BY MAURA KELLY LANNAN
A mob plot to kill a venerated State’s Attorney Chief Investigator allegedly sanctioned by a high-ranking official within the administration of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, and a former Illinois governor’s purported alliance with hoodlums, add up to an amazing tale of political intrigue in the Windy City
Inside his Lincoln Park brownstone, cluttered with scrapbooks, bound volumes, brittle photos of forgotten politicians, and personal mementos from the “Byzantine era” of Chicago politics, Paul Newey finds that his faith in the system has been permanently shaken.
In 1960, Newey was battling racketeers, gamblers and exposing crooked judges as Chief Investigator for the Cook County State’s Attorney. He believed in the system of justice, paid more than the usual lip service to the ‘code of honor,’ and thought everyone on the “right side” of the law was his friend. Now he knows differently.
White-haired and brittle, Newey only recently came into possession of information that has jarred his perfect sense of order and changed his life. He cannot understand why once-trusted former colleagues in the federal law enforcement bureaucracy never alerted him to a murder plot directed against him by the Chicago syndicate. The plot involved a shadowy mob operative of endless fascination named Richard Cain, whose real-life intrigues mirror a John LeCarre spy novel.
Newey began investigating rumors that Cain was one of the low echelon figures in an organized crime conspiracy to murder John F. Kennedy, for a book he is planning to write, when he learned of an assassination that never took place: his own. Neither the team of FBI agents assigned to the Chicago office, nor members of local law enforcement who were privy to the existence of a mob plot bothered to inform him that he was placed in harm’s way.
The information was deliberately withheld from him on orders from J. Edgar Hoover, who desired to polish the tarnished image of the Bureau before the national media by immediately stepping in and cracking the Newey murder based on the secret wiretap information supplied by the Chicago office of the FBI, and Special Agent William F. Roemer, then assigned to the Bureau’s “Top Hoodlum Program.”
Roemer is the author of a best-selling 1989 crime memoir titled Man Against the Mob.
Recently, the U.S. government ordered 3,000 case-sensitive FBI records dealing with the Kennedy assassination released. Looking for answers and fresh material for the book he is diagramming with John O’Brien and Eddie Baumann, Newey dispatched his son Arthur, and a trusted family friend, Attorney Philip A. Mullenix, both past presidents of the elite Special Agents Association of Chicago, to the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.
The two men sifted through a raft of declassified documents for answers to decades old mysteries surrounding Cain’s involvement in a long-rumored Mafia plot to kill the president.
Buried in the reams of yellowing FBI files, Newey and Mullenix stumbled across something even more striking, a series of revealing transcriptions sent to Director Hoover’s office in Washington by Roemer.
Of particular interest to Newey was the transcript of a secret conversation occurring on January 28, 1960, between Alderman John D’Arco of the First Ward, and two Chicago hoodlums, Frank “Strongy” Ferraro, and Murray Humphreys in which the ways and means of killing Paul Newey were discussed from the back room of a Michigan Avenue tailor shop.
Black lined by FBI censors prior to de-classification, Roemer’s Washington dispatch retains historical importance because it establishes for the first time clear and resonant links between Chicago organized crime leaders and the administration of the first Richard Daley whose historical legacy among big city mayors has held up amazingly well since his death in 1976.
In his communique to Hoover, Roemer makes note of the fact that: “During the conversation D’Arco advised Humphreys and Ferraro that he had been in contact the night before with Irwin Cohen [the head of city investigations for the elder Daley] and that Cohen was aware that ‘Newey’s got those two guys.’ They then discussed the fact that at least one of those individuals was a double agent working for Cohen and that ‘Newey thinks he’s got him.’ Apparently the double agent referred to above was put in touch with Cohen by D’Arco who mentioned to Cohen that ‘I’m only doing this for you and the administration. But I want to (obscene) Newey, I said we got to (obscene) this Newey. He said ‘Now I’ll do anything. Can’t you get him to get these guys to get him to go up to the office?’ I said, ‘They’ll kill him for (obscene) sake, We’ll kill him in the (obscene) joint, he’s so hot at Newey, oh wonderful.”
“…Newey is the guy they can’t control.”
