johnson has attributed such knowledge to him then Johnson must be 'off the beam.'"
On April 23, 1964, the FBI re-interviewed Mack Blaney Johnson: "During previous interview Johnson picked face photograph of JACK RUBY out of two other pictures as person he knew in Florida by the name of JACK RUBENSTEIN. On April 23, 1964, group of photographs containing full length and face photographs of RUBY were displayed to Johnson. Johnson picked out several photographs as people he thought he had seen before. He picked out both photographs of RUBY as someone he thought he had seen before. He was asked to identify the person, but he could not do so. When finally it was pointed out to him that these were photographs of JACK RUBY he became quite nervous and stated that he possibly did not recognize them because he always saw JACK RUBENSTEIN dressed in a suit and the pictures of RUBY show him dressed in casual clothing...however, although he could not go on the witness stand and state that he was sure they were identical he believes they could be. Johnson also stated that he has never suffered from emotional illness or never been treated for the same. Concerning Browder as W/M, 33-35, (10 to 12 years ago) good looking, 5'9", 155 lbs, black hair, full head of hair, sometimes wore mustache, no glasses, neat dresser, carried German Lugar pistol...Johnson stated Browder was called Don and Eddie and Don Eduardo, but was not of Latin descent. He had no known occupation, but believed Johnson to be smuggler. Johnson stated he saw him a dozen times; several times at Eric Johnson Enterprises, a machine shop located in Miami. He stated Johnson is now in Nassau, Bahamas, and would definitely know Browder, but is not sure if he would know JACK RUBENSTEIN...Johnson does not recall where he first met Rubinstein, but saw him about half dozen times, twice at the Colonial Inn, and once at Sunny Airport. Johnson never saw Browder and JACK RUBENSTEIN together, but heard both mention the other, and believed they were acquainted. JACK RUBENSTEIN was not married. He was not a pilot and did his alleged gun running by boat...In view of Johnson's inability to identify a photograph of RUBY as JACK RUBENSTEIN, and his nervous state when it was pointed out to him his lack of identification, Atlanta feels that Johnson originally furnished this information, not being sure of it and is now reluctant to back away from his original statements. He was given every opportunity to do so, but still maintains he may be correct in his identification. Atlanta recommends that this phase of the investigation be discontinued in as much as all other investigation has failed to back up any of Johnson's story... If Dallas, however, feels that this must be pursued, Atlanta recommended interviewing Browder and Eric Johnson." [FBI 44-1639-4963]
Mack Blaney Johnson furnished an accurate description of Edward Browder. The FBI could not intimidate him for very long, and in the end he stuck to his identification of JACK RUBY as JACK RUBENSTEIN.
EDWARD J. BROWDER
On April 23, 1964, the FBI located Edward J. Browder and interviewed him. Edward Browder denied knowing RUBY, Mack Blaney Johnson, Clifton T. Bowes or Leslie Lewis. He said he had heard of Joe Marrs, but never met him. He also said he did not know a Donald Edward Browder. Donald Edward Browder was known as "Don" Edward Browder among the Cubans he worked with - "Don" as in "Mafia Don," or "Don" meaning "Sir" in Spanish. Johnson thought his name was Donald Edward Browder.
The FBI closed the investigation into Mack Blaney Johnson's charges. On April 30, 1963, the FBI discussed the Mack Blaney Johnson matter with the CIA: "FBI Agent said that this charge regarding RUBY sounded like a lot of nonsense, that the FBI has received many allegations of this sort, regarding RUBY, which have proved to be without foundation. I replied that since the FBI used an informant symbol for this information we have no way of determining the veracity of the source." [CIA 674-297]
WHO WAS EDWARD BROWDER?
Edward J. Browder was born on June 22, 1917, in Amarillo, Texas. The father of Edward J. Browder was Secretary-Treasurer of the Santa Fe Railroad. In March 1942 Edward Browder enlisted in the Army. In November 1942 he was an applicant SO Detroit, Michigan. In February 1943 he was an applicant at the CAA in Washington, D.C. In April 1943 he was a pilot in the SOS Army. In 1944 he worked with British Security Co-Ordination in New York where he was a civilian pilot trainee. HEMMING told this researcher: "He was hired for Latin American operations by William Stevenson, the famous 'Man Called Intrepid.' Hoover allowed the Brits to operate in Latin America." In 1944 Edward Browder became a volunteer pilot for the Royal Air Force.
In 1947 Edward Browder stole a cache of machine guns from an Army base located at Augusta, Georgia. A Federal Warrant was signed that charged Edward Browder with theft of government property and ordered his arrest. After Edward Browder was taken into custody on April 24, 1947, he told the authorities that he was involved in a conspiracy to overthrow President Romulo Betancourt of Venezuela. In December 1947, a Federal Grand Jury in Tulsa, Oklahoma, indicted Browder for unlawfully having exported a P-38 airplane from Tulsa to Havana, Cuba. On February 9, 1948, Browder was charged with conspiracy to smuggle arms from Florida to Cuba, arms which were destined for a revolution in the Dominican Republic against General Raphael Trujillo. A Cuban Government official was named as the instigator of the plot. In March 1948, he was charged with organizing and expedition against a friendly power, from Miami, Florida.
The judges in Miami and Tulsa gave Edward Browder probation, but the judge in Georgia gave him 18 months. Edward Browder served one year in prison and was released in September 1949. Edward Browder returned to Miami, then began to travel around America, getting arrested in 1951 in Los Angeles for bad checks, Denver in 1952 (Inv Fug), and in Tulsa in 1953 for bad checks. In 1954 Edward Browder was involved in PB SUCCESS and was not arrested in the United States that year. The son of Edward Browder, Joseph Browder, was contacted in July 1993. Joseph Browder: "He was one of the people who provided training and some operational support for the air part of the operation. My dad got shot down in that operation. And when the surviving members of the Jacobo Arbenz Government fled, they took some prisoners with them. My dad was in an unofficial prison that the Mexican Government let the Guatemalan exiles run in Mexico. My father was one of the people who worked for the Agency who wound up doing as much free lancing as he was doing Agency work. He spent many years in prison." Edward Browder returned to Miami in 1957 and worked with the 26th of July Movement. He was arrested three times that year.
THE STOLEN CANADIAN BONDS
In 1959 Edward Browder was arrested for possession of $136,000 worth of stolen securities. The FBI was informed by Gene Kligmann that Paul Stevens had attempted to sell his stolen bonds. The FBI contacted Paul Stevens who agreed to set Browder up. The FBI reported: "At approximately 11:05 a.m., March 2, 1959, Stevens and Browder arrived at Mr. Ford's office on the second floor of the First Federal Savings and Loan Bank in downtown Miami. Behind Ford's desk at the time was SA John P. Lenihan, who posed as Mr. Ford. Also in Ford's office at this time was SA Charles Edmiston, who posed as Stevens' contact, Tony, and SA Robert James Dwyer, who posed as Tony's principal, Mr. Martinez...During the course of the negotiations, SA Edminston asked Browder if his Canadian bonds were counterfeit, to which Browder replied, 'No, they sure aren't.' SA Edminston stated if the Canadian bonds were hot they believed they could probably get rid of them through their banking contacts in Cuba. To his, Browder replied, 'Uh, huh,' At one point in the negotiations Paul Stevens stated, referring to Browder's bonds, 'already got his bonds, whether they're hot, cold or indifferent, I don't know, I presume they are warm -- I figure they're a little on the warm side.' Browder did not reply to this comment, and in the course of the negotiations, admit the bonds were stolen." Browder was placed under arrest. The FBI found the telephone number off Morris Ernst in Browder's wallet. The law partner of Morris Ernst represented Frank Costello. [Thomas, E. The Man to See 1991 p92] The FBI also examined Browder's brief case and found more bonds along with a "cocked and load nine millimeter automatic." The FBI found Browder's passport and it indicated that he visited Italy and Zurich, Switzerland, on numerous occasions. The FBI reported: "En route to the FBI office, Browder made the statement he hoped there would be no publicity on his arrest because he pointed out the newspapers consider him a very colorful character and usually embellish his bouts with the law. He stated if he was immediately freed of this charge, the bonds were returned to him, and no publicity resulted from his arrest, he would be willing to cooperate to recover additional bonds. Special Agent Lenihan asked Browder how many additional bonds he thought he might be able to recover and his reply was that he had 80% to 85% chance of recovering $1,770,000.00 worth of Canadian bonds. Special Agent Lenihan queried Browder as to how he might draw out these additional bonds and Browder stated he would have to think about it for a while."
Browder told the FBI that he did not know that the bonds were 'hot.' Browder declined to state where he got the bonds. When Browder was shown photographs of the men suspected of having stolen the Canadian bonds Browder "examined these photographs rather flippantly and often made comments about several of them, ridiculing their facial characteristics, but would not admit being acquainted with them." When the FBI searched Browder's home on March 2, 1959, the FBI found a "contract between Edward Browder, Miami, Florida, President of the Caribbean Development Corporation, and Fidel Castro of the Revolutionary Force of the 26th of July, in which Browder agreed to deliver a 'certain quantity of material,' the material was not named, 'on the high seas,' amounting in value to $40,000."
Edward Browder claimed that the bonds did not come from the national crime syndicate. According to Edward Browder, the July 26th Movement had given him the stolen securities. The available evidence contradicted this. Edward Browder's associate, Paul Hickman, told the FBI that Vito Genovese, a nationally known hoodlum, had advised Edward Browder to "shut-up" about the origin of the bonds. Edward Browder told his business partner, Jesse Vickers, that "Cleveland mob people" were connected with the securities: "Browder mentioned that he was associated with some 'Cleveland people' who told him they did not want him to go to jail on this charge. Browder told Vickers he had told the 'Cleveland people' that Wilber [Browder's bail bondman] was pressing him for bond money and soon thereafter, the 'Cleveland people,' according to Browder, contacted Wilber to tell him not to bother Browder anymore regarding this matter." Jesse Vickers was arrested with Efren Pichardo in 1953.
In 1954 Efren Pichardo was indicted in Miami, Florida, and charged with conspiracy to ship 30 M-1 rifles to Cuba on behalf of Carlos Prio Soccarras. The charges were dropped after Efren Pichardo was indicted in New York, along with his boss, Carlos Prio Soccarras. Efren Pichardo's co-defendants in this case included Marcos Diaz Lanz and Jesse Vickers. Carlos Prio Soccarras had been indicted in December 1953 for the same offense. Contacted in April 1983, Efren Pichardo was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he worked as a bailiff: "I used to know Carlos Prio, yes. Did I know Edward Browder? I think I did, but it's been such a long time ago. Yeah, I knew FRANK STURGIS, I think I was in the revolution with him. Okay, what do you want to know, sir? Who are you?"
