viii. Robert Ray McKeown
- Robert Ray McKeown was born on January 28, 1913.(1674) No details concerning his childhood or life before 1950 were known at the time of the committee's investigation.
- In the early 1950's, McKeown, who stated he was a mechanical engineer by profession, resided in Houston, Tex., where he owned a large machine shop. (1675) During the mid-1950's, McKeown and one Van Zeivander traveled through Latin America introducing a novel coffee cleaning machine that, Van Zeivander had designed. The success of this venture prompted McKeown to move to Santiago, Cuba, where he established a manufacturing plant, warehouse, and office to increase distribution of the machine. In 1957, however, McKeown lost the business when President Batista deported him for not providing kickbacks. (1676)
- McKeown next resided temporarily with his daughter, Jane Margaret Britt, in Miami, Fla., before again traveling the Caribbean countries in an attempt to regain possession of his Cuban business. (1677) When Federal agents arrested him in 1958 for conspiring to smuggle guns to Castro, for which McKeown received a 2-year suspended sentence and a 5-year probation, McKeown owned a home in the Shady Lake section near Pasadena, Tex.(1678) In a 1976 interview, McKeown stated that when arrested, he was vice president of the Texas Western Drilling Co. of Oklahoma City. (1679)
- Shortly after this arrest and prior to his sentencing, McKeown and a Jarrett formed a partnership and opened the J & M Drive-In on Red Bluff Road near Taylor Lake and Clear Lake, in the vicinity of Kemah and Seabrook, Tex. This business was sold a few years after its purchase when Jarrett died. (1680)
- During his probationary period, which extended to December 1963, McKeown continued to live in the Houston, Tex., vicinity, staying with his sister, Laverne, at 9138 Wayfarer Street, Houston. (1681) In an FBI interview in January 1964, McKeown stated he resided in Bay Cliff, Tex, and that the Houston Slush Pump Co., 2112 Quitman Street, Houston, employed him as a salesman. (1682) McKeown had a brother, Harry, who was also residing in Houston in 1978. (1683)
- Since 1966, McKeown has lived in Miami, Fla.(1684) He was formerly employed by the API Co. as head of quality control, but stopped work 5 years ago after an operation on his lungs. (1685) In poor health McKeown has been living with his daughter.
Treatment by the Warren Commission
- The FBI conducted the investigation of McKeown for the Warren Commission. He initially became a target of investigation when Jack Ruby stated in an interview with the FBI on December 1963, that "at a time when Castro was popular in the United States," he read of a person in the vicinity of Houston who had run guns to Castro. (1686) Ruby mentioned that he attempted to contact this person by telephone about the possibility of selling some jeeps or similar equipment to persons interested in their sale to Cuba. Ruby claimed nothing further developed from his efforts.
- The Houston FBI office advised on January 17, 1964, that Ruby most likely was referring to Robert Ray McKeown. (1687) When the FBI located McKeown and interviewed him on January 24, 1964, he stated that a person identifying himself as Rubenstein from Dallas had called him regarding assistance in obtaining the release of three persons from Cuba and that a few weeks later a person who would not identify himself personally visited him regarding the sale of jeeps to Castro McKeown subsequently determined this individual was Jack Ruby.(1688) This FBI interview also focused on McKeown's gunrunning activities and his associations with Fidel Castro and Carlos Prio Socarras.
- The FBI did not conduct any further interviews of McKeown, nor did it ever confront Ruby with the contention that Ruby visited McKeown personally. The FBI did provide the Warren Commission with a report revealing that McKeown was under FBI investigation in connection with the activities of Carlos Prio Socarras and that McKeown had been charged, together with various other persons, with conspiracy to smuggle guns and related equipment to Cuba.(1689) The Warren Commission did not, however, interview McKeown or take his testimony. Further, the Commission did not question Ruby about McKeown either in an interview or in a hearing. Considering McKeown's association with Prio and Castro, the potential Cuban connection McKeown could have provided Ruby, and the contradictions between Ruby's interview and McKeown's interview, it can be argued that both the FBI and the Warren Commission failed to investigate this matter adequately.
- McKeown also stated that Lee Harvey Oswald contacted him in the fall of 1963 regarding the sale of rifles. The Warren Commission could not have investigated this, however, since the story did not publicly surface until 1975.
- McKeown ostensibly received various amounts of income from the numerous jobs enumerated earlier. No financial records concerning this income were, however, available. (1690)
- In his committee hearing, McKeown stated that Scott Malone, a journalist, provided him with $100 in connection with McKeown's appearance on the British Broadcasting Co.'s production, "The Assassination of President Kennedy ... What Do We Know Now That We Didn't Know Then."(1691) McKeown also stated that he was presently under contract to write a book with Mark Lane which was to include McKeown's statements regarding the Ruby and Oswald contacts. McKeown said a $50,000 and a $10,000 figure had been discussed in connection with this contract. (1692)
- As already alluded to, McKeown cultured a close friendship with Carlos Prio Socarras. When McKeown entered a partnership to open the J and M Drive-In in 1958, Prio funded the venture with a loan. (1693) 'The Houston Post, September 20, 1959, also quoted McKeown as saying that Prio once promised him a one-half interest in the Seria Biltmore, a Havana hotel. (1694)
- McKeown also developed a close friendship with Castro. When Castro visited Houston in April 1959, McKeown met with him at the Houston airport. A photograph in the Houston Chronicle recorded the event, and an article accompanying the photograph quoted Castro as saying that when McKeown could move to Cuba, he would be given a post in the government or some franchise. (1695) (McKeown could not then legally leave the United States because of his probation.)
- McKeown's close association with Castro prompted many people to ask him for assistance in affairs pertaining to Cuba and Castro. For instance, McKeown stated that he contacted Castro after the United States broke diplomatic relations to obtain the release of three persons being detained in Cuba who were close friends of McKeown's brother. (1696) He also maintained that a Jack Porter, who he says was a campaign manager for Eisenhower, contacted him around 1959 about approaching Castro.(1697) Other examples of such contacts exist. (1698)
- In a discussion during his committee hearing in which there was a reference to Texas oil men, McKeown mentioned that he knew a Mr. Murchison. (1699) Besides the political connections already reviewed, McKeown did not acknowledge any other significant contacts involving legal activities. He also stated in his committee hearing that he was not aware of any contacts between himself and the CIA, or any other foreign or domestic intelligence agencies. (1700)
- As mentioned earlier, in a letter from Hoover to Rankin on April 17, 1964, the FBI informed the W. arren Commission that McKeown was one of the persons "in an extensive investigation conducted by the Bureau since 1952 concerning the activities of Carlos Prio Socarras."(1701) The FBI said that Prio, along with others including McKeown, was engaged in assisting Castro in his revolutionary pursuit against Batista.
- McKeown first became involved with Prio after Batista deported him (McKeown) from Cuba. He stated in a 1976 interview that Prio had contacted him through a person named Mario (last name unknown) regarding repossession of his business. He met Prio at the Shamrock Hotel in Houston where Prio told him how to locate Castro. (1702)
- After the initial contacts, McKeown soon became involved in gunrunning ventures aimed at overthrowing the Batista regime. He first began supplying arms through operations based in Miami and Tampa, but later switched to Houston, Tex., because of law enforcement pressure. (1703) The FBI learned that the July 26 Movement was planning a raid on Cuba from Texas. In connection with this raid, armaments shipments were sent to McKeown. (1704) Other FBI files also documented McKeown's involvement in simi lar illegal activities, (1705) particularly with Mario Villamia, a Miami citizen.
- On February 18, 1958, the San Antonio FBI office provided information that Robert Ray McKeown had purchased a yacht called the Buddy Dee. Customs officials seized this vessel a few days later for smuggling guns while it was cruising to Houston from Patterson, La. Those on board included Manuel Arques and Ruby Archer. (1706) On February 25, 1958, in connection with the seizure, Federal agents arrested McKeown and charged him with conspiracy to smuggle guns and related equipment to Cuba for the benefit and use of Castro. (1707) McKeown's codefendants in this action included Carlos Prio, Jorge Sotus, Manuel Arques, Mario Villiami and Evelyn Archer. (1708) On October 24, 1958, the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, convicted and sentenced McKeown to 60 days in jail, fined him $500, and imposed a 5-year probation period, to terminate December 11, 1963. (1709)
- After his conviction, it does not appear that McKeown continued to engage in illegal activities. In his committee hearing, he did mention that around 1968 a man named Torrento approached him with $100,000 to kill Castro; he refused the offer.(1710) McKeown also stated he was aware of it girl named Marceau Albinez who was involved in a plot to kill Castro which never fully developed.(1711)
- Regarding sources of income for the gunrunning operations, McKeown stated in an interview that he received money from his Cuban contacts in the office of an attorney who was counsel for Haiti and that the money was always bound in Pan American Bank Building wrappers. McKeown also stated that some U.S. Senators, whom he could not recall, assisted in supplying the arms. (1712)
- In his testimony, McKeown said he had met and was familiar with the following persons connected with revolutionary Cuban activities: (1) Antonio de Varona; (2) Joseph Merola; (3) William Morgan; and (4) Mario Valamois. (1713) He said he knew of the following individuals but had not met them: (1) Frank Sturgis, (2) Pedro Diaz Lanz, and (3) Dominik Barton. (1714)
Connections With Organized Crime
- McKeown did not seem to have any significant connection to organized crime. In an interview, he did state however that the "mob" supplied arms for gunrunning activities, but he could not provide any supportive evidence. (1715) McKeown also stated in his testimony that there were several individuals who had wanted the casinos opened. One called Matthews asked McKeown to visit Cuba and brief Castro on the benefits Castro would derive from opening them. McKeown could not comply because of his probation. (1716)
- While being questioned, McKeown said he never met and never heard of the following organized crime figures who were associated with Cuba: (1) Lewis McWillie, (2) Dino Cellini, (3) Loran Half, (4) Sergio Arcacha Smith, (5) R.D. Matthews, (6) Joseph Civello, (7) Jack Todd, and (8) Jim Braden.