Paul Newey admits that he is very bitter. The once valuable component of trust and respect for a governmental institution is gone now. “What bothers me is that the FBI, with the knowledge that I might be set up to be murdered, did nothing at all to warn me,” Newey complains, angry with himself for being misled in such a cavalier manner. “All the while I was in the state’s attorney’s office I helped them with whatever they asked, and gave them the mugshots and fingerprints of all the top hoods I arrested.”
Newey recalls with grim irony Bill Roemer’s collegial letters, written to him at a time when the ex-FBI man was basking in a nationwide blitz of radio and TV publicity, gadding about the country making author appearances here and there, and negotiating with HBO for a TV movie based on his own intimate dealings with Sam Giancana.
“I remember you well, when you were the top functionary at the State’s Attorney’s office in Chicago,” Roemer reminisced in a cheerful correspondence to Newey dated May 5, 1995. “I remember well the times when guys like Murray Humphreys and Gussie Alex would cuss when they referred to you…congratulations on your fine career.”
There is a whole lot more to this story than an inner-circle of graying Chicago mob bosses merely “cussing” Newey’s name in secret.
Agent Roemer was a “hail fellow’s well met” sort of man; affable and outgoing reserving a pleasant greeting for one and all. But he always played it close to the vest, refusing to betray the secrets of his fallen hero and former mentor, J. Edgar Hoover; apparently even when another man’s life was at stake.
Paul Davis Newey is the son of an immigrant Assyrian minister who conducted a ministry in Chicago and Minneapolis, the city where Paul was born in 1914. His grandparents toiled as rug merchants in Chicago, and as a youngster he was taught Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ according to ancient biblical text.
Instilled with deep religious convictions but influenced by Warner Brothers’ film noir portrayal of G-Men in a score of low-budget 1930s Hollywood films, Newey enrolled in John Marshall Law School as the first step toward qualifying for admittance to the FBI. With his law degree, and a tough physical and mental comportment, he counted on becoming a “G-Man” one day, but he was dark-complected and did not exactly match the WASPish ethnic profile J. Edgar Hoover had in mind when he recruited new agents.
During the war, Newey settled into a rather hum-drum job in the Treasury Department’s bureau of engraving and printing in Washington, pulling down a modest salary of $1,200 a year. In 1942 Newey took up with the Federal Narcotics Bureau and the pace quickened. He became something of an expert on drug trafficking at a time when the problem was mostly confined to the inner city neighborhoods and downtown “honky tonk” districts.
An early assignment with the Narcotics Bureau landed him in Detroit, where he established levels of trust with a junkie pickpocket named Black Sam who followed the heavyweight champion Joe Louis into every major city and tank town from Maine to California. While the “Brown Bomber” slugged it out in the ring, Black Sam worked the crowd – dipping into people’s pockets.
Agent Newey “turned” Black Sam into a reliable informant who helped him build cases against drug movers preying on the poor and indigent. Black Sam also taught him an essential truth about the character of his old hometown, Chicago.
“Newey, I can tell you this,” Black Sam confided, “Of all the cities I worked, Chicago is the most corrupt as far as politics and the police are concerned. It is the only town I know of where the cops will pick your pockets clean after a pinch. In any other town, once they found the needle tracks on my arm, I would be locked up for the night with enough money to leave town the following morning. But in Chicago they would not leave me enough money for carfare. That’s how greedy the cops were in Chicago.”
Intrigued about the possibilities of righting wrongs and correcting social injustice in Chicago, Newey re-located back to the Windy City in 1957, looking for work following a five year hitch with the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) The veteran criminal investigator and licensed attorney is reluctant to discuss the specific nature of his work with the C.I.A. – such information still remains classified after all these years – but in some ways it prepped him for his future encounters with Richard Cain in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office headed by the late Ben Adamowski.
Adamowski was a maverick Republican from the Polish wards of the city’s far Northwest Side. Foiled in his attempt to move forward in Democratic circles and philosophically opposed to his former friend and colleague Richard J. Daley, Adamowski bolted the party in 1956 to run for office as a Republican. His upset victory that year angered Daley and caught the Democratic Party apparatus off-guard. Thereafter, the open antagonism existing between the Mayor and his former pal festered into political warfare. Newey was thrust directly into the line of fire, literally and figuratively.