During Edward Browder's trial he was asked if he knew national crime syndicate member Sam Mannarino. Edward Browder: "I was introduced to him by one of Carlos Prio's followers, on the assumption that Mr. Mannarino was going to supply some money for arms for some of the Cubans involved in fighting against Batista. I understood that this money came from sources that had gambling concessions in Cuba or slot machines in Cuba that he was trying to protect in the event that Fidel Castro overthrew Batista."
Jose Aleman was a witness against Edward Browder. He was asked if he had any knowledge of an arms deal where Edward Browder had been paid in stocks and bonds by the 26th of July Movement. Jose Aleman, who met Edward Browder in 1951 when both men were involved in smuggling arms to Fidel Castro, answered that he did not.
In April 1960 Edward Browder was convicted on two counts of having received and concealed stolen bonds. He received a three year sentence from Judge Emmett Choate. Judge Choate gave Edward Browder a week to "tie up loose ends" before sending him to prison. Edward Browder disappeared on December 20, 1961. The FBI began a fugitive investigation in the course of which they subpoenaed Edward Browder's toll records. The FBI discovered Edward Browder was in close contact with Dominick Bartone. In late 1959 Dominick Bartone and Edward Browder formed the Aero Ordinance Corporation, which allegedly dealt in government surplus. When the FBI questioned Dominick Bartone at his office in the Pan American Bank Building, Miami, he stated he did not know where Browder might be located, but he added if he did know where Browder might be located he would not advise any law enforcement agency of Browder's whereabouts...Bartone pointed out that Browder had sued him in Federal Court in Miami in connection with money Bartone stated he owed Browder...Bartone pointed out he thought is was a very stupid thing for Browder to jump bond in this case since he only had a three year sentence to serve." [FBI Miami MM 87-8756 4.4.62 - Lenihan] Later in 1962 Edward Browder turned himself in and began serving his sentence.
A State Department airgram dated May 2, 1967, to the American Embassy, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, reported that on November 24, 1964, Edward Browder leased a military aircraft in the name of a fictitious company, flew the plane to Port-au-Prince, and left it there. The airgram reported that Edward Browder cashed a $24,000 check signed by Clemard Joseph Charles.
THE HSCA INTERVIEWS BROWDER
Edward Browder was interviewed by the HSCA in January 1978 at the Federal Penitentiary at MacNeill Island, Washington, where he was serving a 25-year sentence for securities violations. The HSCA reported: "During the interview Browder discussed a series of gun running and smuggling operations he was involved in during the 1960's that were intended to result in eventual overthrow, or assassination, of Fidel Castro. Browder said that his work included assistance by the CIA in the form of money and operations. Browder said that during that period he did purchase at least two B-25 planes to be used in 'smuggling operations' that would be used to assist the gun running and raids against Cuba. Browder said he could not recall where he bought the planes. However he said a man named Pedro Diaz Lanz flew one of the planes to him."
George DeMohrenschildt was linked to Clemard Joseph Charles, who was linked to Edward Browder. Edward Browder was linked with Pedro Diaz Lanz, who was linked to STURGIS and HUNT.
BROWDER AND STURGIS
In 1978 I asked STURGIS if he knew Edward Browder. He answered he was "not sure."Joseph Browder told a reporter for the Miami News that his father had worked for STURGIS. When subpoenaed in the course of HUNT v. ajweberman, Joseph Browder denied having linked the men. Joe Browder: "My dad was paroled in the early 1990's and arrested shortly thereafter when he landed a plane in one of the Mexican border towns. He was accused of flying drugs from one part of Mexico to another - grass. They found microscopic marijuana traces. He was tortured by the Mexican Police, and he signed a confession. They stuck a 45 autoloader next to his ear and fired it and blew out one of his ear drums. The powder burn caused a cancer. He still has impressions on his legs from the cattle prods. He was in prison for a year, then exchanged back here. Our government modified his sentence under the sentencing guidelines to some outrageous number of years. He is out of prison now and living in Colorado. There were all sorts of people offering him deals to spring him from Mexico, but he would not talk about his associates. He is not someone who talks. He's still alive."
This researcher asked Joe Browder to put him in touch with his father. He contacted his father: "I spoke with dad. He had already read your book. He really enjoyed it. He's not giving you an interview. There's still too many people around who care. It's still not ancient history. It's not the CIA he is worried about..." The CIA's Office of Security files of Edward Browder were "inadvertently destroyed in 1979 after the moratorium was lifted."
ASSORTED HOODS WHO MAY HAVE KNOWN RUBY
On November 25, 1963, (deleted) advised "during the later 1940's he knew of a racketeer named 'Rubin' around Daytona Beach, Florida, but knew nothing concerning his activities. Pictures of RUBY appear similar to Rubin as he knew him then. Informant suggested the following people should have complete knowledge of Rubin: Mattie Tracy, Daytona, Florida, a bookie, gambler and prostitute procurer. Johnnie Whalen, Daytona. If Whalen is still living, he is probably a night club operator. M.T. Browning, Daytona, Police Department. Tom Johnson, former Chief of Police South Daytona Police Department. Informant advised above people, particularly Whalen and Tracy, were buddies of Batista of Cuba when Batista in this country." [FBI Atlanta 44-1559-2]
Norman "Rough-house" Rothman was born December 26, 1914, in the Bronx, New York and died of a heart attack on October 13, 1985, (201-272,262; OS #354 878). He was the son of Rumanian immigrants, both U.S. citizens.On December 26, 1936, he married Ethel Hurwitz. On September 29, 1941, Norman Rothman was an applicant for Naval Intelligence. On March 14, 1945, joined the United States Army. Norman Rothman was arrested in 1948 in Miami Beach on a charge of bookmaking. In 1951 Norman Rothman came to the attention of the Senator Estes Kefauver and was arrested several times on gambling violations. In December 1952 Rothman was charged with operating a gambling house in the Hotel Albion in Miami Beach, Florida. In 1952 he moved to Cuba and managed the San Souci Casino with SANTO TRAFFICANTE Jr. In 1956 Norman Rothman was charged with Interstate Transportation of Gambling devices when the FBI intercepted a shipment of his slot machines on their way to Cuba. The charges were dropped after the machines were destroyed. Rothman told U.S. Attorney Guilmartin that "he had no intention whatsoever of violating Federal law and that it was his thought that he was permitted to send the equipment out of the country if he so desires."
Sam Mannerino was involved with this shipment. Norman Rothman had become the slot machine king of Havana and was busily dividing up the rest of Cuba among follow gangsters like Mannarino. The FBI reported: "Rothman's gambling activities in Cuba reportedly were backed by the Mannacine brothers from New Kensington, Pennsylvania, (deleted), all LCN figures."
Norman Rothman became the slot-king machine king of Cuba by going into partnership with the brother-in-law of Fulgencio Batista. The CIA reported "During the Batista regime Rothman was supervisor of slot machines in Camaguey province under the national supervisor, Alberto Ardura Moya, who was also one of the owners of the Tropicana nightclub in Havana." By 1956 Norman Rothman had a controlling interest in the Tropicana Casino. In 1958, Alberto Ardura awarded Rothman the concession to operate slot machines in Oriente and Camaguey Provinces in Cuba. Adura told the FBI that in early 1959 he fled Cuba and came to Florida. He had about 300,000 Cuban pesos of his own, and had access to an aggregate of eight million Cuban pesos belonging to Mrs. Fulgencio Batista. Adura was an associate of General Roberto Fernandez Miranda, who was the brother-in-law of Batista. The CIA 20l file on Norman Rothman reflected that he first came to CIA attention in 1958 when he was residing in Dallas, Texas.
THE CANADIAN BOND HEIST
In 1958 Norman Rothman spent considerable time in the United States. On May 3, 1958, $13.5 million in registered bonds, bearer bonds, cash and jewelry was stolen from Brockville Trust and Savings Company, Brockville, Ontario, Canada, by Rene Martin and four companions. Beside the open vault police discovered Rene Martin's bankbook. When Martin was arrested police found a key on his person that opened a lock with the rest of the registered bonds taken in the heist. Martin did not reveal the names of his accomplices and was sentenced to twelve years in prison. Montreal investigators focused on Rene Martin's associate, Giuseppe (Pepe) Cotroni, eastern Canadian rackets figure. When narcotics agents seized Cotroni, they found $10,000 worth of the bonds.
ROTHMAN'S PLAN TO AID 26TH OF JULY MOVEMENT
In August 1958, Nick Jerome, an associate of Norman Rothman, contacted Jose Aleman "late at night and said that it was urgent for Aleman to come with Jerome. Aleman accompanied Jerome in a car to Rothman's residence in Surfside, Florida. Rothman had several hundred Cuban pesos in various denominations. Rothman stated that these pesos were 'phonies.' He proposed that Cuba be flooded with a quantity of these pesos in order to destroy the Cuban economy and hasten the downfall of the Batista Government. Aleman stated that these Cuban pesos looked authentic to him, and that some appeared to be well-worn pesos. Rothman claimed that some of these pesos had been aged to make them look authentic. Rothman said that he would provide millions of such pesos to the 26th of July Movement in return for a small percentage. Aleman, who was not in the 26th of July Movement which was headed by Fidel Castro, told Rothman he would contact appropriate revolutionary leaders to see if they were interested in Rothman's proposition. Aleman sent word to Jose Lanusa, Chief of the 26th of July Revolutionary Movement in Miami, who rejected to proposal. No one else was interested."
JOSE ANTONIO LANUSA: ANALYSIS
Jose Antonio Lanusa was an associate of Edward Browder. [FBI Miami 87-8756 2.23.62 George E. Davis] This was the same Lanusa who has been mucking about with the DRE in previous nodules.
WEAPONS FOR CASTRO
On October 14, 1958, about 317 weapons were stolen from a National Guard Armory at Canton, Ohio. On November 4, 1958, a plane load of guns piloted by Stuart Sutor of Hialeah, Florida, was tracked on radar by the Border Patrol flying from Pennsylvania to West Virginia where the soldier-of-fortune was arrested. The weapons stolen in Ohio were recovered.
What had happened behind the scenes was this: Controni contacted Gabriel and Samuel Mannarino, racket figures in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Gabriel and Samuel Mannarino contacted Norman Rothman who rented a plane for $6,000 to run the guns, and contacted Joseph Merola, a close associate of Carlos Prio. Merola's job was to fly to Pittsburgh to contact Gabriel and Samuel Mannarino's boys about shipping guns to Cuba.
Rothman lined up William W. Rabin to handle the finances. Rabin set up a Swiss Bank account and posted the stolen securities as collateral for a loan. [Miami Herald 3.13.60] Others involved included Austin Young, who was in contact with Rabin and Rothman, and Paul Bert Hickman, an associate of Edward Browder.