- McKeown said he had heard of the following individuals, but did not know them and had probably never met them: (1) Santos Trafficante, (2) Carlos Marcello, (3) Vincent Marcello, (4) Michael McLaney, (5) Sam Giancana, (6) Meyer Lansky, (7) David Ferric, (8) Guy Banister, (9) Clay Shaw, (10) George de Mohrenschildt,(11) James Robert Dolan, (12) Sam Campisi, (13) Joseph Campisi, Candy Barr, and (15) John Roselli. (1717)
Relationship to Ruby
- Both Ruby and McKeown have related different accounts concerning the Ruby-McKeown contact briefly described earlier. Ruby had never specifically mentioned McKeown but spoke only of an individual in the vicinity of Houston who had run guns to Castro.
- In an attempt to ascertain the identity of this person, Assistant District Attorney William Alexander, Dallas, told the FBI on January 14,, 1964, that a source informed him that Ruby had previously contacted a "Davis," an ex-convict believed to be living_in Beaumont, Tex. Alexander said he thought the Houston FBI office handled an investigation of Davis which resulted in a conviction for gunrunning activities. (1718)
- On January 17, 1964, the Houston office advised that the "Davis" could not be identified in Houston or Beaumont, Tex. It did state, however, that Ruby probably was referring to a Robert Ray McKeown, who had been convicted of smuggling arms to Cuba in October 1958. An agent of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Unit of the IRS, who entered the evidence in the McKeown case, also stated that he could not recall a "Davis" in the McKeown case and failed to locate his name after searching his files. (1719) The investigation prompted the FBI to contact Robert Ray McKeown.
- To illustrate most effectively the various accounts of the Ruby-McKeown association, this material first relates Ruby's version and then chronologically details McKeown's numerous statements.
- Ruby's version.--During an interview with the FBI on December 21, 1963, Ruby commented that during "a time when Castro was popular in the United States," he had read of a person from the Houston area who had been involved in running guns to Castro. Ruby said that he attempted to contact this person by telephone in the hope of making some money by selling jeeps to persons interested in their importation to Cuba. Ruby stated that nothing mare happened. (1720)
- McKeown's version.---McKeown had related his versions numerous times since first describing the events to the FBi in January 1964. These various accounts, summarized below, contain inconsistencies which are discussed later.
- --FBI Report, January 28, 1964, Ruby file, Bureau No. HO 4=4-939, S.A. Daniel W. Fults, Jr.
As a result of the Ruby allegation, the FBI contacted McKeown and asked him to relate any association he had with Ruby. McKeown stated that about 1 week after Castro assumed control of Cuba, Anthony "Boots" Ayo, a patrolman for the Harris County sheriff's office, informed him that someone from Dallas, Tex., had been calling the Harris County sheriff's office in an effort to locate him. Ayo told McKeown that he didn't know the caller's name or the nature of his business. McKeown advised Ayo to give the caller the telephone number of the J and M Drive-In, McKeown's place of business. McKeown next stated that about 1 hour later a person called, identified himself as Jack Rubenstein from Dallas, Tex, affirmed McKeown's connection with Castro, and solicited McKeown's assistance in obtaining the release of three people Castro had detained in Cuba. Rubenstein offered McKeown $5,000 per person, stating that someone in Las Vegas would provide the money. McKeown said he would accept the offer on the condition that he first received some money. Rubenstein replied by saying he would think about it and call again. About 3 weeks after this call, McKeown stated that a man visited the J and M and offered him $25,000 for a letter of introduction to Cuba. The visitor, who did not identify himself, stated that he had access to a large number of jeeps in Shreveport, La, which he wished to sell to Cuba. McKeoWn said that he would provide the letter upon a $5,000 cash downpayment. McKeown said that the man "never returned nor did he ever see him .again." McKeawn next told the FBI that based on the numerous press photographs following the Oswald murder, the visitor strongly resembled Jack Ruby. McKeown remarked, however, that "he is not certain that the above-described telephone caller from Dallas or the man who personally appeared at the J and M Drive-In was identical with the Jack Ruby who killed LHO." McKeown also stated that he knew no one by the name of Davis who was convicted for running guns to Cuba. (1721)
- --CBS News Inquiry, "The American Assassins," part I, p. 19, 1975.
"The American Assassins" special principally related the Oswald-McKeown connection and only mentioned that Jack Ruby had come to see McKeown in 1959, offering him $25,000 for a letter of introduction to Fidel Castro. The transcript then noted that Ruby "never came back" to obtain the letter. (1722)
- -Interview of Robert Ray McKeown by Gaeton Fonzi, HSCA staff, August 27, 1976, Miami, Fla.
In this interview McKeown stated that a deputy sheriff came to the J and M Drive-In and informed him that someone from Dallas was attempting to telephone him. McKeown then told Ayo to provide the called with his number. About 30 minutes later McKeown received a call from a person who said his name was Rubenstein and he was from Dallas. After commenting that he thought McKeown's name was Davis, the caller stated that he knew five people being detained in Cuba and wanted to know if McKeown could obtain their release. Rubenstein then terminated the call after saying he would visit McKeown to review details. Soon after this call a person personally contacted McKeown and told him he had access to some jeeps in Shreveport, La., and some slot machines in New Mexico. This person told McKeown he desired to sell the equipment to Castro and consequently wanted a letter of introduction. McKeown replied saying this would cost $5,000 up front. The visitor mentioned that he knew some members of the Mafia in Cuba and had visited the country once while on vacation. The visitor also mentioned that Goldberg was the individual who possessed the jeeps in Louisiana. McKeown thought this visit occurred in January 1959, and displayed to the committee investigator a newspaper clipping dated January 3, 1959, and headlined, "Gunrunner Hails Castro Victory?' This may have been the impetus for the Rubenstein visit. During this interview, McKeown also commented that this visitor came to see him three times, a statement he claimed he had told the Warren Commission. Further, McKeown stated he knew it was Ruby because the person identified himself as "Rubenstein from Dallas?' McKeown then stated that he never gave any letter or assistance to Ruby because he didn't receive any money. (1732)
- --Interview of Robert Ray McKeown by the British Broadcasting Corp., December 1977 (broadcast January 1978).
McKeown stated that a person identifying himself as Jack Rubenstein called him from Dallas regarding his association with Castro and his assistance in releasing some people from Cuba. McKeown said he could not discuss the matter because of his upcoming trial (McKeown was sentenced in October 1958). McKeown next stated that the following day a person who claimed he was from Dallas and who McKeown said was Ruby visited him and mentioned that he wanted to visit Cuba on vacation and wanted a letter of introduction to Castro for which he would pay $25,000. Ruby also mentioned that he had some jeeps and some slot machines which he wished to sell to Castro. Further, Ruby stated he had never been to Cuba. Ruby then left for Houston and said he would return for the letter. McKeown told him that he would provide the letter for $12,500 up front and $12,500 later, with the entire transaction contingent on his meeting Castro. McKeown said that Ruby did return the next day, that they talked and visited some Cuban friends of McKeown's, but that Ruby did not provide any cash. After returning again the following day, Ruby still failed to produce any money. McKeown concluded by saying he never provided a letter and that Ruby never returned. (1724)
- --Immunized testimony of Robert Ray McKeown before the House Select Committee on Assassinations, April 12 1978.