Paul Newey came on board as an investigator in 1957, with primary responsibility for uncovering graft and investigating allegations of organized crime tie-ups in City Hall in order to expose the Daley Machine and shore up Adamowski’s shaky political base in a “controlled” town. ““When I was going to law school we had a professor at John Marshall who said there are two offices in the County of Cook where you can go in as clean as the driven snow and never come out the same way you went in. One is the State’s Attorney’s office and the other is the Sheriff’s office,” Newey adds. “With the Sheriff’s office, the only reason they limited you to four years is because they figured that if you can’t steal enough to last you a lifetime, then you’re not worth your salt.” Until the new Illinois constitution was drafted in 1970, a Cook County Sheriff was limited to one term of office.
“Chicago really had the worst reputation as far as its police department was concerned,” he recalls. “There were some fine men back then. But I avoided using Chicago policemen and I’ll tell you why,” Newey explains. “From the very beginning I knew that when our team left the office these men would be punished if they became involved in some of the things we were doing that had political overtones. As a result they would have to suffer after we left office. On that basis I rarely used them.”
As Chief Investigator in the State’s Attorney’s office from 1958-1960, Newey was in charge of an elite ten-man unit responsible for gathering the evidence necessary for his boss, his mentor, and his closest friend Ben Adamowski, to present to the grand jury. They were high profile for the time and were known in police circles as “heater cases” for the excessive publicity they generated.
In 1959 Newey secured an indictment against a kidnapper based solely on hypnosis evidence. After completing a course of instruction at the Hypnotism Institute of Chicago, he was the first investigator in this country to utilize truth serum and hypnosis as a means to solve a puzzling kidnapping case. The victim, a 19-year-old airline stewardess, described the assailant who was later identified and charged. However the evidence against the defendant was excluded and the trial ended in acquittal. It was a controversial tactic for the times – Newey left himself open to ridicule and was derided by the hard-boiled FBI men and the Chicago street cops – but he was never averse to new methods, or using whatever resources were available to him including employing a shady criminal raconteur like Richard Cain.
By 1960, Ben Adamowski’s campaign to clean up Chicago had stalled and his ambition to eventually unseat Daley as mayor of Chicago appeared out of reach. For nearly three years Newey and Adamowski had tried and failed to convince apathetic Chicago voters of the stench emanating out of the bastions of Democratic Machine power, beginning in the Traffic and Criminal Courts, where the First Ward Democratic organization and the mob tapped their single greatest source of power and prestige.
Pre-dating the Operation Greylord investigations by nearly twenty-four years, Paul Newey hired an undercover mole who spent three months prowling the corridors of Traffic Court uncovering evidence of bribe taking and collusion between defense attorneys and judges. When he figured out what was going on and reported back to his superiors, Adamowski demanded accountability from Irwin N. Cohen.
Thirty four Traffic Court fixers were named in a true bill, including one indignant municipal court judge who berated Adamowski as “power-crazed politician” who practiced “gutter politics.” Nearly all of the cases brought to court were dismissed. “We had all their records. The evidence of this million-dollar-a-year ticket fixing scandal was overwhelming,” he said.
Thwarted at every turn by the hand-picked Democratic judges loyal to Daley and his army of ward heelers spreading Machine propaganda far and wide, and facing likely defeat in the November 1960 city election, Adamowski and his team groped for fresh evidence of crime and corruption to lay before the voters of Cook County.
They decided that the weak link in Daley’s armor worth looking into might well be Irwin N. Cohen, the Mayor’s point man on city investigations and public accountability. Cohen sat still during the Traffic Court probe, even with a mountain of paper evidence lying on his desk pointing to systemic graft in the local judiciary. That is where Newey believes the traffic investigation foundered.
“Ben Adamowski said there’s a smoking gun in Cohen’s office, so let’s go find it. We were interested in knowing what the Mayor’s top paid investigator was doing to earn a salary which at the time was more than what the State’s Attorney was getting,” Newey recalls. “I had reliable information from an informant who was working for the late Virgil Peterson, Executive Director of the Chicago Crime Commission, who told me that there were mob bookies, whores and gambling joints operating all over town and it was Cohen’s job to keep them from getting out of line, but to make sure they were allowed to operate all the same.”
In those days much of the illegal gambling operations were secreted in the back rooms of out-of-the-way cigar shops, and bate and tackle stores scattered through the neighborhoods.
“Ben called him “Sweep it Under the Rug” Cohen, because he was the guy who made sure Daley never got any bad publicity. The gambling, the payoffs, and every other illegal activity was kept under wraps because the First Ward controlled the action and the First Ward was politically important to the Machine.”