Joseph Raymond Merola (201-257804 born October 9, 1925), was a gun-running pilot linked to Edward Browder. Joseph Merola served in the Marines from 1941 to 1945. In the late 1950's he ran arms to Fidel Castro. The CIA described him as a "fast dealer with connections at all levels in many foreign countries. His information is usually very good. He was Batista's personal pilot and was right next to Fidel Castro at the time of the take over." In March 1959 Joseph Merola was involved in an invasion of Panama from Cuba. In May 1959 he was involved in a plot to counterfeit Cuban currency. In February 1961 he was restricted to the Miami area following his conviction on charges of theft of arms from a National Guard Armory. On February 15, 1964, a cleared police contact advised the CIA that three men who had been caught stealing dynamite claimed it was stolen on behalf of Kubarker Joseph R. Merola. The CIA declared that Joseph Merola was not an agent, only a informant: "In an occasional contact of our overt office in Miami since 1961." In November 1972 Joseph Merola began serving a one year sentence for petty larceny in New York City. In November 1974 Joseph Merola was indicted by a Los Angeles County Grand Jury for stock manipulation and fraud. In December 1974 PHILLIPS sent a telex to an unnamed component about Joseph Merola:
1. Regarding Joseph Raymond Merola [201-257804] U.S. citizen please inform (Deleted) the following: Joseph Raymond Merola, an occasional contact of our overt office in Miami since 1961, periodically provides that office with foreign positive intelligence information. It is suggested that (Deleted) be contacted for additional information.
2. (Deleted) Headquarters informed (Deleted) June 1974 that Merola was of operational interest. They requested traces and stated he reportedly worked for (Deleted) in late 1950's. We replied that Mr. Merola had never worked for (Deleted) although we were aware that he had made such claims on number of previous instances.
3. Headquarters relaying for Station use only 20664, January 11, 1974 ,and Director 502254, January 17, 1974, which reports derogatory information on Merola.
4. Merola being processed in the ISR as (Deleted) source. Will advise when registration completed.
5. Please advise local (Deleted) Orlando Batista Viera's occupation as detective is included in category whose operational use is prohibited throughout the intelligence community and ISR policy precludes his registration. However, emphasize to (Deleted) that this fact not intended to prohibit their use of the Subject. Batista will be recorded as contact of (Deleted) in (Deleted) files in case any other U.S. Government agency expresses operational interest. (Deleted) Headquarters is being informed of above.
6. The following may be past to (Deleted). Batista was born July 10, 1933, Havana, Cuba. Was in Cuban Navy. Arrived in U.S. in early 1960's as exile. Subject was in prison several months in 1959 in Cuba accused of being member of Batista's Armed Forces and having idea opposed to Castro revolution, subsequently released. Subject of operational interest to (Deleted) in 1963 to 1964; interest dropped in 1964 and Subject terminated without prejudice. Ask (Deleted) to refer to (Deleted) for more info on Subject.
7. FYI only: POA granted 1963 for Subject's use in PM boat operations; however, POA canceled when he claimed he was unable satisfactorily treat his seasickness. In 1964 Subject interviewed by (Deleted) in Los Angeles, California, regarding group of Cubans in Miami involved in drug operations. Subject revealed his (Deleted) connections to FBI.
8. File: 200-11-11/19; 201-740127; 201-257804.
*Requested priority traces on Merola and Batista. (Deleted) Sources and register in ISR.
(DCD/OSS (Telecoord) December 6, 1974.
Unit: LA/NARC/LA/CAR DAVID A PHILLIPS C/LA LA/NARC (Deleted) DDO/NARCO (Deleted) LOSN/ISR (Deleted) C/LA/CAR.
The CIA considered using Merola as a source of information on developments in Beirut. [JM WAVE Cable 2.15.64; CIA Index Cards on Merola - type is so small it is unreadable; MFR 12.2.74 9-28-49; To: Director Domestic Contacts Service. From: Chief, Miami Field Office 11.20.72 MIN-181-72; Outgoing Message 630872]
Joseph Merola reported to Herbert J. Miller of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department.
ROTHMAN' S INDICTMENT
On January 2, 1959, Norman Rothman flew to Havana. On March 27, 1959, Rothman was charged with violating the National Firearms Act. On April 9, 1959, Rothman was arrested for violation of the National Stolen Property Act in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and on June 30, 1959, Rabin, Controni, Rene Robert, Sam Marrarino and Norman Rothman were indicted in United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division for arms smuggling and stolen securities charges. [59CR374 Luis Kutner, Counsel] In July 1959 Rothman was charged with interstate transportation of stolen property and conspiracy. S.A. George Davis of the FBI observed Rothman when he left for Mexico from Miami on December 10, 1959, in the company of Richardo Madan Rivas, a gun-smuggler. In late 1959 Norman Rothman helped Fulgencio Batista establish headquarters at the Biltmore Terrace Hotel on Miami Beach. Norman Rothman managed the Biltmore Terrace. His associates included Rolando Masferrer and Orlando Piedra. At this time Norman Rothman supplied anti-Castro groups with stolen arms.
Rothman was convicted in February 1960 with others attempting to smuggle guns stolen from a National Guard Armory in Ohio to Cuba, and received a five year prison term and $10,000 fine. [FBI HO 165-689]
Sam Mannarino was interviewed by S.A. John S. Portella, who had been acquainted with Sam Mannarino for the past ten years: "Mannarino predicted that 30 days after Merola is released from Federal Prison, he will be murdered. Mannarino stated that he wanted the record to show that he himself was not going to kill Merola and probably would have nothing to do with his murder. Merola's testifying as a Government witness, however, would raise serious doubts and concern in the minds of several people that Merola has been involved with over them over the past five years. It would be one of those persons who probably committed some crime with Merola, according to Mannarino, who would wonder when Merola was going to testify against them. It would therefore be one of these former associates who would probably kill him. Herbert J. Miller, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice by memorandum dated April 26, 1962, referred to Joseph Merola and advised that on April 13, 1962, a petition for executive clemency, together with his recommendation that petition be granted, was forwarded to pardon attorney Reed Cozart." [FBI CG 87-11127]
ROTHMAN AND STURGIS
MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD April 25, 1975
SUBJECT: ROTHMAN, Norman
SF# 354 878
4. In September 1960, Norman Rothman, free on a $50,000 bond from a conviction of theft and transportation of firearms, approached FRANK STURGIS, SF #353 459, and offered to obtain from Cuba two MIG aircraft. Norman Rothman claimed he could induce the defection of a Czech pilot and a Cuban who would fly the MIGs to the U.S. At the time, it was believed that Rothman was either offering assistance to the U.S. Government for a profit motive, or perhaps in an effort to reduce, or alleviate, his sentences under federal convictions. It was not clear from file information what, if any, further contact with Rothman took place regarding the proposal outlined above." [CIA MFR 4.25.75]
5. A memorandum dated April 30, 1961, reflected that a WH Officer met with Rothman in June 1961 in the office of the Deputy Attorney General. The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate Subject's claims to operational assets inside Cuba and elsewhere in Latin America. Among Rothman's claims were the following:
(1) That he has assets that would allow him to destroy Cuban arms dumps in Mexico. (2) That he could offer and operational base in the Yucatan peninsula.
(3) That he had personnel and capabilities to conduct sabotage inside Cuba.
(4) That he had a basic plan for the assassination of Fidel Castro.
Norman Rothman expressed resentment against federal charges against him for gun-running activities and stated he was being prosecuted for the same activities which were being conducted by the CIA.
6. The meeting between the Western Hemisphere Division Officer and Rothman had been apparently set up by a political figure in Democratic Party from North Carolina and apparently was a thinly disguised effort to track Rothman's services to the CIA in return for dropping federal charges against Rothman. The WH officer was not satisfied as to the capabilities claimed by Rothman and recommended no further contact with Rothman along these lines. The 201-file on Subject contained no indication as to whether Rothman was contacted again, or utilized in any way subsequent to the June 1961 conversation.
7. A form dated January 17, 1975, categorizing the Subject's 201 file, reflected Rothman's status with the CIA as 'former witting collaborator (relationship terminated). [CIA F81-03510653]
8. Office of Security indices reflect a file in the name of one Roberto Ramino Fernandez Miranda (SF# 353 706) which indicated that Subject was identical to Rothman's associate in the hotel in Miami Beach.
10. It is obvious from the foregoing that information contained in file sources pertaining to Subject and Fernandez was fragmentary and incomplete. File sources have reflected, however, that Rothman and Fernandez were involved in business together in the Miami area and that both were involved to some degree in anti-Castro activities of a revolutionary nature.
On June 26, 1961, Norman Rothman told the FBI "that if the United States would give him a free hand, he would be in a position to procure Fidel Castro's liquidation and his top Communist echelon in Cuba." [FBI 97-4030-18, 20 highly deleted]
PEDRO DIAZ LANZ
In the course of investigating Rothman, the FBI spoke with Pedro Diaz Lanz who told the S.A. George E. Davis "that he never heard of any transaction involving the use, purchase or sale of any Canadian bonds for any such purpose, and that the July 26th Revolutionary Movement was never involved in any arms purchases involving large sums of money such as $100,000. or more. Most of the purchases were of a minor nature." [FBI Miami 87-8756 2.2.62]
The FBI questioned Tony Varona about Rothman on February 24, 1962. Varona said he had heard of him but had never met him. [FBI Miami 87-8756 2.23.62 George E. Davis]
The FBI also questioned Rufo Lopez Fresquet on February 24, 1962. During the course of HUNT v. ajweberman in Miami, FRANK STURGIS was asked if he knew Norman Rothman. STURGIS: "I have come across him on the Beach with my Cuban friends. Just 'Hello Goodbye, Have a drink" and then leave. That's it." Rothman went to prison in Atlanta, Georgia, on August 28, 1961. In 1973 Rothman pleaded guilty to income tax evasion in the Southern District of Florida for which he was sentenced to two years and 18 months. In December 1976, a Chicago newspaper reported that Joe Merola had received more than $50,000 in 1975 alone, for furnishing information to the Illinois Bureau of Investigation. In 1975 Rothman's conviction in the Canadian bond case was vacated on the basis of the fact that Rothman was not informed that Merola was an informant for the FBI and CIA. [Miami Herald 2.20.77]
The bond heist was touched off when the Canadian branch of the mafia received a hurry up order from the Caribbean for arms for the 26th of July Movement. When Fidel Castro began guerilla warfare against Fulgencio Batista, Norman Rothman and some hoods from Pennsylvania felt they needed some kind of insurance against an unfriendly revolution. Despite their close association with Batista, they smuggled arms to Fidel Castro. Norman Rothman, Mannarino and Controni were closely associated with Edward Browder, who was linked to JACK RUBY. Sam Mannarino's bonds came from the same Canadian bank as Edward Browder's. Mannarino, Rothman and Edward Browder's wife, Lilyan Martin Browder, had the same dentist, Dr. I. Fredrick Stang.