In this testimony, McKeown said a person identifying himself as Jack Rubenstein(1725) called him and said he wanted a letter of introduction to assist in acquiring the return of several people from Jail. (1726) Rubenstein said that he would soon visit him to discuss the matter and also mentioned that he thought McKeown's name was Davis. (1727) A few days later a man visited McKeown and said he was the one who had called him. Rubenstein said he wanted a letter of introduction to Castro for which he would pay $25,000. McKeown responded by agreeing to provide the letter if Rubenstein would furnish $10,000 up front. (1728) McKeown also mentioned that the man said he had access to various jeeps, slot machines, and similar items.(1729) McKeown maintained that Rubenstein revisited him three or four times and stated that he did not tell the FBI on January 28, 1964, that the man never came to see him again,(1730) which the FBI document reflects. (1731) McKeown never received any money and therefore never provided any letter. McKeown also mentioned that he believes he told the FBI about the Ruby visit sometime before the assassination and that he visited the FBI the day after the assassination to inform them about Ruby. No records concerning personal FBI contact with McKeown exist beside the January 1964 interview. (1732)
- As mentioned above, neither the Warren Commission nor the FBI reinterviewed McKeown or confronted Ruby with McKeown's contentions of multiple visits. The FBI did interview Anthony J. "Boots" Ayo, who corroborated McKeown's statement that Ayo contacted him regarding someone calling from Dallas.
- No further investigation was apparently conducted.
- Inconsistencies.--Besides the obvious differences between Ruby's and McKeown's recollection of their mutual association, important substantive inconsistencies permeate McKeown's accounts. Some of the central points that disappear or are altered in McKeown's various statements are: ( 1 ) How and when McKeown determined the person who visited him was Jack Ruby; (2) The number of people Ruby wished to remove from Cuba; (3) When these Ruby cont acts occurred; (4) How many times Ruby visited McKeown m person; (5) The amount of time between the phone call and the personal visit or visits; (6) Whether McKeown ever heard Ruby ask about a Davis; and (7) When McKeown first spoke to the FBI about these contacts.
Relationship to Oswald
- McKeown first publicly acknowledged a contact between himself and Lee Harvey Oswald on the CBS News special, "The American Assassins," aired November 1975. As with the alleged Ruby contact, McKeown's statements about Oswald summarized below, contain inconsistencies.
- --CBS News Inquiry, "The American Assassins," November 1975. A few weeks before the assassination, McKeown stated that two men visited his house around 11 o'clock one Saturday morning. A small, blond-headed man identified himself as Lee Oswald and said that he, McKeown, was the person he sought. Oswald then said he wanted some bazookas and machineguns. After McKeown refused to help, Oswald and the second man, tall Latin named Hernandez, left, only to return in about 5 minutes. This time Oswald asked McKeown to acquire "four powerful maybe .300 Savage automatics with a telescopic sight on them." Oswald told McKeown he would pay $1,000 for each rifle. McKeown reiterated that he would not get involved. McKeown also said a friend of his, Sam Neill, witnessed this encounter. Neill corroborated this story on the CBS special and said he had "no doubt" that the person was Lee Harvey Oswald. McKeown likewise said it was "certainly him." In response to a question, McKeown said he believed that in his 1964 interview, the FBI had asked him whether he had ever had any knowledge or contact with Oswald. McKeown said he was scared and probably responded by saying he had never seen him. Neill likewise was afraid to become involved.(1734)
- --Interview of Robert Ray McKeown by HSCA investigator Gaeton Fonzi, August 27, 1976.
McKeown told Fonzi that on a Saturday morning at his home in Bay Cliff, Tex. in September or August 1963, two men visited his house. One man identified himself as Lee Oswald; the other man was called Hernandez. McKeown said that a friend of his, Sam Neill, was also present. After introducing themselves, McKeown said that Oswald wanted McKeown to furnish arms for a revolution in San Salvador. McKeown refused to cooperate, and the men departed, only to return in a few minutes. This time Oswald asked McKeown to provide four high-powered automatic rifles with telescopic lens, specifically .300 Savage automatics. Oswald said he was willing to pay up to $10,000. McKeown stated he realized this man was the Lee Harvey Oswald who allegedly shot President Kennedy upon witnessing the murder of Oswald. McKeown also said that Sam Neill called him immediately after this event and told him that he also recognized Oswald as the man who had visited the house.
- --Interview of Robert Ray McKeown by the British Broadcasting Corp., December 1977 or January 1978.
During this interview, McKeown stated that approximately months before the assassination, two men visited his home. McKeown said that Sam Neill was present and that his wife was upstairs changing. One man identified himself as Lee Oswald and asked McKeown to acquire some weapons to assist them in the overthrow of the El Salvador government. Oswald and the other man, named Hernandez, departed when McKeown refused to help. After a few minutes, the man (later identified as Oswald) returned and told McKeown he would pay him $1,000 each for four automatic rifles with telescopic lens. McKeown again refused. McKeown also stated that Sam Neill called him after Ruby shot Oswald and told him that Oswald was the man who had visited them. (1736)
- --Immunized testimony of Robert Ray McKeown, April 12, 1978.
McKeown stated that one morning sometime before the assassination, two strangers visited his house. One man identifield himself as Lee Oswald and asked McKeown to supply some armaments for a revolution in El Salvador. After McKeown refused Oswald and the second man, called Hernandez, (1737) left. McKeown also said that his wife was upstairs and that a friend of his, Sam Neill, was present. (1738) After a few minutes the two men returned and Oswald told McKeown he would pay him $10,000 for four .300 Savage automatics with telescopic lens. After McKeown again refused, they departed. (1739) McKeown also stated Sam Neill called him after the shooting of Oswald and told him that the man who shot Oswald was the same man who visited the house. (1740) In his testimony, McKeown stated he believed that just after the assassination he told his probation officer, a man named Fields, of the contact with Oswald.(1741) McKeown also stated that during his 1964 interview, the FBI did not ask him anything about Oswald, and he did not volunteer any information.(1742) The FBI report does not agree.(1743) McKeown had absolutely no explanation for why he withheld the information from the FBI, or why he told the FBI about Ruby and not Oswald. McKeown also stated that he could not recall telling Dan Rather on the CBS News Inquiry that Oswald only offered him $1,000 per rifle; he stated he told Dan Rather $10,000. (1744) McKeown did reiterate, however, that he was positive that Oswald and Ruby had visited him. (1745)
- Warren Commission response. When interviewed by the FBI in 1964 concerning the Ruby contacts, McKeown said that to his knowledge he "had" never seen or met Lee Harvey Oswald. (1746) Further, McKeown did not publicly acknowledge this contact until 1975. Consequently, neither the Warren Commission nor the FBI had the opportunity to investigate it.
- Inconsistencies. Like his statement concerning the Ruby visit, numerous inconsistencies exist in McKeown's recollections of the alleged Oswald contact: (1) Price of the rifles; (2) mention of the revolution in El Salvador; (3) when the visit occurred; (4) whether the FBI asked McKeown about any knowledge or contact with Oswald; and (5) why McKeown would have told the FBI about the Ruby contact and not about the Oswald contact.
- Executive session testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
ix. Lewis J. McWillie
- McWillie was born May 4, 1908, in Kansas City, Mo. He resided in Dallas, Tex., from 1940 to 1958.(1748) In 1941 and 1942, he was employed at the Blue Bonnet Hotel. (1749) He then worked at the Top of the Hill Terrace, a gambling club in Arlington, Tex. (1750) McWillie also ran a gambling house in Fort Worth called the Four Duces. (1751)
- In September 1958, McWillie moved to Cuba and managed the Tropicana Casino until May 1960.(1752) He worked as a pitboss at the Capri Hotel-Casino in Cuba from May 1960 to January 2, 1961, when he left Cuba.(1753) McWillie also worked in Aruba and Curacao. (1754)
- In 1961, McWillie worked at the Cal-Neva Lodge in Nevada,(1755) and then at the Riverside Hotel, Thunderbird Club Carousel Club (Las Vegas), and the Horseshoe Club. (1756) In 1978, McWillie was employed at the Holiday Inn Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.(1757)
Treatment by the Warren Commission
- The FBI interviewed McWillie about his relationship with Ruby on two occasions. (1758) McWillie was not interviewed by Warren Commission staff, nor did he testify before the Commission.
- McWillie was mentioned in the Warren Report, which stated that in September 1959, Ruby went to Cuba to visit "a close friend and known gambler, Lewis J. McWillie." (1759)
- According to the Report, McWillie left Cuba in January 1961,* and in 1963, Ruby sent him a pistol in Las Vegas, "but McWillie did not accept the package." (1760) The Report concluded by stating:
The Commission has found no evidence that McWillie has engaged in any activities since leaving Cuba that are related to pro- or anti-Castro political movements or that he was involved in Ruby's abortive jeep transaction. (1761)
- An appendix to the Warren Report included the following:
Ruby apparently met McWillie in about 1950 when McWillie operated a Dallas nightclub. McWillie, whom Ruby said he idolized, supervised gambling activities at Havana's Tropicana Hotel in 1959 and later was employed in a managerial capacity in a Las Vegas gambling establishment. Ruby testified that he went to Havana for 8 days in August 1959 and left because he was not interested in its gambling activities. McWillie corroborated this story except he stated only that Ruby visited Havana "sometime in 1959."(1762)
- Ruby testified before the Warren Commission that McWillie called him from Cuba and requested that Ruby contact Ray Brantley, a gun store proprietor in Dallas, and have "four little Cobra guns" sent to Cuba. (1763) Ruby stated:
I called Ray Brantley and I said, "Ray, McWillie called me." I don't remember if he sent me a letter or he called. He said he wants four little Cobras, or something like that. He said, "I know Mac. I have been doing business with him for a long time." (1764)
Ruby said this incident occurred during the early part of 1959. (1765) He had been asked, during his polygraph examination, if he told the truth about relaying the message to Ray Brantley regarding the guns, and Ruby replied, "Yes."(1766) Ruby also testified that he "idolized" McWillie. (1767)
*McWillie's activities regarding Ruby and Cuba are discussed at length in another section of this volume.
