Ruby's Problems with Authorities

Financial Data and Tax Problems

Jack Ruby's pockets and the trunk of his car served as his bank. With a few exceptions, Ruby and his clubs rarely employed bank accounts. Instead, Ruby carried his cash with him, paying the bulk of his expenses and debts directly out of club receipts.

During the latter half of 1963, the Carousel, the Vegas, and Ruby each maintained checking accounts at the Merchants State Bank in Dallas. Balances of the latter two accounts never exceeded $275. In July 1963, the Carousel's account had more than $500; after August 8, its maximum balance was less than $800. Between May 31 and November 24, 1963, 53 checks were drawn on the three accounts; with the exception of one check for $129.47, all were for less than $100. He generally purchased cashier's checks at the Merchants State Bank to pay his monthly rental of $550 for the Carousel and $500 for the Vegas. He also purchased cashier's checks during the 3 months prior to the assassination to pay about $1,500 to the Texas State treasurer, $110 to Temple Shearith Israel, apparently for Jewish high holy day tickets, and $60 to the American Society of Authors and Publishers.

Records of the more than 50 banking institutions checked during the investigation of Ruby's financial affairs revealed that he had three other dormant accounts, all with small balances. Two safety deposit boxes belonging to Ruby, opened by Texas officials pursuant to search warrants, were empty and unused for more than a year prior to the assassination. Although Ruby negotiated several loans at the Merchants State Bank, there is no evidence that he was the maker or co-maker of other loans, and, after investigation, the Dallas Police Department found no record that Ruby cosigned the note of any policeman at any time.

Ruby's financial records were chaotic. One accountant abandoned efforts to prepare income tax returns and other financial statements because of the hopeless disarray of Ruby's data. The record indicates that Ruby was frequently weeks, if not months, late in filing Federal tax forms and that he held numerous conferences with Internal Revenue agents who attempted to obtain the delinquent statements. Ruby encountered serious difficulties with respect to State franchise and Federal excise and income taxes. The Texas charter of the corporation controlling the Sovereign and Carousel clubs was canceled in 1961, because Ruby failed to pay Texas franchise taxes. And, only after numerous conferences, did Ruby and representatives of the Internal Revenue Service reach agreements on installment payments of various Federal tax liabilities, to which Ruby more or less adhered.

Ruby's primary difficulty concerned Federal excise taxes. Advised by an attorney that the Vegas Club, a dance hall providing food, was not subject to Federal excise taxes because it was not a "cabaret," Ruby charged Vegas patrons on the assumption that no excise taxes were due. However, his attorney reported, when Federal courts ruled that dance halls providing "incidental" food were subject to excise taxes as "cabarets," Ruby became liable to the Federal Government for more than 6 years of taxes, amounting, with interest, to almost exactly $40,000.

Ruby also fell behind on his personal income tax payments. At the time of his arrest he owed more than $4,400 for 1959 and 1960. Remittances accompanied his 1961 and 1962 tax forms, the latter received by the office of the Dallas District Director on September 18, 1963. The following table summarizes amounts which Ruby reported as gross and net income from the Vegas Club from 1956 to 1962; and the taxes due:

YearGross IncomeNet IncomeTax

On his income tax forms, Ruby did not itemize personal deductions and claimed only his own exemption. For 1962, Ruby reported salary income of $650 from the corporation controlling the Carousel, and $900 for 1961.

Ruby and officers of the Internal Revenue Service frequently discussed methods of satisfying his large excise and income tax liability. In 1960, the Government filed tax liens for more than $20,000. In November 1962, the Government rejected Ruby's offer to pay $8,000 to compromise the assessed taxes of more than $20,000 because he had not filed returns for other Federal taxes and had not paid these taxes as they became due. These other taxes, for the period September 1959 through June 1962, amounted to an additional $20,000. In June 1963, Ruby submitted an offer of $3,000 to compromise all past assessments; the offer was not acted upon prior to November 24, 1963.