THE ACTIVITIES OF JACK "RUBENSTEIN"
Leon Hubert wrote: "The probability that RUBY was involved in illegal activities in Cuba prior to 1959...is supported by the statement of a Delta Airlines employee in New Orleans who recalled that about seven or eight years ago, RUBY flew from New Orleans to Havana. This airline employee stated that he overheard RUBY telephone his club in Dallas and state that his trip to Cuba was being paid for by someone else, and that no one should be advised of his whereabouts." [Memo Hubert & Griffen to WC 3.20.64] State Department documents revealed that in 1958 "JACK RUBENSTEIN wrote a letter requesting permission to negotiate the purchase of firearms and ammunition from in an Italian firm."
BROWDER AND ITALIAN ARMS DEALS
The FBI reported that "Elum Addie Cuadell, wire service operator, Miami, Florida, and business contact of Ferrara, said he introduced Ferrera to Browder December 31, 1958, in connection with an arms deal in Italy." [FBI Miami 87-8756] In January 1959 Edward Browder traveled to Italy to negotiate the purchase of 5,000 Thompson submachine guns. This surfaced during an FBI interview with Paul Bert Hickman. "Paul Hickman stated Edward Browder had told him about an arms deal in Italy...Edward Browder was in contact with someone in the United States who was trying to buy these guns and sell them to one of the Caribbean leaders or ex-leaders. Paul Hickman stated he heard some Americans went to the Dominican Republic in early January 1959, and made a deal where a combining of General Raphael Trujillo; Anastasio Somoza; Juan Perone exiled former leader of Argentina, and Fulgencio Batista, exiled former leader of Cuba, were to put up a $1,000,000 slush fund to buy weapons to conduct a war against some of their enemies in the Caribbean. Though Edward Browder had not told him who wanted the arms, his theory is that either this group wanted to buy them, or Marcos Jimenez Perez, exiled former leader of Venezuela, now living in Miami Beach, wanted to purchase them...Paul Hickman pointed out that during the row between Batista and Castro in Cuba, Edward Browder was allegedly trading with both of them, both allegedly found out about it...For that reason he does not believe Edward Browder dares go to Cuba...Paul Hickman related that about midnight on March 5, 1959, he got a phone call from Edward Browder, who appeared to be somewhat excited. Edward Browder told him to get dressed and come over to Edward Browder's house right away, as it was very important...They related to him that at about 11:00 p.m., March 5, 1959, a man visited their house unannounced. He stated he was sent by 'Genovese' from New York City and was told tell the Browders they should shut up about the origin of the bonds, and to tell everyone else concerned to shut up about the bonds, less they meet with foul play from the 'syndicate.'" [FBI 87-8756 - 3.26.59 Miami interview with Hickman]
"JACK RUBENSTEIN" was mentioned in a 1959 Department of the Army Report concerning U.S. Arms Dealers in Scandinavia: "A JACK RUBENSTEIN is listed as a representative of the Saunders Company in the U. S." [CIA 85-31; 843-361; 1215-442; 1211-44OA; CIA Disposition Index p283, 288, 156; WC C0294bsc; DOS Memo for Chayes from OS 11.24.63 #0178; ltr. from R.A. Ericson Dep.Dir.Pol-Mil. Affairs 4.14.77; Dept. of Army H. 10.29.76, 12.3.76 from USAIA] In 1976 this researcher attempted to obtain copies of the Office of Munitions Control and Army Intelligence Reports under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. The Army conducted a thorough search of its files and checked all reports in its possession on "JACK RUBY" and "JACK RUBENSTEIN." No report that dealt with arms trafficking was uncovered. The State Department responded that "while the existence of the letter may have been known in 1963, we are now unable to locate it." It suggested the letter might be in the inactive files at the Office of Munitions Control but demanded a $2000 fee for "a search involving 15,000 documents."
There was reason to believe that the CIA was aware of "JACK RUBENSTEIN" and his activities. In its letter to the Warren Commission regarding "Information concerning JACK RUBY (aka JACK RUBENSTEIN)" the CIA stated: "Examination of CIA records failed to produce information on JACK RUBY or his activities." The CIA had information that RUBY used the alias of "Abe Rubenstein."
JAMES E. BEAIRD
In 1976 James E. Beaird told the FBI that in 1957, he became acquainted with many people in the area of Kemah, Texas, including one JACK RUBY, who was at that time "involved in the business of selling guns to Fidel Castro in Cuba...Jack stored guns and ammunition in a two-story house between the waterfront and railroad tracks in Kemah. He would take the guns to Cuba mostly on weekends. Jack had a boat about 50 feet long, surplus, a military landing craft or LST." [FBI Phoenix 89-42, 6.7.76 at Apache Junction, Arizona] In 1977 this researcher called James E. Beaird and asked him how he became acquainted with RUBY: "Playing poker. What I can't understand - this seems a little out of line. Well there was enough people like myself who know all about this. The doggone thing is that he was so open with it. Why nobody came forward with this information beats me. RUBY never talked about Castro. The boat would get loaded and RUBY would leave by car. It was a well known fact the boat was headed to Cuba."
OKLAHOMA STATE CRIME BUREAU
In 1958 a former member of the Oklahoma State Crime Bureau linked an "Abe Rubenstein,"owner of the Carousel Club in Dallas, to a carload of guns and ammunition destined for Cuba. [FBI El Paso 44-274, 4.14.64; WCDS56]
In June 1958, RUBY sent arms to Cuba via Islamorada, in the Florida Keys. He was accompanied by a sleazy looking blonde.
The FBI reported: "On December 2, 1963, Mrs. Mary Thompson, 1155 Dupont, Kalamazoo, Michigan, advised S.A. V. Lemar Curran that in May 1958 she and her daughter Dolores, and son-in-law Richard Rhodes, visited her brother and sister-in-law, James and Mary Lou Woodard, at Islamorada, Florida. While there they met JACK and Isabel (LNU) who lived in a small motel in Islamorada. JACK appeared to be hiding from something and she saw him only at night. Dolores and her husband spent the first night in a room at JACK and Isabell's motel. James Woodard reportedly was a member of the Dallas, Texas, Police Department for a short time, about 1954, and James Woodard had known JACK in Dallas. Mary Lou Woodard told Mary Thompson that JACK'S real name was Leon and he was not married to Isabell. They had been in Islamorada (illegible) JACK was originally from Chicago, and reportedly killed a couple of men. JACK ran a drinking place in Dallas and there had been a knifing in his place. She said JACK had a trunk full of guns and inferred that JACK was going to supply them to the Cubans. Mrs. Thompson stayed at Islamorada one week only and had not seen JACK or Isabell since. Mrs. Thompson observed Subject's photograph on television and she believes Subject is identical with the JACK (LNU) she observed in Islamorada, Florida in 1958..."
The FBI reported: "On December 2, 1963, Dolores Thompson, whose marriage was subsequently annulled, advised that the Associated Press photograph in the November 25, 1963, issue of The Kalamazoo Gazette, resembles JACK (LNU) who had a small motel in Islamorada, Florida, in June 1, 1958, except JACK had a full head of dark brown hair and was darkly complected. She was told that JACK and Isabell had been there two weeks, and that James Woodard had met JACK in Texas. JACK was from Chicago and she was led to believe that he was part of the 'Syndicate.' James Woodard said JACK had a lot of guns but Woodard was drunk at the time." [FBI 44-24016-308] JACK drove a grey car with Texas plates.
The FBI interviewed Willa Mae Rouse, the sister of James Woodard. She told the Bureau she saw her brother on November 25, 1963, at her home in Knoxville. He said he had a job at a zinc mine in Mascot, Tennessee. Willa Mae, and her husband Ed, "both state that James Woodard not always truthful and that his sister, Mary Thompson, Kalamazoo, Michigan, also prone to make up stories. Both state in their opinion Mary Thompson insane. Willa Mae states James watched television with her on November 24 last, date Subject shot OSWALD. States she asked James if he had ever met RUBY or OSWALD since she knew James had previously lived in Dallas and states James said he did not know either one. Mr. and Mrs. Rouse both of opinion James would have readily admitted knowing RUBY or OSWALD if he had ever met either of them."
WHO WAS JAMES WOODARD?
The FBI reported: "Records of Knox County So, Knoxville, reflect James Woodard arrested October 14, 1963, on basis of three Grand Larceny warrants issued Dade County, Florida, that date. Appearance bond of James Woodard executed October 16, 1963, by local bonding company with extradition hearing set for December 10, 1963, next. Records Knox County Attorney General reflect Tennessee Governor has signed extradition papers for James Woodard and he will be returned to Dade County, Florida, if located." There was also a warrant out for the arrest of James Woodard in Zapata, Texas.
CARL C. WOODARD
The FBI interviewed the brother of James Woodard, Carl C. Woodard, who said he has not seen his brother since October 1953, when he stole his car and machine tools. "Carl stated James visited Carl's home previously, in his absence during July 1962, accompanied by a young pre\1\5 female. They had in their possession a late model white Cadillac convertible...Carl's children located a gun in the glove compartment of the Cadillac during this visit...Carl pointed out that he has a strong enmity for his brother and would attack James on sight. He also advised that he never knew James to reside in Dallas, Texas, or has he ever heard that James had worked as a policeman. He stated James came to Michigan in 1953 from San Antonio, Texas."
The FBI interviewed Paul A. Woodard, another of James Woodard's brothers. He said he had not seen James Woodard since 1948 except for one night.