- The FBI interviewed Ray Brantley, the owner of Ray's Hardware Store, where Ruby allegedly purchased the guns.(1768) Brantley stated that Ruby purchased one Colt Cobra on January 19, 1960. (1769) He also stated that, at Ruby's request, on May 10, 1963, he sent a .38 Smith and Wesson Centennial revolver to L.J. McWillie in Las Vegas, Nev. (1770) Because McWillie did not pick up the revolver at the post office, it was returned to the store. (1771) In her FBI interview, Mrs. Brantley related the same information.(1772)
- McWillie told the FBI that in 1963 he did request that Ruby send him a gun, but after discussing it with his wife, he decided not to pick it up at the post office. (1773) McWillie was not asked by the FBI or the Warren Commission if he ever requested that Ruby send him guns in Cuba.
- McWillie had been engaged in gambling activities for 46 years (1774) in Memphis, Tenn.; Jackson, Miss.; Dallas, Tex.; Havana, Cuba; Miami, Fla.; and Reno and Las Vegas, Nev.(1775) McWillie, however, did not have an extensive arrest record.(1776) While he was arrested in Dallas, Tex., in 1949 for investigation of gambling, he was released.(1777)
- McWillie admitted being acquainted with several organized crime and gambling figures, including R.D. Matthews,(1778) a Dallas and Las Vegas gambler; Joseph Civello,(1779) a Dallas organized crime leader (now deceased); and Sam Yaras, (1780) the brother of organized crime figure, Dave Yaras. In Cuba, McWillie knew Santos Trafficante, Jake Lansky, and Dino Cellini, notorious organized crime figures. (1781) He stated, however, that he knew them only "casually."(1782) McWillie was employed in Cuba by Martin and Pedro Fox, who were allegedly involved in narcotics and gambling activities.(1783) McWillie stated that he made a number of trips to Miami to deposit money in banks for the Foxes. (1784) Relationship With Ruby
- McWillie told the FBI that he had known Ruby since 1947 or 1948 but, according to the FBI report, "knew him only as an operator of a nightclub."(1785) According to another FBI report, McWillie also stated that his association with Ruby was:
strictly social and personal without any intertwined business interests, knowing that Ruby is not a gambler and does not understand the gambling business. (1786)
- McWillie did not believe Ruby was involved in "gambling, prostitution, or illegal liquor sales."(1787) He said Ruby had infrequently visited the Top of the Hill Club where McWillie was employed. (1788)
- McWillie told the committee he had met Ruby in approximately 1951. (1789) He explained that he would see Ruby occasionally at Webb's Coffee Shop in the Southland Hotel, a late-night restsurant, and was told Ruby operated the Vegas Club.(1790) McWillie made the following statement regarding his first meeting with Ruby:
Finally, one night we got up to go out into the lobby of the hotel and he walked up to me and said, "Is your name McWillie? I said, "Yes." And he explained who he was and that he was Jewish and that he was having a problem with his nightclub. He talked like a real nice fellow. I said. "Why don't you go see Mr. Schepps-a man named Julius Schepps.?" He owned a big liquor distributing place there and he used to play with us at the Top of Hill, a real nice man. (1791)
- McWillie stated that Ruby did see Schepps and "from then on. I could never get rid of Jack Ruby."(1792) McWillie also stated that Ruby sort of "idolized" him.(1793) He indicated that the problem with Ruby's club was that "they were making him close early or something."(1794) McWillie told the committee that Ruby visited him in Cuba in 1959. (1795)
- McWillie informed the FBI that in 1961, after leaving Cuba, he drove from Miami, Fla., to Lake Tahoe, Nev. En route from Miami, he stopped in Dallas, and stayed overnight at Ruby's apartment. (1796) According to the FBI report, McWillie only saw Ruby for "2 or 3 hours on this occasion."(1797) McWillie told the committee that this 1961 visit was the last time he saw Ruby. (1798) He stated, however, that 'he received several letters from Ruby concerning Ruby's clubs. (1799) According to McWillie. Ruby never visited him in Las Vegas. (1800)
- McWillie told both the FBI and the committee about his request in the early part of 1963 to have Ruby send a gun to Las Vegas. (1801) McWillie did not, however, recall asking Ruby to send four guns to Cuba in 1959. (1802)
- McWillie told the FBI that his last contact with Ruby was approximately 2 months before the assassination, when Ruby telephoned him about:
some trouble he was having with a show, as a result of which he referred Ruby to Bill Miller, the owner of the Riverside Hotel in Reno, where McWillie had formerly been club managet. Their discussion on this occasion had to do only with the club's act with which Ruby was concerned. (1803)
- McWillie also told the committee that Ruby had contacted him in 1963 and informed him of same "trouble" he was having with AGVA.(1804) McWillie said Ruby asked him if he knew the president of the union. (1805) McWillie did not, but referred Ruby to Bill Miller. (1806) McWillie also called Miller and told him a friend of his was having trouble with AGVA. (1807) Ruby subsequently contacted Miller and later called McWillie a number of times to express his thanks for McWillie's assistance. (1808) McWillie stated he had no familiarity with AGVA's operations in Dallas.(1809)
- McWillie described Ruby as being a very frugal individual (1810) who was always courteous to the Dallas policemen and gave them whiskey as Christmas presents. (1811) McWillie told the committee he believed Ruby wanted to be a big man around Dallas and that he shot Oswald in order to become a martyr of some sort. (1812)
- Regarding Ruby's associates McWillie stated that he and Ruby had two mutual friends, Jake Rifkin, a gambler, and Meyer Panitz, a bookmaker. (1813) According to McWillie, Ruby knew the two Campisi brothers, (1814) Jack Todd (1815) and Gordon McLendon. (1816)
- McWillie told the FBI that "he did not. believe Ruby had any underworld connections" but might have been "acquainted with some figures in gambling and other illegal activities." (1817)
- The transcript of the deposition taken by the House Select Committee on Assassinations can be found in JFK volume V, hearings before the House Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 7ff.
x. Lawrence V. Meyers
- Lawrence V. Meyers was born Decemher 16, 1910, in New York, (1818) spent a number of years working in various California cities after leaving New York as a teenager,(1819) and settled in the Chicago area, staying there for 8 years. There is an indication that he once went by the name of Hyman Victor Meyers.(1820) In 1978, he was living in Dallas, having moved there in March 1964 for business purposes.(1821) He married in 1936 and had three children.
- In 1963, Meyers was a sales manager in the sporting goods division of Ero Manufacturing Co., 714 West Monroe. Street, Chicago. (1823) In 1964, he moved to a similar position with a competitor, Farber Brothers, Inc., of Memphis Tenn.(1824) In 1963, he told an acquaintance that his headquarters was in Chicago and that he had business interests in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Las Vegas. (1825) In 1978, Meyers was semiretired and worked for himself under the corporate name of LVM Sales, Inc. He was also connected with Walls Industry of Cleburne Tex. (1826)
- There is no indication that Meyers had engaged in criminal activities, had a criminal record or had been the subject of any criminal or related investigations (besides the assassination investigation). He did not appear to have any political or law enforcement connections.
Treatment by the Warren Commission
- The Warren Commission considered Meyers to be a personal friend of Jack Ruby, with no intimation of crimnal or similar links, and it merely tried to examine the extent of this friendship, Meyers' impressions of Ruby, and Meyers' possible knowledge of any of Ruby's actions or associates. Meyers' Commission testimony of August 24, 1964, taken by Burr Griffin, was therefore direct and somewhat brief. (1827) Meyers was accommodating and responsive, but his recollection of dates and details was somewhat poor, as it was during his 1978 committee deposition. (1828)
- Meyers told the Warren Commission that he first met Jack Ruby by chance at the Carousel nightclub, although he was not certain of the exact date. He, said he had known Ruby for 6 or 7 years. (1829) (This predated Ruby's ownership of the Carousel.) In his 1978 deposition, Meyers said that he first met Ruby at a sporting goods show in Dallas in 1961 or early 1962, to which Ruby had gone because of his interest in barbells and physical culture. (1830) Meyers shared that interest, and they also had their mutual Chicago backgrounds and religious beliefs.