Other Business Ventures

In addition to nightclub management and ownership, Ruby participated in numerous other commercial ventures. He was able to do so primarily because work at the clubs consumed few of his daytime hours. Many of Ruby's ventures related to show business, others were somewhat speculative promotions; almost all ended unsuccessfully. While operating the Silver Spur Club, Ruby sold costume jewelry at discount rates, and, in about 1951, he sold sewing machine attachments at the Texas State Fair. Approximately a year later, he managed a talented young Negro boy, "Little Daddy" Nelson. The boy appeared at the Silver Spur, the Vegas Club, and the Bob Wills Ranch House. In about 1953 or 1954, Ruby took "Little Daddy" and his parents to Chicago to obtain a television appearance for him. However, shortly after their arrival, Ruby was confronted by a second woman claiming to be "Little Daddy's" mother. Upon advice of counsel, Ruby decided to abandon the venture.

In 1954, Ruby became interested in the sale of pizza crusts to Dallas restaurants. He is also reported to have sold an arthritic preparation and to have manufactured and sold "Miniron," a liquid vitamin formula. In about 1958 or 1959, Ruby attempted to build and sell log cabins at a Texas lake resort. In early 1959, he investigated the possibility of selling jeeps to Cuba. He is also reported to have furnished entertainment for a Dallas hotel, to have promoted records for musicians and to have sold English stainless steel razor blades.

In October 1963 Ruby assisted the producers of a carnival show, "How Hollywood Makes Movies," appearing at the Texas State Fair. At about this time Ruby also sought to open a new club in Dallas. He conferred with numerous persons and placed advertisements in Dallas newspapers in an attempt to obtain financial backing. Assuming that he would be occupied by the new club, Ruby offered his oldest brother, Hyman, a managerial post at the Carousel. However, Hyman, who had recently lost his sales territory, declined the offer because he felt he was too old for the nightclub business.

Ruby unsuccessfully attempted to sell "twist boards," an exercising device consisting of two square fiberboard's separated by ball bearings. Despite the contrary advice of his brother Earl, Jack ordered several dozen twist boards and had 2,000 promotional flyers published. He had one of his strippers demonstrate the twist boards at the Texas Products Show during the first week of November 1963.

Arrests and Violations

Between 1949 and November 24, 1963, Ruby was arrested eight times by the Dallas Police Department. The dates, charges, and dispositions of these arrests are as follows: February 4, 1949, Ruby paid a $10 fine for disturbing the peace. July 26, 1953, Ruby was suspected of carrying a concealed weapon; however, no charges were filed and Ruby was released on the same day. May 1, 1954, Ruby was arrested for allegedly carrying a concealed weapon and violating a peace bond; again no charges were filed and Ruby was released on the same day. December 5, 1954, Ruby was arrested for allegedly violating State liquor laws by selling liquor after hours; the complaint was dismissed on February 8, 1955. June 21, 1959, Ruby was arrested for allegedly permitting dancing after hours; the complaint was dismissed on July 8, 1959. August 21, 1960, Ruby was again arrested for allegedly permitting dancing after hours; Ruby posted $25 bond and was released on that date. February 12, 1963, Ruby was arrested on a charge of simple assault; he was found not guilty February 27, 1963. Finally, on March 14, 1963, Ruby was arrested for allegedly ignoring traffic summonses; a $35 bond was posted.

When Ruby applied for a beer license in March 1961, he reported that he had been arrested "about four or five times" between 1947 and 1953. Between 1950 and 1963, he received 20 tickets for motor vehicle violations, paying four $10 fines and three of $3. In 1956 and 1959, Ruby was placed on 6 months' probation as a traffic violator.

Ruby was also frequently suspended by the Texas Liquor Control Board. In August 1949, when he was operating the Silver Spur, he was suspended for 5 days on a charge of "Agents Moral Turpitude." In 1953 Ruby received a 5-day suspension because of an obscene show, and, in 1954, a 10-day suspension for allowing a drunkard on his premises. On February 18, 1954, he was suspended for 5 days because of an obscene striptease act at the Silver Spur and for the consumption of alcoholic beverages during prohibited hours. On March 26, 1956. Ruby was suspended by the liquor board for 3 days because several of his checks were dishonored. On October 23, 1961, he received another 3-day suspension because an agent solicited the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on licensed premises.

Source: Warren Commission Report