The FBI interviewed the father-in-law of James Woodard, Leonard Shives. Leonard Shives said that his son received telephone calls from James Woodard on a regular basis and he was certain James Woodard would call in the next few days. [FBI 44-1639-1350]
The FBI located Mrs. W.R. Simons, the former wife of James Woodard. She stated that "she and her former husband, were at Islamorada, Florida, for approximately two months during the Summer of 1958. She was introduced by James to a JACK (LNU) and Isabell (LNU). She said she did not specifically recall where she was introduced to JACK and Isabell, or where they were residing in Islamorada. She said she did not recall any information while at Islamorada from James or from anyone else concerning any guns, connections with Cubans, or that JACK owned a bar in Dallas, Texas. She could only recall that JACK reportedly originally came from Chicago. Mrs. Simons was shown a picture of JACK RUBY and she could not identify JACK RUBY as being identical with JACK (LNU) met at Islamorada...Mrs. Simons said she had no indication or information that she has ever met JACK RUBY." Mrs. W.R. Simons said it was unlikely that her former husband would contact her, because there was a local warrant out for him for failure to pay child support. [WCE 3096 p118]
Mary Thompson was exhaustively re-interviewed. The FBI admitted: "Thompson is employed as a housewife and during interview did not give appearance of making up a story, or in need of psychiatric treatment. Information furnished by Mary Thompson was corroborated in most details by Dolores Thompson, who is employed as manager of the (illegible), a health club." The Thompsons had no criminal record with the Kalamazoo, Police Department. [FBI-44-24016-581]
James Woodard and his exploits were well known to Wallace Shanley. Information on James Woodard in his FBI file appeared to have been referred by U.S. Customs. The FBI: "Knoxville files reflect James Woodard, FBI #255317, is Subject of Miami file 52-1944, and has in past been (deleted) caliber revolver and has violent temper when drinking . Refer." Another document read: "Knoxville files reflect (deleted). When interviewed at Knoxville, September 27, 1963, and September 30, 1963, James Woodard stated he had in the past participated in a Cuban invasion prior to the Castro regime, that he participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion and furnished ammunition and dynamite to both Castro and Cuban exile forces. James Woodard's statements were at the time rambling and were not always coherent. Woodard again interviewed Knoxville, October 8, 1963, 3,150 pounds of Atlas dynamite abandoned at his residence South Dade County, Florida, which dynamite was stolen from Chastine Construction Company, Terrytown, Florida. Woodard claimed above amount of dynamite stored at his residence by Cubans to be used by Cuban exile forces against the Castro regime." [FBI Knoxville 44-383 12.4.63; WCE 3065; FBI 44-24016-1019]
The FBI did not interview James Woodard. On January 23, 1964, an order went out from the SAC, Dallas, to "discontinue active investigation to locate James Woodard...it is believed extensive investigation to locate James Woodard is not warranted." [FBI 44-24016-1019] The FBI was afraid to interview Woodard. He we was an unpredictable drunk who might have said that he knew JACK RUBY. Then where would that have left the FBI? With three witnesses to RUBY'S arms smuggling. HEMMING told this researcher: "We worked with Woodard's brother on parachute jumps."
ROCKEFELLER COMMISSION: STURGIS / RUBY
The Rockefeller Commission admitted that STURGIS and RUBY moved in the same circles: "An example of the testimony relating to an alleged relationship between the CIA and JACK RUBY consisted of a statement that FRANK STURGIS was engaged in a series of revolutionary activities among Cuban exiles in the United States in the 1950's and the 1960's, and that the CIA also sponsored and organized anti-Castro activities among Cuban exiles in the United States in 1959 and the early 1960's. In addition, it was alleged that FRANK STURGIS was at one time Fidel Castro's Director of Games of Chance in Havana, and that in August or September of 1959, JACK RUBY made a trip to Havana at the invitation of a friend who had interests in Cuban gambling establishments. Moreover, both STURGIS and RUBY were alleged to have connections with underground figures who had interests in the United States and Cuba. From this group of allegations, the witnesses inferred that STURGIS and RUBY could have met and known each other - although no actual evidence was presented to show that RUBY or STURGIS ever met each other. Even if the individual items contained in the foregoing recitations were assumed to be true, it was concluded that the inferences drawn must be considered farfetched speculation insofar as they purport to show a connection between the CIA and either OSWALD or RUBY. Even in the absence of denials by living persons [STURGIS] that such connections existed, no weight could be assigned to such testimony. Moreover, STURGIS was never a CIA employee."
LOUIS J. McWILLIE
Thanks, in part, to the efforts of gangsters like RUBY, Fidel Castro was soon able to out-gun Fulgencio Batista. In September 1958, three months before Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, Lewis J. McWillie moved to Havana. Lewis J. McWillie worked as a pitboss in the Tropicana Casino. The mob knew Batista was doomed and it needed men like Lewis J. McWillie, whose associates, such as JACK RUBY, had supplied Fidel Castro with arms, to smooth over the inevitable transition, and to protect its interests. The HSCA questioned Lewis J. McWillie about his association with Norman Rothman.
Q. Do you know a Mr. Norman Rothman?
A. I know him to see him.
Q. Have you ever met Mr. Rothman?
A. It was in Cuba, yes. He'd come in and out of the Tropicana every once in awhile. He come up and introduced himself to me and shook hands with me. I'd see him gambling there when I'd go around to different places.
Q. Did you ever have any discussions with Mr. Rothman?
The FBI reported that investigation by a confidential source reflected that "McWillie solidified his syndicate connections through his association in Havana Cuba, with SANTOS TRAFFICANTE, well known syndicate member, from Tampa Florida; Meyer and Jake Lansky; Dino Cellini and others who were members and associates of the syndicate."
The HSCA asked Lewis J. McWillie about a possible association with TRAFFICANTE. "Know him to see him. He knew who I was and he shook hands with me when he saw me, but that was it, I've been asked that a lot of times, too. But I didn't know Mr. TRAFFICANTE intimately, no. Maybe Pedro Fox introduced us."
The HSCA asked Lewis J. McWillie about Meyer Lansky: "I never laid eyes on him in my life. I know his brother, knew his brother, Jake. Very fine man. I might have met him through Dino Cellini. Mr. Lansky was around the Riviera, I don't know if he operated it or what but he was there."
Lewis J. McWillie told the HSCA that RUBY had nothing to do with his employment situation in Cuba: "A fellow named Joe Williams called me from Cuba and asked me if I'd be interested in going over there to work and I set up an appointment and went there and talked to them and then went back to Dallas and went back to Cuba in about a week, I believe. I don't know what Mr. Williams did, to tell the truth. I went to see the Foxes. The Foxes were the only owners of the Tropicana. Martinez Fox promised me a percentage of the Tropicana if it ever did any business. That was right at the time of the revolution. The Foxes didn't need any financial backing. They had a big business that made nothing but money for years and years. They had the numbers and every other thing."
The numbers or, "bolito" was controlled by TRAFFICANTE. The Foxes were also controlled by TRAFFICANTE.
SANTO TRAFFICANTE, JR.
Just before Fidel Castro took power on January 1, 1959, Fulgencio Batista flew to the Dominican Republic. When Fidel Castro entered Havana angry Cubans ransacked many mob owned casinos. One of Fidel Castro's first decrees ordered all the casinos padlocked. Cesar Blanco stated that on January 13, 1959, "both Lanskys attended a meeting with SANTO TRAFFICANTE Jr. a known narcotics operator who took over Lucky Luciano's operations. Blanco said he took action against them and tried to get them deported from Cuba, working with Interpol. On June 2, 1959, Blanco told Pella he received a letter from the U.S. Consul General (or U.S. Embassy) in Havana informing him that the U.S. Government would protest if Lansky were deported. Blanco also had a visit from a Vice Consul named Kessler who verbally told him the same thing. When Blanco informed INTERPOL they replied by letter that the Cuban Government would loose their confidence if Lansky was not deported. Fidel Castro, upon hearing this, gave instructions to Blanco not to deport Lansky or SANTO TRAFFICANTE Jr. Blanco said to Pella that he feels this gambling group has offered to financially assist the new government-in-exile set up in New York under Mario Garcia Kohly." [U.S. Gambling Syndicate Interest in Cuban Matters.] After this meeting, SANTO TRAFFICANTE Jr., was arrested as was Jake Lansky. Jake Lansky was released in a few hours, only to be rearrested. A week later (January 20, 1959) the Lansky brothers escaped to Florida. They had been too close to Fulgencio Batista to ever be trusted by Fidel Castro. Many other hoodlums, such as Norman Rothman and Charlie Tourine, were not arrested and remained in Cuba. Meyer Lansky and CARLOS MARCELLO attempted to free TRAFFICANTE. The syndicate wanted anyone who could influence Fidel Castro to intervene on TRAFFICANTE'S behalf. [NY Post 2.17.59; NYT 2.2l.58; Time 1.12.59]
ROBERT RAY McKEOWN
Robert Ray McKeown (born January 28, 1911; died October 1980, SS # 460-01-8019) ran a coffee processing plant in Santiago, Cuba, with the blessings of President Carlos Prio Soccarras. When Carlos Prio Soccarras was overthrown by Batista in 1952, Robert Ray McKeown tried to restore him to power. In late 1952 Robert Ray McKeown was the Subject of an FBI Neutrality Act Investigation in connection with his having smuggled arms to the forces of Carlos Prio Soccarras within Cuba. In 1956 Robert Ray McKeown lived in Miami, having been deported by Fulgencio Batista. In Miami, Robert Ray McKeown was involved in gun-running ventures aimed at the overthrow of the Batista regime. The FBI learned that the 26th of July Movement planned a raid on Cuba from Texas, and that arms had been shipped to Robert Ray McKeown. In 1957 Robert Ray McKeown piloted arms-laden ships from Kemah or Seabrook, Texas, to a drop off point in Mexico. Fidel Castro's forces landed the Granma and picked-up the arms. On February 18, 1958, the San Antonio FBI office provided information that Robert Ray McKeown had purchased a yacht. U.S. Customs seized this vessel for having smuggled guns while it was cruising to Houston from Paterson, Louisiana. [HSCA V9 para. l808, 1105-1152; WCD7972]
On February 25, 1958, Robert Ray McKeown was charged with conspiracy to smuggle guns and related equipment to Castro forces in Cuba when an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent raided the home of Robert Ray McKeown and discovered a small arsenal. The FBI: "Houston will note in case entitled 'CARLOS PRIO SOCCARRAS, ET. AL. FPM - CUBA' (Houston file 109-7) Robert R. McKeown, Galena Park, Texas, and others were arrested by police and later prosecuted by U.S. Customs, for possession of arms and conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act. In this case (deleted) was in Houston and had considerable contact with (deleted) and others involved. (Deleted) but is presently out of town. On his return he will be contacted again concerning this matter." [FBI 44-1639-4195]
Eight months later Robert Ray McKeown was given a 60-day sentence and five years probation. Shortly after this arrest and prior to his sentencing, Robert Ray McKeown and Mr.(FNU) Jarrett formed a partnership and opened the J & M Drive-In on Red Bluff Road in the vicinity of Kemah, Texas. Carlos Prio Soccarras funded this venture with a loan.
ROBERT RAY McKEOWN, RUBY AND THE JEEP DEAL
In January 1959 RUBY contacted Robert Ray McKeown and asked him "to get three individuals out of Cuba who are being held by Fidel Castro." RUBY offered Robert Ray McKeown $15,000, and said that the syndicate would be grateful for his help. One week later, RUBY and Robert Ray McKeown had a meeting near Kemah, Texas. RUBY asked Robert Ray McKeown for a letter of introduction to Fidel Castro. [WCE 1689] Robert Ray McKeown did not voluntarily give this information to the FBI after RUBY shot OSWALD. After RUBY spoke of an individual "in the vicinity of Houston" who had run guns to Fidel Castro, the FBI contacted Robert Ray McKeown.