- While their relationship has been described by a Carouse] dancer as casual,(1831) Meyers stated in 1964 that he had seen Ruby to 35 times since their first meeting; they always met in Dallas at the Carousel, as Meyers had occasion to make frequent business trips to Dallas. (1832) In 1978, Meyers amended the number of contacts to 12. (1833)
- There is no indication that any pre-1963 visits by Meyers were relevant. Meyers visited Dallas at least four times in 1963. (1834) One visit occurred in October. Most of the details concerning this visit came from Joyce Lee McDonald, a dancer at the Carousel, who stated that she first met Meyers on October 10, 1963, at the club and saw him there for several evenings that week; she once had a few drinks with him. (1835)
- Meyers' testimony indicated that he first met McDonald that week at the Texas State Fair (at the Dallas Fairgrounds), where McDonald had a part-time job involving a film promotion. This project was undergoing financial difficulties, and a $100 check from McDonald's employers at the fair had bounced after Jack Ruby had cashed it. McDonald explained this situation to Meyers, and he responded by giving her a check for $200, payable to Ruby. (1836) In 1978, Meyers believed that the check might have been for $300 or $400. (1837) He said that Ruby was the payee because he thought Ruby would cash his check drawn on a Chicago bank without any inquiries or hesitation. (1838) McDonald stated that she kept $100 and gave Ruby $100 to reimburse him for the bounced check. McDonald could not explain Meyers' motive in writing the check, but believed that he would "make some type of request of her in the future. "(1839)
- This incident seemed trivial, but Meyers was also in Dallas during the week of the assassination, arriving from Chicago with a female companion, Jean West, who also used the name Jean Aase. (1840) Meyers had first met West in Chicago a week or two before the assassination at a lounge in the apartment building where West lived at the time. Meyers described her as a "semi-professional hooker." (1841) They arrived in Dallas on November 20, 1963, registering at the Dallas Ramada Inn. They moved to the Dallas Cabana on November 21, 1963.(1842) Meyers was not able to explain fully the switch in motels and offered the possibilities that the Cabana was completely booked or that he needed sleep after arriving in Dallas, and the Ramada Inn was located at the Dallas airport. (1843)
- Meyers conducted his normal business activities during the day on November 21, 1963 and, accompanied by West, visited Ruby at the Carousel that evening,(1844) although in 1978 his recollections of this meeting were very vague, virtually non-existent. (1845) The Carousel visit lasted for approximately one hour; they had drinks and discussed show personalities, the acts at the Carousel, and other things. (1846) Meyers told the Warren Commission that Ruby was upset that evening over the firing of Janet Conforto ("Jada"), one of his performers, (1847) although the dismissal had occurred one month earlier. (1848)
- Meyers and West returned to the Cabana after having invited Ruby to join them there for a drink. Ruby arrived at the Cabana ,it approximately midnight, (1849) where he met Meyers and West and was introduced to Edward Meyers (Lawrence's brother) and his wife. Edward Meyers was in Dallas attending a convention related to his New York bottling ,and distributing business. (1850) Ruby stayed at the Cabana only a few minutes, saying he had to return to his club. (1851)
- Meyers' next contact with Ruby occurred Saturday night, November 23, 1963, although the exact circumstances are muddled. When interviewed following the assassination, Meyers had spoken of a telephone call to his room at approximately 10 p.m. from Ruby. They talked for 15 to 20 minutes, were unable to arrange a meeting that night, and made tentative plans to have dinner the following evening. (1853) In 1978, Meyers adamantly stated that he also had dinner with Ruby on Saturday night at the Cabana. (1854) This has not been corroborated and seems very unlikely in light of the committee's knowledge of Ruby's activities during that weekend.(1855)
- Meyers told the FBI that on Sunday, November 24, 1963, Meyers went to McKinney, Tex., on business and then to Sherman, Tex., intending to play golf, but this was canceled after news of the shooting of Oswald arrived. (1856) Meyers told the committee that he received the news of the shooting while driving to his golf date and that he continued and played a round of golf (shooting his "worst round ever"). (1857) Meyers stated that the news left him in disbelief, and he decided against trying to contact either Ruby or the Dallas police department. (1858) On Monday, November 25, Meyers and West flew back to Chicago. Meyers never saw West again.(1859)
- Meyers characterized Ruby as an emotional, aggressive individual with strong views on most issues. Ruby often told Meyers about the labor problems he was having and of his admiration for President Kennedy. Meyers related that Ruby often dropped names (of entertainers, public officials, Dallas police officers, "racket poodle"), but the only friend or associate of Ruby's that he ever met was George Senator. The Warren Commission inquired as to whether Ruby ever told Meyers about any underworld association. Meyers responded affirmatively, saying that Ruby dropped names many times, but always in a general way rather than specifically.(1860) Meyers also disavowed any knowledge of a Ruby involvement in specific criminal activities such as narcotics or prostitution, (1861) although he mentioned that Ruby once said something about scalping sports tickets in Chicago and being a runner for a Chicago numbers racket. (1862) Meyers believed that Ruby's shooting of Oswald was a totally impulsive act. (1863)
- When discussing the November 23, 1963, telephone call from Ruby (or the dinner conversation), (1864) Meyers stated that Ruby seemed very disturbed about the assassination and the fact that other Dallas nightclubs were remaining open that weekend, with Ruby remarking that he had to do something about the situation. Meyers said that Ruby became quite incoherent during this conversation.(1865)
- Along with taking Meyers' testimony, the Warren Commission also examined 1963 FBI reports on Meyers, West and Edward Meyers (1866) and examined telephone records for Meyers' 1963 employer, the Ero Manufacturing Company.(1867) No calls of a suspicious nature were found.
- The Commission also questioned several other witnesses as to whether they knew or had heard of Lawrence V. Meyers. Ralph Paul said Meyers' name meant nothing to him. (1868) Eva Grant, (1869) Alice Nichols (1870) and Curtis Crafard (1871) all said they had no recollection of this individual, although Meyers has stated that he knew Eva Grant.(1872) Ruby's roommate, George Senator, said he remembered meeting Meyers at the Carousel one night during the summer of 1963, although he was not sure of the date. Senator gave the Warren Commission a brief description of Meyers and stated that he knew a little bit about his business, but not how Ruby had met him. (1873) Senator stated that he met Meyers just that one time, but Meyers told the FBI that he had met Senator at the Carousel on several occasions,(1874) and he told the Commission that he had met Senator about six times, the first time being shortly after he met Ruby. (1875) In 1978, however, Meyers stated he had met Senator only once, merely saying hello and how are you. (1876) Meyers has also stated that he had met Abe Weinstein casually, after Weinstein was out of the nightclub business, (1877) and that he knew Joe Campisi, having first met him in the late 1960's or early 1970's at a golf tournament. (1878)
- Deposition before the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
xi. Leonard Patrick
- Leonard Patrick was born on October 6, 1913, in Chicago, ILL., and resided there his entire life.(1879) He attended Shephard Grammar School, located at Fillmore and Francisco Streets, in Chicago. After completing the seventh grade, he left school and worked as a delivery boy. (1880)
- On June 28, 1933, Patrick received a 10-year sentence for robbing a bank in Culver, Ind. (1881) His codefendants in the bank robbery had been his brother, Jack Patrick, Edward Murphy, John Gray and John Davis. (1882) He went to the Indiana State Reformatory on June 28, 1933. (1883) On February 22, 1933, he was transferred to the Indiana State Penitentiary. (1884) Patrick was paroled on March 11, 1940. His sponsor was E. Szontagh from Chicago. (1885) Patrick was to reside with Dave Kovin in Chicago; he worked for the R.D. Kane Co. (1886)
- On September 10, 1975, Patrick was convicted of contempt of court for his refusal to testify under a grant of immunity against a Chicago police lieutenant accused of income tax evasion. (1887) As of July 1978, Patrick had served 21 months of a 4-year sentence (1888) and on July 3, 1978, he was released and placed under the supervision of a halfway house. (1889)
- Patrick's known aliases have been Pete Leonardi, Lenny Patrick, Lennie Patrick, Joseph Cohen, Leonard Levine and "Blinkey."
- When Patrick was interviewed by FBI agents on September 10, 1948, he stated that he and his brother, Jack, operated the New Lawndale Restaurant at 3714 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago, ILL. (1890) He and his brother had had a part interest in this restaurant for over 2 years, and they had recently purchased the remaining outstanding interest from Sid Libby. (1891) Previous to his association with the New Lawndale Restaurant, Patrick was employed as a houseman at the Arcade Restaurant located at Kedzie and Roosevelt Roads. (1892)
- In 1954, it was reported that Patrick had been employed as a salesman for an unnamed business. (1893) During 1956, he reportedly was employed as a salaried freelance salesman for Club Specialty, Inc., (1894) selling plastic specialty items to advertising businesses.(1895)
- In June 1957, an FBI informant advised that Patrick and Dave Yaras had purchased a bathhouse on North Avenue. (1896) This establishment was operated as a bathhouse open to the public, but also had plush quarters for gambling on the upper floors. (1897)
- In August 1957, Patrick was employed by Irving Kaufman, president of the Irv Sales Co., at a salary of $150 per week.(1898) Kaufman said Patrick performed a "watch service." His identity remained anonymous, and he checked on employees in the approximately 201 branch stores in Chicago and its vicinity, calling in his reports. ( 1899 )
- During the late 1950's, Patrick may have also been involved with the Reliable Products Co., 3398 Roosevelt Road, Chicago. (1900) The company is listed officially in the name of Jack Patrick, Leonard Patrick's brother.(1901).
- On July 17, 1958, the FBI interviewed Louis Hennick who. advised that he owned the Douglas Park Hotel and that Jack Patrick was the day manager and Leonard Patrick, the night manager. (1902) In 1960, an informant advised that both Jack and Leonard Patrick were still "connected" with the hotel and that it was still "fronted" by Louis Hennick. (1903)
- In 1959, an FBI informant advised that he had heard Patrick had an interest in several northside restaurants in Chicago, one of which was the Black Angus Restaurant. (1904)
- On January 1, 1963, it was reported to the FBI that Patrick was employed by Herman Sales Co. as a premium salesman and was contacting various business houses in the Chicago area.(1905) On February 18, 1963, an FBI informant stated that he had learned from an associate that Patrick was connected with the A-1 Industrial Uniform Co. (1906) in which Dave Yaras also owned an interest. (1907)
- In 1964, it was reported to the FBI that Patrick and Hy "Red" Larner were partners in the Venocoa Music Co.(1908) It was also reported that Patrick and Larner were attempting to purchase the City Music Co. (1909)
Treatment by Warren Commission
- Leonard Patrick was not called to testify before the Warren Commission, and there is no indication that anyone other than FBI agents interviewed him. (1910) The FBI report is very brief and does not show whether Patrick was questioned thoroughly regarding his association with Ruby. (1911)
- The Warren Report states that "virtually all of Ruby's Chicago friends stated that Ruby had no close connection with organized crime." (1912) One of these people was Patrick who made that claim in his FBI interview. (1913) The Warren Report continues that "in addition, unreliable as their reports may be, several known Chicago criminals have denied any such liaison." (1914) Again one cite is Patrick's FBI interview. The report concludes by stating that "Ruby was questionably familiar, if not friendly, with some Chicago criminals, but there is no evidence that he ever participated in organized criminal activity."(1915) This statement was made without having determined the extent and nature of Ruby's connection with Patrick.
Illegal Activities and Organized Crime
- In 1958 it was reported that the U.S. attorney in Chicago listed Patrick among the principal hoodlums in Chicago.(1916) Patrick was described as having supervision of the West Side handbooks, along with Sam Battaglia and William Block. (1917) In 1960 Patrick was included on a list of syndicate gambling "fixers" and supervisors. (1918) He was described as a:
* * * west side gunman who seized control of gambling in Rogers Park 4 years ago. Patrick learned his trade in the west side's 24th Ward where he "engineered" the muscle and, reportedly. the murders of gamblers opposing the crime syndicate. (1919)
- A September 27, 1962, Federal Bureau of Narcotics memorandum states that the upper echelon in Chicago's organized crime was composed of Anthony Accardo, Frank Ferraro, Gus Alex, and Murray Humphreys.(1920) The second echelon was composed of Ross Prio, who reportedly supervised "general overall gambling and other illegal operations on Chicago's north side," Phillip Cerone, Sr., Charles Nicoletti, Ralph Pierce, James Allegretti, Joseph Aiuppa, Sam Battaglia, Marshall Caifano, Francis J. Curry, and Leonard Patrick.(1921) Patrick was described as "having diversified responsibilities of gambling activities in the Summerdale and Rogers Park districts under Ross Prio."(1922)
- A Chicago Crime Commission memorandum, dated November 10, 1947, reported that Patrick was formerly employed in it handbook operation at 3613 West Roosevelt Road and was the owner of a tavern at 3166 Ogden Avenue.(1923) A handbook allegedly was operated in the back of this tavern.(1924) Patrick was also said to be associated with poker games that were operated there. (1925)
- On February 26, 1958, a Chicago FBI informant advised Patrick operated a "50-50 book in 1948 and 1949." (1926) The book was operated in a barbershop at 330 West Roosevelt, and payments were made to Patrick at the New Lawndale restaurant.(1227) The informant stated that "there was a full-scale hard cardbook being operated" at the New Lawndale restaurant and that Patrick had the area from Kedzie to Cicero and from Madison South to approximately 18th Street. (1928) No one could open a book or take on any bets unless he had the "OK" from Patrick. (1929) According to the informant, during this period Patrick's lieutenants were William Block and Dave Yaras. (1930)
- Sometime during this period, Patrick attempted to move into the area of Broadway, Diversey and Belmont, which was operated by Rocco Fischetti. (1931) According to the informant, three of Patrick's "muscle" Narti Potski. "Little Sneeze" Friedman, and one other, were killed in the New Lawndale restaurant, ostensibly for robbing books but actually because of their association with Patrick.(1932) The informant believed that the dispute between Patrick and Fischetti was arbitrated by Anthony Accardo. (1933)
- The Chicago Crime Commission files also included a Chicago Tribune article, dated May 6, 1952, concerning the murder of David Zatz, who was found shot to death in the trunk of a car on May 5, 1952.(1934) It was reported that Zatz operated a handbook and was known as a "syndicate front" for Dave Yaras and Leonard Patrick. (1935) Yaras and Patrick were described in this article as "the gang's representatives under the rule of Marshall Caifano." (1936)
- In May 1955, a Chicago Crime Commission memorandum reported that a handbook operated at the Black Angus Restaurant was managed by Eugene Luffman, who acted as a "front" for Patrick.(1937) In 1955, an FBI informant advised that another "book place" was located at Sol Sleisenter's* Furniture Store on Roosevelt Road, which allegedly belonged to another individual, but Patrick collected for this operation. (1938)
*Correct spelling unknown.
- In 1958, it was reported that Yaras and Patrick controlled the Roosevelt Avenue area and that their headquarters were located at Roosevelt and Independence Boulevard.(1939) In the late 1950's, Patrick was also alleged to be operating several other bookmaking establishments, in addition to those previously mentioned.(1940)
- In 1962, an FBI informant advised that one of the largest handbook operations currently being operated in Chicago was located at the New Lawndale Restaurant and controlled for organized crime by Patrick and Yaras. (1941) It was reported in 1963 that Patrick was a partner of Rocky Potenza in a bookmaking operation on the north side of Chicago. (1942) In 1964, it was reported to the FBI that Lou Henneck operated out of the Top Hat Inn and ran all of the "books" for Patrick.(1943)
- A 1971 FBI report states that Patrick controlled gambling in the Douglas Park District and the north side of Chicago until late 1970, when his bookmaking operations were closed down because of new Federal gambling legislation.(1944) In his deposition, when asked about "bookmaking," Patrick indicated he was knowledgeable about these activities. (1945)
- In 1946, the Chicago ,FBI office was told that Yaras and Patrick "are reported to be the 'torpedoes' or the killers for the syndicate (1946). It was also reported that Patrick may have had a part in the killing of Willie Tarsh and "Zukie the Bookie" Zuckerman, who were described as West Roosevelt Road gamblers who had been killed in gangland style several years earlier. (1947)
- The records of the Chicago police department indicate that on June 24, 1946, James M. Ragen, St., was shot by unknown persons at the corner of 39th and State streets. (1948) Ragen was the operator of the Continental News Service, a sports wire service organization in Chicago. Allegedly, he had refused to surrender control of his business to Chicago organized crime.