On January 28, 1964, Robert Ray McKeown told the FBI that about a week after Fidel Castro came into power Anthony Ayo, a Houston patrolman, personally informed him that someone from Dallas had called the Sheriff's office looking for him. Robert Ray McKeown told Anthony Ayo to give the caller the phone number of the J & M Drive-in. When questioned by the FBI, Anthony Ayo confirmed Robert Ray McKeown's story. How did RUBY know that Anthony Ayo knew Robert Ray McKeown? Robert Ray McKeown said that an hour later a "JACK RUBENSTEIN" from Dallas called and offered McKeown $15,000 to help release three prisoners from Castro's jails. JACK RUBENSTEIN stated that someone in Las Vegas would provide the money. Three weeks later RUBY showed up at the J & M in person, offered Robert Ray McKeown $25,000 and stated he had access to a large number of jeeps in Shreveport, Louisiana. When McKeown demanded $5,000 in advance, RUBY left, never to return. Robert Ray McKeown said the deal was never consummated. When interviewed by Gaeton Fonzi in 1976, McKeown added that RUBY told him that aside from jeeps, he had access to slot machines in New Mexico. RUBY mentioned that he knew some members of the mafia in Cuba, and he spoke with McKeown on three occasions.
Justice Warren asked RUBY: "There was some story in one of the papers that you had been interested in shipping jeeps down to Cuba. Was there anything to that at all?" RUBY answered: "No; but this was the earlier part, when the first time Fidel Castro had ever invaded Cuba. There was even a Government article that they would need jeeps. I don't recall what it was, but I never had the facilities or the capabilities to get jeeps. But probably in conversation with other persons - you see, it is a new land, and they have to have a lot of things. As a matter of fact the United States Government was wanting persons to help them [kill Fidel Castro] at that particular time when they threw out the dictator, Batista. And at one particular time there was a gentleman that smuggled guns to Castro...I think his name was Langley or Longly out of Bay - something - Texas, on the Bayshore...He was given a jail term for smuggling guns to Castro. This is in the early part of their revolution...I think he had a boat and he lived somewhere in Bay something, Bayshore, in the center part of Texas..." [FBI 44-1639-3913; WCE 1688]
When RUBY first contacted Robert Ray McKeown he told him that he thought his name was "Davis." RUBY allegedly told Tom Howard (his first lawyer -deceased) that he had intended to begin a regular gun-running business with a "Davis." When the FBI asked Robert Ray McKeown about "Davis" in 1964, he told them he knew no-one by that name. Dallas Assistant District Attorney William Alexander reported he had learned RUBY had contact with a "Davis," described as an ex-convict from Beaumont, Texas. William Alexander stated that he understood FBI, Houston, had handled investigation of this person resulting in his conviction for gun running activities. The Houston FBI reported that it could not locate an ex-convict named Davis, and determined that RUBY meant Robert Ray McKeown.
THOMAS ELI DAVIS
Seth Kantor reported that in June 1958, a "Thomas Eli Davis" attempted to rob a bank in Detroit for which he served five years probation. In September 1960 the probation supervision of Thomas Eli Davis was transferred to the Federal probation office in Beaumont, Texas. His probation was terminated on February 21, 1962. [CE1688; 44-1639-3913; Seth Kantor, Who Was JACK RUBY? Everest House 1978] The HSCA discovered a FBI report dated June 25, 1963, which linked Thomas Eli Davis to a HEMMING/STURGIS type operation: In May 1963 Thomas Eli Davis placed an advertisement that offered employment to men who wished to go to Haiti to overthrow "Papa Doc" Duvalier. The FBI, through liaison, asked the CIA if this was one of its operations. The CIA denied it. The wife of Thomas Eli Davis told an official of the State Department that her husband was a soldier-of-fortune who had worked in Indochina, Indonesia, Algeria and Cuba. [HSCA V9p183] In early November 1963, Thomas Eli Davis and his wife left the U.S. for Tangier, Morocco. In December 1963 the Moroccan National Security Police, through Interpol, informed the State Department that Thomas Eli Davis was being held on the basis of an attempted sale of a firearm to a minor. When the Moroccan Police searched Thomas Eli Davis, the police found "a letter in his handwriting which referred in passing to OSWALD and to the Kennedy assassination." The letter was addressed to attorney Thomas G. Proctor. Thomas Eli Davis was killed in September 1973 while stealing copper wire from an abandoned rock crusher site in Wise County, Texas. He was accidentally electrocuted.
Ruby could have known Thomas Davis of Beaumont, Texas, however, Davis is a very common name, especially in Texas. Seth Kantor also claimed that QJ/WIN (Mankel) bailed Thomas Eli Davis out of jail in Morocco, which was unlikely. Perhaps RUBY referred to Howard Kenneth Davis? Howard K. Davis, however, worked out of Miami.
ROBERT RAY McKEOWN'S HSCA TESTIMONY
When Robert Ray McKeown testified before the HSCA he took the Fifth Amendment until he was granted immunity. Robert Ray McKeown added that he was visited by OSWALD and a mysterious pro-Castro Cuban. They wanted 300 submachine guns. Through the years the details of his story changed so frequently that Robert Ray McKeown almost earned a perjury citation from the HSCA. McKeown: "RUBY says I will give you $25,000 if you write me this letter where you will acknowledge that I am a friend of yours and have done business with you and things of that sort...He asked me all about where I had been with Castro and how we had talked, and he kept after me about how many arms are there, and were there two million worth...then he came back and we would talk about what warehouses I put the guns in, and who all helped me haul them out to his house...he came back and I told him I had the letter written...I had all of this written down but somebody burned down my house and I lost it...He said he knew the mafia, he said he had connections. He said 'You don't have to worry about money, I have good connections.' He asked me if I was familiar with Ponce Club in Miami, where all the Latins congregated.
Robert Ray McKeown was quizzed about his various associates:
Purdy: How did you hear of Sam or Joseph Campisi?
McKeown: Through Prio. He said they were good people, they were on our side. I presumed that he was working with him, I do not know.
Purdy: Did you know Joe Merola?
McKeown: Yes...he would come to me and tell me where guns would be.
Purdy: Have you had any connections which you later found out been with the CIA?
McKeown: Yes, I later found out, but I did not know...I met him at a club...I did not know him from Adam and he commenced telling me about Castro, he was over there in the mountains with Castro...he said that Castro had it in for him and that he did not want to go to Cuba.
Purdy: What contact did you have with Castro after he took power?
McKeown: Some friends of my brother were fishing and the Cubans confiscated their boat and brought them to Cuba. My brother came to me and told me these three guys were real good friends of his and they were innocent. So he asked me if I could help get them out of Cuba. This was quite a while after he was in power, maybe 1965. Four or five of the so-called mafia under Batista that ran the casinos came to me and wanted me to try and help them get back over there...they wanted me to go and try to get them to open the Americana again and the Sans Souci and all of that...this was a couple of months after he took power...one of them was Italian. They had all been forced to leave Cuba.
Purdy: Was SANTOS TRAFFICANTE one of these individuals?
Purdy: Do you know CARLOS MARCELLO?
Purdy: Do you know FRANK STURGIS?
McKeown: I seen him one time over at Prio's house. But I did not have any dealings with him whatsoever.
Purdy: Do you remember any of the names [of the mafioso who approached you]?
McKeown: It seemed to me that one of them was named Matthews, but I am not sure he was connected with the Tropicana. Maybe he was connected.
Purdy: When did you first meet Mr. Castro?
McKeown: I met him in the Shamrock Hotel in Houston. I think it was in 1957, Prio was with me. I didn't have an opportunity to speak to him alone, he was in a hurry to go out to the Murchisons.
GATLIN AND THE JEEP DEAL?
An article dated January 1968 in Ramparts Magazine written by William Turner linked Maurice Gatlin with RUBY in a jeep deal. According to Jerry Milton Brooks, the deal was scotched when Maurice Gatlin warned RUBY and Robert Ray McKeown to call it off.
In February 1959 SANTO TRAFFICANTE Jr. was still in jail. Then Fidel Castro revoked his order closing all the casinos and freed TRAFFICANTE. This was when Fidel Castro made STURGIS Minister of Games of Chance. In late February 1959, Meyer Lansky returned to Cuba. On March 1, 1959, Cuba's casinos reopened to skimpy crowds. [Time 3.2.59; How Castro Double Crossed The Mob, Jack Anderson, Parade 4.28.63]
RUBY'S MEETINGS WITH THE FBI
On March 11, 1959, RUBY met with FBI S.A. Charles W. Flynn. S.A. Flynn stated RUBY offered the FBI his services as a criminal informant. S.A. Flynn questioned RUBY about bank robberies, major thefts and the like. RUBY was unable to supply S.A. Flynn with any information on these cases. [FBI 44-24016-1138; FBI 44-24016-1180; FBI-62-109060-7394; NYT 5.13.70; William Scott Malone, The Secret Life of JACK RUBY, New Times, 1.23.78.] RUBY bought $500 worth of miniature wire recording equipment [FBI 44-1639-1358] and rented a safe deposit box before speaking with S.A. Flynn.
RUBY tape recorded his meetings with the FBI and hid the tapes in his safe deposit box in case the mob accused him of being a snitch.
The second RUBY/Flynn meeting occurred on April 28, 1959, the same day that Robert Ray McKeown was embracing Fidel Castro at an airport in Houston, Texas. Fidel Castro was going back to Cuba from Washington, D.C., when he encountered Robert Ray McKeown. McKeown: "There were some people who came to me and offered me quite a sum of money and told me that we believe that you are the only one who can really get close to Fidel Castro. And they wanted me to kill him." [HSCA V9 p702]
RUBY'S TRIPS TO CUBA
In late May 1959, RUBY gave a slip of paper which contained a short written message in code which consisted of letters and numbers and the word "arriving" to Elaine Mynier, Lewis J. McWillie's mistress, just minutes before she left for Cuba. When Elaine Mynier gave the message to Lewis J. McWillie he told her that RUBY was "nuts" to have entrusted her with something important. After the assassination Elaine Mynier told the FBI about the incident. [FBI DI-44-1639 FD-302 with Mynier 11.26.63 San Fran., 11.24.63 at San Fran.] In November 1963 Elaine Mynier claimed she had been raped by two San Francisco Police Department officers, a case which received considerable local publicity. Lewis J. McWillie denied using her as a courier, and said if he wanted to get in touch with RUBY he would have telephoned him.
On June 1, 1959, TRAFFICANTE was rearrested by the Castro regime on the basis of a telegram from Harry Anslinger. [HSCA V5 p294] The Cuban Cabinet ordered the deportation of TRAFFICANTE due to his having been involved in heroin trafficking. RUBY'S next meeting with S.A. Flynn occurred on June 5, 1959. On June 18, 1959, RUBY had another meeting with S.A. Flynn. The next RUBY/Flynn meeting occurred on July 2, 1959. RUBY'S fifth meeting with S.A. Flynn took place on July 21, 1959. S.A. Flynn filed a standard report. He had questioned RUBY about several bank robberies which RUBY said he had no knowledge of. S.A. Flynn rated his informant as "good."