- On March 8, 1947, Patrick, William Block, and Yaras were indicted on charges of murdering Ragen. (1949) There had been three witnesses to the shooting. An article in the Chicago Sun, dated August 1947, stated that Lucius Davidson, a newsboy who had testified before the grand jury on the Ragen murder, identified a picture of Block as the man who fired the shots, Yaras as the man kneeling with another weapon, and Patrick as the driver of the truck.(1950) The article also stated that the other two witnesses had changed their testimony. (1951)
- On April 3, 1947, the indictment against Block, Yaras, and Patrick was quashed by Chief Justice Harold G. Ward in criminal court. (1952)
- In October 1947, Captain Connelly and Lieutenant Drury, suspended police officers, stated that it was alleged that Patrick, Block, and Yaras were responsible for the killing of "Bugsy" Seigel, a west coast racketeer with reported connections to the Chicago syndicate. They were suspected because of the modus operandi used in shooting Seigel. (1953)
- On September 10, 1948, Patrick was interviewed by FBI agents regarding the gangland killings of Norton Polsky, "Little Sneeze" Friedman and Harry "The Horse" Krotish.(1954) Patrick stated it was his opinion that all three men had been killed because they were engaged in robberies of handbooks and gambling houses. (1955) He considered himself a "close personal friend" of these individuals. (1956)
- A Daily News article, dated January 5, 1953, concerning the slaying of Milton Glickman, reported that the police were seeking Patrick for questioning concerning the slaying. (1957) In November 1955, an informant advised that Patrick and Yaras were hired gunmen and killers for the Chicago underworld. (1958)
- On February 18, 1963, Chicago Alderman Benjamin F. Lewis was found shot to death. In April 1964 an informant advised that Patrick and Yaras controlled the wArd in which Lewis was slain. (1959) It was also reported that Lewis was slain because he was not cooperating with the criminal element in Chicago. (1960)
- Activities in 1963.--On January 3, 1963, an informant advised that Patrick continued to control gambling and "juice" operations in the Lawndale district of Chicago.(1961) On February 27, 1963, the organized crime division of the Chicago Police Department advised they had received information that a horse room continued to operate at the New Lawndale Restaurant. (1962) It was rumored that Patrick ran the operation, but the police were never able to prove a connection. ( 1963 )
- An FBI informant advised that on March 3, 1963, Lenny Patrick, Jack Patrick, Hy Godfrey, Fifke Corngold, and Joe Aiuppa were present at the Luxor Baths in Chicago.(1964) The informant advised that the Luxor Baths was used on frequent occasions as a meeting place for known Chicago syndicate members. (1965)
- On March 20, 1963, an FBI informant advised that Patrick was no longer in control of the Filmore District in Chicago.(1966) On April 2, 1963, the Chicago police raided the New Lawndale Restaurant wire room and arrested several people.(1967) An informant, advised on May 10, 1963, that he had recently learned that the Four Duces Lounge, 2222 West Devon Avenue, was Patrick's "place."(1968)
- An FBI informant advised on August 9, 1963 that Patrick "has been moving well toward the top of the Chicago criminal organization and might be a replacement for Gus Alex, who appears to be working for power because of the contacts he has made without advising other members of the organization."(1969)
- In November 1963, an informant advised that in September 1963 there was a meeting at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco which was attended by Dave Yaras, his son Ronald, Leonard Patrick, Louis Tom Dragna, and Nicolo Licata.(1970) Dragna was described as an underboss of La Cosa Nostra in the Los Angeles area.(1971) According to the informant, a second meeting of the same group was held several weeks later.(1972) Ernest Debs, a Los Angeles County supervisor and a close friend of a major California officeholder, was also allegedly present. (1973)
- On October 14, 1963, an FBI informant advised that Ralph Detente, Mike Detente and John Reda had been doing work for Patrick and Willie Daddano as killers for the "outfit"(1974) On October 30 and 31, 1963, an FBI informant advised that the three chief "juice men" in the Chicago area were Fiore Buccieri, Jimmy Allegretti and Lennie Patrick. (1975)
- Other illegal activities.--Chicago Crime Commission records contain a letter to the police commissioner, dated March '29, 1955, in which it was reported that a commercial bingo game was operated at 3242 West Roosevelt Road and was allegedly operated and controlled by Patrick.(1976) On April 30, 1959, an FBI informant advised that the bingo operation had been "going strong" for years and was operated by Lenny and Jack Patrick. (1977 )
- --On December 19, 1957, an FBI informant advised that Patrick was engaged in the short-term usury (shylocking) known as "6 for 5" on August 6, 1958. (1978) The informant advised that about 6 or 7 years ago, Harry Levine was working in Chicago as a shylock and was associated with Lenny Patrick, Jack Patrick and Dave Yaras.(1979) Levine started the Reliable Products novelty business as a front for shylocking. About 3 years ago (1954), Levine left Chicago, and Reliable Products went bankrupt about 6 months later. (1980) The informant also advised that about 3 years ago "Ruby the Mule" (possibly Ruby Wolfar) and "Solly," a cab driver, took over the shylocking business. It was the informant's opinion they were working for Jack and Lenny Patrick and Dave Yaras. (1981)
- --The Chicago Crime Commission records include an article from the Chicago Tribune, dated January 19, 1955, concerning the policy gambling racket. (1982) The article reported that on the west side of Chicago, the "Syndicate" had four representatives--.Sam Giancana and Marshall Caifano, at the top, with two underlings, William Block and Lennie Patrick.(1983) There was also a memorandum, dated October 2, 1950, reporting that anonymous information had been received that Patrick, Yaras and Block were in control of the "lottery jars" flooding the 35th Police District.(1984) On March1958, an informant advised that Patrick was affiliated with Albert Frabotta. (1985) According to the informant, when the Chicago mob entered the policy racket, Patrick allegedly participated in the kidnapping of the Jones brothers, "Negro kingpins of the policy racket in the 1940's." (1986)
- --In November 1955, an informant advised that Louis Hennick had been taking baseball bets for Patrick and Dave Yaras, under the direct supervision of Jack Patrick, for the past 5 years. (1987) In 1958, it was reported that Patrick and Yaras forced John Cannatta, representative of a group of persons who placed large bets on football games and other sports with Chicago bookmakers, to "lay-off" all of his bets with their office in Chicago. (1988)
- --In 1946, it was reported that Patrick had a 25-percent interest in the blackjack game at a gambling place located at 3613 West Roosevelt Road. (1989) In an interview on September 10, 1948, Patrick admitted that a poker game was operating out of the New Lawndale Restaurant. (1990) The Chicago Police Department advised that as of April 15, 1949, Patrick, Block and Yaras were operating a "Canadian poker game" at the New Lawndale Restaurant 2 nights a week. (1991) A Crime Commission memorandum, dated June 22, 1956, reported that a "commercial poker" game was held in the rear of a restaurant, allegedly owned by Patrick, which was located at Northwestern Avenue.(1992)
- --In 1958, it was reported that Patrick was involved in shakedown activities with supermarkets and home improvement busi- nesses.(1993) There was also some indication that Patrick was involved in prostitution. (1994) A 1966 report states that in November 1969 Patrick was believed to be the largest dealer of narcotics on the west side. (1995) Patrick's supplier was named as Fred Morrelli, who owned Century Music Co. (1996)
- Other meetings and connections involving organized crime. The Chicago Crime Commission records include a memorandum, dated February 13, 1953, which reported:
* * * that information was received that Leonard Patrick, Dave Yaras, and Joe Massei, the latter formerly of Detroit, had been operating the Sans Souci gambling establishment in Havana, Cuba. (1997)
- An FBI informant advised that Patrick had been in constant telephone contact with Dave Yaras from September 1957 to May 1959(1998) On March 12, 1958, a Chicago informant advised that Patrick "was very close" to Yaras, who was described as "a Chicago hoodlum who had a great power in the underworld on the west side of Chicago."(1999) On January 18, 1958, a different FBI informant advised that Dave Yaras and Leonard Patrick "were very closely associated even though Yaras was residing in Miami Beach."(2000) Records of the Chicago police department reflect Yaras had been arrested 28 times from 1933 to 1947, "mostly for general principles, disorderly conduct, and investigation." (2001)
- On December 27, 1961, an FBI informant advised that Patrick was in constant contact with Sam Giancana. Patrick allegedly related to Giancana that he was to receive $10,000 from some unnamed venture, when he should have been receiving $30,000. (2002)
- Other organized crime and criminal figures listed in an FBI report as Patrick's associates am James Allegretti, Phil Alderisio, Morris Saletko, William E. Block, and Marshall Caifano.(2003)
Association With Ruby
- Patrick was interviewed by the FBI on November 25, 1963, as a result of information received by the FBI to the effect that Patrick ran Ruby out of Chicago.(2004) According to the FBI interview report, Patrick said he had known Ruby as a "neighborhood chum, who was about 2 years older than Patrick. (2005) They both artended Shephard Grammar School, but were not close friends.(2006) According to the FBI report, Patrick "frequently saw Rubenstein in the neighborhood and always spoke with him, as did everyone else who grew up in the West Side." (2007)
- The FBI report states that upon his release from prison in 1940, Patrick "heard that Ruby had been involved in the investigation into the murder of Leon Cooke, but had been cleared." (2008) Patrick "heard that this investigation was the reason Rubenstein left Chicago." (2009)
- Patrick claimed he knew nothing about Ruby until after the war, when Ruby was selling premium items with his brother, whose name Patrick could not recall.(2010) According to the FBI report, Patrick stated "he was certain Rubenstein had never operated a book or had anything else to do with any racket."(2011) Patrick also stated, according to the FBI report, that "no matter how much you investigate, you'll never learn nothing, as he had nothing to do with nothing." (2012)
- Patrick denied having anything to do with running Rubenstein out of Chicago after World War II and said Ruby "just found something better elsewhere."(2013) The FBI report states that:
Patrick said if Rubenstein had any racket he would never have left Chicago, and said further if Rubenstein had been run out of town he would never have returned periodically as Patrick said he heard Rubenstein did. (2014)
- Patrick said he last saw Ruby about 10 or 12 years prior to the assassination, but had heard that Ruby had returned to Chicago since that time to visit his relatives. (2015) Patrick stated '"their friendship was not such that they would visit each other, but if they met on the street they would visit." (2016)
- When questioned by the FBI, Earl Ruby stated that Jack Ruby went to grammar school with Patrick. (2017) The FBI report states:
Earl has no knowledge of Jack's association with Patrick, except on one occasion, date unknown, that Jack mentioned he had gone to grammar school with Patrick. Patrick was not generally known to the Ruby family. He recalls that Lenny Patrick was the black sheep of the family. Patrick's father was a Chicago policeman. Jack Patrick, brother of Lenny, who is allegedly respectable, married a distant cousin (about four times removed) of the Ruby's. Her name is Weinbert. Earl has no knowledge of this family. (2018)
- The FBI interview of Ruby's sister, Marion Carroll, states:
Specifically, Mrs. Carroll stated she had heard the name Leonard Patrick, who is considered to be a Chicago area hoodlum, and stated perhaps he [Ruby] grew up in the area with Jack but is quite sure they would have no more than a speaking acquaintance. (2019)
- Eva Grant testified before the Warren Commission that they easily knew of Patrick's existence, but "we never associated with him in our home or in our business or anything." (2020) When Grant was asked if she knew of any telephone contacts Ruby had had in the last 10 years, the following exchange occurred:
GRANT. Here--I'm going to tell you--in the last year he has had so much aggravation in the club, that he called Lenny Patrick. That was the last resort. He figured he might know somebody--this guy is not a holy man by far.