THE FBI DROPS RUBY
In late July, Curtis Lynum, the SAC of the Dallas FBI Field Office , received information that something wasn't kosher about RUBY. Curtis Lynum sent RUBY'S prints to FBI Headquarters so that he could get RUBY'S rap sheet. S.A. Flynn's next meeting with RUBY took place on August 6, 1959. On August 18, 1959, TRAFFICANTE was released.
According to data obtained by the Cuban Government, Dino Cellini had a sister who worked as a typist in the White House. The sister of Dino Cellini solicited the aid of Senator George Smathers in obtaining TRAFFICANTE'S release. Senator George Smathers got the American Consulate in Havana to contact the Cubans with information that there were arrest warrants out for TRAFFICANTE and Dino Cellini in the United States. [Information supplied HSCA by Government of Cuba]
RUBY'S seventh meeting with S.A. Flynn took place on August 31, 1959. By this time S.A. Flynn had received word from his superior to dump RUBY. S.A. Flynn countered: "While RUBY has not furnished any positive information to date, there is no indication of emotional instability or unreliability. It is recommended Potential Criminal Informant be continued."
RUBY'S TRIPS TO CUBA
RUBY told the Warren Commission that he went to Cuba for eight days in August or September 1959, for a vacation. Lewis J. McWillie told the Commission: "In 1959 I wrote JACK and asked him to come to Havana for a week. There was no ulterior motive. I extended this invitation as one would to a brother. I sent him a round-trip ticket. He came into the Tropicana and we had a few drinks together. He was like any other tourist - he didn't have any connection with Castro or Batista supporters." [FBI CO-11516; WCE1545; WCE1546]
OTHER SHORT TRIPS TO CUBA
Immigration and Naturalization Service records indicated RUBY flew to Havana from Miami on the night of September 12, 1959, and returned to New Orleans on September 13, 1959. [Memo Hubert & Griffen to WC 3.20.64]
RUBY visited Major William Morgan and HEMMING, who were considered close to Fidel Castro, in his effort to secure TRAFFICANTE'S release. HEMMING told the HSCA: "HEMMING met RUBY in September or October 1959, at William Morgan's house in Cuba. Ruby had sold inferior jeeps to the Cuban Air Force, and Morgan had a few choice words about them. They were filmed by Clete Roberts of Channel 13 in Los Angeles."
HEMMING told this researcher: "JACK RUBY was with Morgan in the latter part of 1959. He was by Morgan's place. It was a mish-mash of people trying to get a meeting with Fidel. They were clamping down on the casinos. RUBY got to Cuba after FRANK had left and gone to Miami with Pedro Diaz Lanz. RUBY was on the periphery of the MARCELLO deals that they're trying cut with the new Cuban Government. To them it's just a new fucking banana republic government. Deals were going sour. We're talking about a three or four day period in late 1959. RUBY became the clean-up guy in the Kennedy assassination."
Marita Lorenz stated: "It is possible I saw RUBY with...Oh, God I am going to get killed, Charlie, Charlie 'The Blade' in Cuba. Charlie Tourine, Delmonica White, who is a friend of mine." [Depo Lorenz USDC Miami - 76-1252-Div-EBD]
RUBY returned to the United States via Miami, where he met with Louis J. McWillie's associate, Meyer Panitz. In January 1964 Meyer Panitz told the FBI RUBY was in Cuba in "the Summer of 1959," contradicting RUBY'S story of only one visit to Cuba in September 1959. [WCE1773, 1774; FBI LV-44-48 1.10.64 Las Vegas, DC-44-1639] A few days after RUBY returned to the U.S. he was seen by three Chicago businessmen in the Tropicana Casino in Havana. Jay Bishov, an attorney, Jack Marcus, and Sherwin Braun, told they FBI they visited Havana "for three or four days about September 1, 1959, as it was Labor Day weekend in 1959. Jay Bishov stated that the second or third night in Havana, he Sherwin Braun, and Jack Marcus, were standing near a crap table or roulette wheel at the Tropicana night club when a man approached and introduced himself by a name which Jay Bishov believed was JACK RUBY." RUBY said he was originally from Chicago, but had moved to Dallas. He invited them to visit him at one of his night clubs in Dallas. "Bishov stated RUBY appeared to know his way around the Tropicana, and may have been familiar with some of the employees." None of the men would positively identify RUBY from the FBI's photograph. [FBI 44-24016-167]
STURGIS AND McWILLIE
In 1974 Michael Canfield asked STURGIS if he knew JACK RUBY associate Lewis J. McWillie, when STURGIS was Minister of Games of Chance. He answered: "Yeah, that name is very familiar - I forgot what he is or who he is, but McWillie, yes. I am not sure if I knew him later in Miami." During testimony in HUNT v. ajweberman, STURGIS was asked:
Q. Do you remember a pit boss named McWillie?
Q. Did you know him later in Miami?
A. I'm not sure.
THE FOX BROTHERS
Congressman Ford asked RUBY: "When you got to Havana who met you in Havana?"
RUBY: McWillie. Now here is what happened. One of the Fox brothers came to visit me in Dallas with his wife. They came to the Vegas Club with Mrs. McWillie, and we had taken some pictures, 8X10's. Evidently the Foxes were in exile at the time, because when I went to visit McWillie, when he sent me the plane tickets, they looked through my luggage and they saw a photograph of Mr. Fox and his wife. They didn't interrogate, but they went through everything and held me up for hours.
Ford: Castro employees?
RUBY: Yes, because in my ignorance I didn't realize I was bringing a picture that they know was a bitter enemy. At that time they knew that the Fox brothers weren't going to jail, or something was going to happen. Whether it was they were in exile at the time I don't know. But they came to my club, the Vegas Club, and we had taken pictures. McWillie was waiting for me and he saw me go through the Customs line for a couple of hours, and he said, "JACK, they never did this to anyone before." Evidently, they had as pretty well lined-up as to where I come in the picture of Mr. Martin Fox. I can't think of his name.
Ford: You spent eight days in Havana?
RUBY: Yes, approximately. [I stayed at] Volk's apartments. I never used the phone. I wouldn't know how to use the phone...my dinners were served in the Tropicana. One thing I forgot to tell you - you are bringing my mind back to a few things - the owners, the greatest that have been expelled from Cuba are the Fox brothers. They own the Tropicana...they are in Miami, Florida. They know everything about McWillie, I heard, and know the officials. [STURGIS?].
FRONTMEN FOR TRAFFICANTE: THE FOX BROTHERS
The Pedro and Martin Fox (Pedro: born NY October 24, 1909, died May 1973; Martin: born November 15, 1915, NY died September 1979) were front men for TRAFFICANTE and nominally owned the Tropicana. The FBI: "This place is supervised by (deleted). The Tropicana is owned by a Cuban named Martin Fox and his connections with American hoodlum elements are unknown although it is to be noted that (Deleted) has been connected with gambling at Tropicana for many years. [The Jockey Club] is supervised by Dino Cellini of the Tropicana...With reference to the possibility that gambling in Cuba is controlled by a syndicate headed by Meyer Lansky or other individuals, it is noted that (deleted)."
HSCA Chairman Stokes questioned TRAFFICANTE: "You did know Pedro and Martin Fox?" TRAFFICANTE: "Pedro Fox, yes sir, all I know is that Mr. Martin Fox, who was the owner of the Tropicana and one of the richest men in Cuba, he died in the United States in the 1960's. I think, and he died completely broke. And Pedro Fox was working as a waiter and maitre d' in all the restaurants and hotels around Miami." [HSCA V9 p67] STURGIS testified during the course of HUNT v. ajweberman that he knew the Fox Brothers.
During another part of his testimony RUBY said:"...I had to buy a $2 ticket, a pass to get through Florida."TRAFFICANTE controlled the numbers racket, which relied on small bets. It was popular among the Cuban exiles of Florida.
RUBY clearly made more than one trip to Cuba. Ruby was aquainted with the Fox brothers, frontmen for TRAFFICANTE and evidence suggested that RUBY visited TRAFFICANTE in prison.
JOHN WILSON HUDSON
On November 27, 1963, John Wilson Hudson (CIA 201-20397), contacted the American Embassy in London. He said he was imprisoned by Castro on July 1, 1959. While incarcerated John Wilson Hudson met SANTO TRAFFICANTE Jr., who he described as a gangster. Around this time, John Wilson Hudson said that TRAFFICANTE was visited by an American "gangster- type" named "RUBY." RUBY, who accompanied the person who brought TRAFFICANTE his meals to him, was identical to the JACK RUBY who shot OSWALD. [FBI 44-24016-29; 901, 255, 262; CIA 385-7369 206-83; NYT 4.22.59 p4, 7. l.59 pl3; Miami Herald 7.l.59 p2A]
John Wilson Hudson was born in Liverpool, England, on December 29, 1918. He left his studies at Oxford University in 1936 to fight in the Spanish Civil War. John Wilson Hudson left the International Brigade and surfaced as an Axis agent. In 1939 he moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, then to Santiago, Chile, where he married Elaine Bronfmann. In Santiago, John Wilson Hudson set up the Universal Peace Movement, a Chilean version of the America First Committee. The British Ambassador in Santiago requested his expulsion on several occasions. In the early 1950's John Wilson Hudson traded in copper, lead and sulphur. The partner of John Wilson Hudson in this enterprise was Heriberto Springwaller Einicke. Heriberto Einicke, a German, was a Colonel in the Nicaraguan Army in the late 1930's, but was expelled from the country after he ran afoul of the United States Embassy. A CIA report dated 1952 stated:
1. (Deleted) is of the opinion that John Wilson Hudson is very probably an intelligence agent, and that he is under the direction of some service. There is no apparent reason for his great interest in the (deleted).
2. Despite the fact that most of what John Wilson Hudson says is patently rubbish and although it was reported (deleted) that he was believed to be mentally ill (deleted).
3. Any traces of John Wilson Hudson at Headquarters would be of assistance to (deleted) in pursuing this investigation.
A CIA informants report of October 6, 1952, stated: "Carlos John Wilson, an Englishman by birth, but believed to be a Spanish citizen, was previously reported among other activities, as posing as an ex-RAF pilot and veteran of World War II. These activities came to the attention of the British Embassy in Santiago, and resulted in John Wilson Hudson's being twice warned by the Chilean authorities to cease this masquerading or leave the country...He also claims that at the close of the war he worked on a special mission for the British Government in Germany, Egypt, and Turkey [and] to have fought with the Spanish Republican forces against Franco...John Wilson Hudson is described as being very intelligent, astute, and well informed on current events. He is extremely sociable, friendly, a very heavy drinker and free spender." In 1957 John Wilson Hudson reportedly worked for Batista.