ATTORNEY. Lenny Patrick is not this holy man?
GRANT. No, he's not by far. He's a gambler.
ATTORNEY. Jack called him for what purpose ?
GRANT. He called him for the purpose to see if he could fix him up with the union, so he could have amateur nights same as the other two fellows here.
ATTORNEY. It's something to do with the union?
GRANT. That's right.
ATTORNEY. So that the only contacts that you do know about were through AGVA, or what you have already told us ?
GRANT. There was nothing--I know when Lenny--he said something about maybe he know somebody in the AGVA.
ATTORNEY. Who could help them in the trouble he was having.
GRANT. That's right. * * *(2021)
- Later in her testimony Grant stated that Ruby called Patrick in Chicago "one time, and he was not there, and until he got his number--he called 15 different people from what I understand." (2022) She stated that Patrick contacted Ruby:
Last summer and he also told me, you know, he told me during one of those months he said, "I tried to call Lenny Patrick," and he said, "I got his number," he gat it from somebody and I don't know who, what and I didn't give a darn. (2023)
- At one point in Grant's Warren Commission testimony, she stated that she knew who Patrick was, but had not seen him for 35 years. (2024) She stated, "We are very well acquainted?' (2025)
- When Patrick was asked if he was aware of Ruby's labor dispute with AGVA, he stated he was not and "had nothing to do with it "(2026) He said however that his" partner might have" (2027) When asked if Ruby telephoned him in 1963, Patrick stated:
He had no reason to telephone me, not me. He might have talked to my partner, I don't know, I couldn't tell you. (2028) Later Patrick stated, "I don't believe he ever telephoned me." (2029)
- Hyman Rubenstein also testified before the Warren Commission about Ruby's connection with Patrick.(2030) Hyman stated that Ruby called him in the fall of 1963 and wanted him to contact some people in Chicago who had connections with AGVA in New York. Hyman called everyone he knew in Chicago and did not succeed. (2031) Hyman stated:
It was just one of those things that didn't work out, and if I am not mistaken I think Jack tried to call some of the other boys in Chicago, one bail bondsman, I can't think of his name, and then he tried to call Lenny Patrick, I believe, Lenny Patrick, and then I think he tried to call somebody else. (2032)
- When Hyman was asked how Ruby knew Patrick, he stated:
Everybody knows Lenny Patrick, when you go to school you know everybody in a school or even high school, and if you lived on the west side you know Lenny Patrick because Lenny Patrick, you walk into a delicatessen or into a poolroom, "Hi, Lenny," "Hi, Jack:' that is how you know him. (2033)
- Hyman originally stated he did not know what Patrick did for a living, but when asked if Patrick made an honest living, he replied, "I think gambling is his biggest racket. I think so."( 2034 )
- On November 24, 1963, an FBI informant stated that in the mid-1940's a close friend of Ruby's, Abe Zuckerman, was shot because Zuckerman did not cut Leonard Patrick in for part of the proceeds a gambling operation.(2035) The informant stated that shortly after the shooting, Patrick told Ruby to leave town because he was operating a book without Patrick's sanction. Patrick allegedly told Ruby that if he didn't leave town, he would get what Zuckerman got. (2036) As stated previously, Patrick denied having anything to do with Ruby's leaving Chicago. (2037)
- in his deposition, Patrick stated that he did know of "Zookie" Zuckerman, but did not know anything about his murder.(2038) When asked if Ruby knew Zuckerman, he stated that Ruby might have (2039). He also stated that Ruby was not involved in bookmaking. (2040) When asked if Patrick ever told Ruby to leave Chicago, Patrick stated, "No, not me." When asked if someone else told Ruby to leave, "No, I really don't, to tell you the truth. I don't recall ...."(2041)
- During an FBI interview of Jack Patrick on December 9, 1963, he said that though he and Ruby had resided in the same neighborhood in Chicago, he could not recall Ruby. (2042)
- In a telephone contact with the committee, Leonard Patrick said he and Ruby were brought up together in Chicago, but he "hasn't seen him for years."(2043) Patrick also stated that "Ruby was a nice guy with kids. He wasn't connected with anybody. I mean I don't know cause I haven't seen him in years but he was not a 'wise guy', if you know what I mean." (2044)
- In his deposition, Patrick told the committee that he knew Ruby in Chicago and stated:
I never was what you could call running around with him or anything like that. I knew of him. I knew him when he was kid. He lived in the next block from me. (2045)
- Patrick also stated he knew "one or two" of Ruby's brothers but could not recall their names. (2046) He said he never "associated with" Ruby and would only see him when he "would run into him in restaurant or somewhere ..."(2047) Patrick also stated he never visited Ruby in Dallas and never did any business with Ruby. (2048) When asked if he ever saw Ruby when Ruby visited his family in Chicago, Patrick stated:
I don't recall. I haven't seen much of him. I told you this. If I did, I would tell you. There is nothing there. No, I never had nothing to do with him in any kind of business. If I seen him, hello, how are you, that's all. I never had nothing to do with him. (2049)
- When asked when he last saw Ruby, Patrick indicated that he had told the FBI he had not seen Ruby "in maybe 10, 15 years" prior to the assassination.(2050) When Patrick was asked again to state when he last met Ruby, Patrick stated, "I never had no meeting with him." (2051)
- Regarding any knowledge Patrick may have connecting Ruby to organized crime activities during the 1940's, Patrick stated:
I will tell you the why it is. I don't think he ever was. I know he had something to do with it from what I hear. I don't know if he had it then. It was some kind of a union or something, iron or junk, something. I don't know if he was with anybody who was. I don't know. I think he was with a fellow by the name of Dorfman or somebody, the old man or something. Then, I think, from when I reflect, I think he wasn't there long. That is when he left, as far as I know, you know, go away. I never seen much of him. (2052)
- Patrick did not believe Ruby's move to Dallas was related to any organized crime activity, but stated "you never know for sure." (2053)
- Dave Yaras, one of Patrick's closest associates, was also associated with Jack Ruby.(2054) Yaras claimed he knew Ruby as "Sparky," a "young hustler and fight fan from Division and Damen Street area, 30 years ago."(2055) Yaras also stated that his brother, Sam Yaras, who resided in Dallas, was acquainted with Jack Ruby. (2056) Patrick stated in his deposition that his "partner," Dave Yaras, knew Ruby "as a friend, too, more than I did." (2057) Patrick did not know how Ruby got to know Yaras. (2058)
- Both Ruby and Patrick had contact with Irwin Weiner, a major organized crime and Teamsters figure who Ruby had contacted in October 1963. (2059) Weiner also admitted having had prior contacts with Ruby. On February 21, 1958, it was reported to the FBI that a meeting was held at the Trade Winds Restaurant in Chicago at which both Patrick and Weiner were present. The purpose of this meeting was not known. (2060) On March 11, 1965, an FBI informant advised that a week earlier Patrick, Obbie Frabotta and Phil Alderisio had met with a bondsman named "Stuck" who was working for Irwin Weiner.(2061) Again the reason for this meeting was not known. (2062) In his deposition, Patrick stated he knew Weiner because he also grew up on the West Side of Chicago, but he never did any business with him. He also stated that, Ruby probably knew Weiner. (2063)
- Deposition taken by the House Select Committee on Assassinations
xii. Ralph Paul