An independent untested CIA source reported that during the first part of June 1959 Paul Hughes, an American soldier-of-fortune and associate of John Wilson Hudson, visited Cienfuegos, Las Villas Province, dressed in the uniform of an American Air Force captain.
ANGLETON assembled information on John Wilson Hudson: "A usually reliable source reported June 18, 1959, that Carl John Wilson, British journalist, sent a cable to the British Parliament and to the British Trade Union Federation saying that he had confirmed that the U.S. Military Attaches in the Caribbean were giving military advice to dictators. He protested in the name of humanity, saying that patriots were fighting for their sacred rights to be free citizens, and that American volunteers were helping the dictators with the approval of Washington. Source commented that Wilson, was planning on accompanying Mario Calero, Nicaraguan revolutionary who was readying an expedition against Nicaragua from Cuba.
"Another report dated June 26, 1959, from a usually reliable source stated that Paul Hughes, an American soldier-of-fortune, claimed to have at his disposal three aircraft, including one bomber, and planned to launch in an attack on Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, during the weekend of June 27, 1959. Paul Hughes said that Carl Wilson, a British journalist, and about 65 volunteers would join in the attack. Source commented that Paul Hughes also vaguely spoke of possibly bombing Managua for the psychological effect. Hudson Wilson said that Fidel Castro had no knowledge of Hughes.
"United Press International carried the story datelined July 1, 1959, from Havana, Cuba, saying that Police had raided a private home in suburban Biltmore the day before, and seized a large quantity of arms, and arrested three Americans and a Briton. The Americans were identified as Paul Hughes, an officer in Fidel Castro's rebel army, Efren R. Pichardo of Miami, Florida and Joseph Bardor, of Los Angeles, California. The Briton listed was Carl John Wilson. Seven military men and 11 civilians were held in connection with the plot."
On July 10, 1959, Wilson-Hudson, Captain Paul Hughes and Efren Pichardo were arrested after Castro's police detained 200 armed men just before they were about to board three aircraft, including one bomber, destined for Nicaragua. Paul Hughes, Efren Pichardo and John Wilson Hudson were accused of attempting to discredit the Castro regime. A year later HEMMING and William Morgan organized a similar bogus invasion. In July 1959 John Wilson Hudson told his Cuban interrogators he was a British journalist, and was in Cuba a few days. He was an innocent bystander covering a news story. He went on a hunger-strike and had to be fed intravenously. The U.S. Army Attache in Havana, Cuba, reported July 30, 1959, that he had received the following note from Carl John Wilson: "Salvador Allende, (Communist-sponsored presidential candidate and Socialist Party member) brought a letter of definite instructions to Raul Castro (from Chile). This letter contains instructions from the Kremlin in Moscow and contains the signature of Pablo Neruda of Chile. It deals with definite instructions of anti-American agitation to commence next month in Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Cuba, Costa Rica, etc." In September 1959 Wilson-Hudson testified before the Senate Internal Security Sub-Committee regarding communist influence in the 26th of July Movement. In September 1959 the FBI questioned STURGIS about former Castro officer Efren Pichardo.
A U.S. State Department cable from Asuncion, Paraguay, dated December 16, 1959, reported that "John Wilson correspondent for North American News Service, had informed the Paraguayan Ambassador in London on December 14 that within two days a cargo of 300 machine guns and 800 rifles were to be shipped to Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the direction of Fidel Castro. Wilson reportedly showed documents which proved his statement." [CIA CSCI 3/779,048 CHW/3/(deleted):jz] Wilson-Hudson died in Santiago, Chile, in 1964. The FBI classified several documents about John Wilson Hudson "Secret-Date of Declassification Indefinite."
JOHN WILSON HUDSON AND THE HSCA
The HSCA attempted to verify or deny the allegations of John Wilson Hudson. The HSCA questioned the man who had been the warden at Tresconia Prison in 1959. He told the Committee that he could not recall the name John Wilson Hudson, but did remember a British journalist who had worked in Argentina. [HSCA R p173] In his own public testimony before the Committee, TRAFFICANTE denied that RUBY had visited him: "There was no reason for this man to visit me, I have never seen this man before. I have never been to Dallas, I never had no contact with him. I don't see why he was going to come and visit me." [HSCA V9 para. 710]
McWILLIE ADMITS SEEING TRAFFICANTE IN PRISON
During the deposition of Lewis J. McWillie taken by the Committee in Las Vegas, Nevada, the question of a RUBY/TRAFFICANTE visit arose. Lewis J. McWillie equivocated: "I really don't know. It's possible he could have but I don't think, if he did he went with me and I don't recall it, but he could have. I don't know for sure." Lewis J. McWillie was asked: "You said you thought it was possible that someone had gone to the prison with you." He responded: "It's possible that it might have been JACK RUBY...I spoke to Dino and Jake Lansky (at the prison). Just said 'Hello' to TRAFFICANTE. But I talked to Jake because Dino was a friend of mine."
The Committee questioned Lewis J. McWillie:
Q. Are you aware that Mr. TRAFFICANTE was imprisoned in Cuba?
A. Yes, there was a bunch of them imprisoned.
Q. Did you visit Mr. TRAFFICANTE in prison?
A. I didn't visit him, I went there once or twice to visit a fellow, he was a dealer. I went out there once or twice to see him.
Q. Did you see anybody also in prison?
A. I saw everybody out there. TRAFFICANTE I think he was in there.
Q. Did you see TRAFFICANTE?
A. I saw him but I didn't talk to him, I didn't know him that well.
Q. Do you know of anybody who did visit Mr. TRAFFICANTE in prison?
A. No, I don't, I went out there with someone but I don't recall who it was. It may have been RUBY. I don't think so. He could have been, but I don't think so.
The HSCA concluded that a meeting between RUBY and TRAFFICANTE was "a distinct possibility."
The FBI's investigation into the allegations of John Hudson Wilson ended on November 27, 1963. The FBI: "Wilson has been critical of the FBI in the past, and has displayed psychopathic symptoms. Arrest by Castro July 1, 1959. We have prior information JACK RUBY was in Havana, Cuba, in 1959. It appears there is nothing to be gained from additional contact with Wilson. Legat being advised in attached cable to conduct no further investigation relative to Wilson. I concur. Hoover."
On April 17, 1967, Frank Ragano told the FBI that "he had known TRAFFICANTE on a personal and professional basis since childhood and he does not believe TRAFFICANTE has ever been associated with La Cosa Nostre...Ragano stated that a newspaper reporter from Long Island, New York, telephoned him to obtain confirmation of the story that JACK RUBY was to be flown from Dallas to Cuba when TRAFFICANTE was jailed by Castro since RUBY was allegedly friendly with Castro. Ragano stated that such an allegation was completely false and appeared to be in an attempt to involve TRAFFICANTE in the assassination of former President Kennedy."
RUBY'S last meeting with FBI S.A. Flynn was on October 2, 1959, and was no different from any of the others - judging from Flynn's report. On November 6, 1959, RUBY was dropped from the FBI Possible Criminal Informant rolls. After the assassination J. Edgar Hoover stated that RUBY was never an informant. [FBI 105-82555-2638] Why did RUBY meet with the FBI during the same time he was working to secure TRAFFICANTE'S release? Meyer Lansky was also in touch with the FBI around this time: "I told government authorities that Castro was a Communist and would present a problem; they thought I was just being greedy because I was losing my gambling interests." [FBI 92-102-2523, 5.6.69, Hollywood, Fla.] Ruby reported his highest net income in 1959 - $51,000. [WR p798]
RUBY'S PLANNED TRIP TO CUBA IN DECEMBER 1960
When Lewis J. McWillie testified before the HSCA he said RUBY was supposed to have flown to Cuba with Tony Zoppi, a Dallas columnist who was "the official odds maker" at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. The purpose of the trip was to get publicity for the Tropicana. Lewis J. McWillie produced a letter to Matty Brescia from Tony Zoppi that read: "Give my regards to McWillie next time you are in touch. JACK RUBY and I were supposed to visit him in Havana but I got sidetracked." (Lewis J. McWillie said that the son of Matty Brescia "was sitting in a window and he fell out of the window and it killed him"). According to Lewis J. McWillie "RUBY introduced Matty Brescia to Gordon McLendon." In 1971 the brother-in-law of Gordon McLendon, another RUBY associate, along with D'Alton Smith, a MARCELLO associate, dropped the names of Gordon McLendon and Clint Murchison, Jr. as powerful friends of Jimmy Hoffa who would help Edward Partin if he recanted his testimony against Jimmy Hoffa. When RUBY was taken into custody on November 24, 1963, Dallas Police found the telephone number EM 1-1197 on a slip of paper. This telephone number was listed to Gay McLendon. [FBI B544-337 JJs: res p254; Criss-Cross Directory Dallas 1963Coles Pub.] When the HSCA questioned Tony Zoppi, he told them that Matty Brescia worked for Gordon McLendon: "One evening around 1952, myself, Brescia, RUBY and Juanita Slusher (Stripper "Candy Barr" Barr said she was forced in 1951 at 16 to play the lead in a grainy black-and-white erotic movie titled "Smart Aleck." She shot her second of four husbands in the stomach in January 1956 after he came home drunk and threatened her. In 1956, while dating Mickey Cohn, she was arrested for marijuana. [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/04/arts/04barr.html]) were at one of RUBY'S clubs. Brescia introduced me to RUBY. He knew RUBY through Gordon McLendon." [HSCA V5 pl34, 172, V9 pl67, V5 p28-87]
Tony Zoppi told the HSCA that during September or October 1958 RUBY offered to write Lewis J. McWillie at the Tropicana to get the airplane tickets so Tony Zoppi, accompanied by RUBY, could fly to Cuba and review the acts at the Tropicana. Tony Zoppi agreed that RUBY went to Cuba in August 1959 on vacation, and that the trip Tony Zoppi and RUBY were to take was an entirely different trip. Tony Zoppi told the Committee that he never made the trip because a big show, starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. was scheduled for the same time. [HSCA V5 pl34, 72; V9 p67] Tony Zoppie supplied the Committee with an article he had written about RUBY in 1973. In this article he placed the date of his aborted trip to Cuba on December 17, 1960, just before the U.S. broke off diplomatic relations with the Castro regime. This dove-tailed with the date of the Sinatra-Martin-Davis show which took place from January 20, 1960 to February 16, 1960.
THE CONTRACT ON CASTRO
What motivated RUBY to have contemplated visiting Cuba during Christmas of 1960? By November 1959 the Cuban casinos