Their decision to “get” Daley’s hand-picked “sweep up man” in order to embarrass and discredit the mayor was a decision crafted along party lines, but when it backfired as this illogical caper seemed destined to, Newey suffered through an agonizing I.R.S. audit, his wife Viola’s nervous breakdown, her subsequent hospitalization, and nightly death threats phoned in to his sister. The voice on the other end of the line kept saying: “I just read your brother’s obituary in tomorrow’s paper.”
It was political payback in Machine-town.
To understand the apparent willingness of Daley’s man to alert Chicago’s criminal cartel to an intrigue hatched by political rivals; for any bureaucrat to sanction contract murder in order to spare the nation’s most powerful big city mayor a political black eye threatening to topple his administration, it is necessary to backtrack to January 1956, and examine the collapse of the “Big Nine,” a minority coalition of liberal reformers within the Chicago City Council who were attempting to end long-standing criminal alliances.
By the time of Daley’s first election in 1955, Chicago was a poorly policed and dangerous city; stagnating under the crushing weight of a corrupt cabal of politicians known as the West Side Bloc who had exerted influence in the Illinois State House and nine West Side wards since the days of Al Capone.
Syndicate hoodlums became cops. Underpaid by the city, Chicago Police solicited bribes from motorists in order to make it to the next payday, and sometimes crossed over and became mobsters themselves. It was not uncommon in those days for a “sponsored” police officer coming on the job through the influence of a West Side politico, to be assigned a walking beat on lower Wacker Drive, directing traffic at midnight. In other words, a no-show job, or what we now call a “ghost pay roller.”
Party identity and philosophical ideologies blurred. Republican legislators and Democratic aldermen served their syndicate overseers for common purpose; to further the aims of the Chicago mob and to feather their own political nests.
In his rise to prominence in the criminal underworld, Al Capone forged alliances with politicians on both sides of the aisle. He consolidated his power at the ward level, appeasing the good-government types with promises of violence-free elections in return for non-interference.
Testifying before the Kefauver committee hearings on organized crime in September 1950, Phil D’Andrea a deputy bailiff who served writs and carried a gun for Capone, enumerated his former bosses’ political allegiance. “What was Al Capone? He was a Republican when it fitted his clothes I guess, and a Democrat otherwise.”
The assassination of uncooperative politicians, those who would betray or compromise the Bloc in some way, or the reformers who attempted to destroy the Bloc all together, had occurred with numbing regularity dating back to the 1920s.
On February 6, 1952, a retired soft-drink executive named Charles Gross was cut down in a fusillade of syndicate bullets as he walked to a political meeting near Kedzie and North Avenue. Gross was the acting 31st Ward Republican Committeeman, but he had defied a recent standing order from the West Side Bloc to avoid meddling in gambling operations.
The crime was a shocking one, even by Chicago’s infamous standards of gunplay first, and questions later. The attending newspaper publicity surrounding the murder of this businessman turned politician and a wave of public indignation that followed, led to the appointment of a nine-member investigating committee known as the “Big Nine” to end the greed and violence threatening the underpinnings of Chicago.
For nearly four years, the “big five” Machine aldermen and the “little four” reform faction sparred over technicalities, point of order procedures, and bickered over the direction of the inquiry. They accomplished very little and spent $220,000 in taxpayer money futilely trying to establish a link between crime and politics, but failing to find one.
Irwin Cohen, reserved and small of stature, was admired by top Democratic insiders for his Northwestern Law School pedigree and his “sensible” middle of the road approach. Cohen succeeded Attorney Charles A. Bane as legal counsel to the Big Nine after Bane resigned in disgust in August 1952, over the lack of progress. Bane accused 800 city policemen of collecting graft from organized crime. By a vote of 40-7, the City Council successfully blocked his efforts to require the cops to fill out disclosure statements revealing their sources of income and personal wealth.
The Big Nine’s swan-song report recommended to the mayor the creation of a Department of Investigation to oversee ethics reform and maintain vigilance, but vigilance is largely a matter of who watches the store. Daley approved the 1956 budget with a $50,000 appropriation to fund this agency charged with examining the “affairs, accounts, integrity and efficiency of personnel of any city agency.”
Irwin N. Cohen was granted extraordinary latitude to investigate any city employee, city licensee, or city department, and “dig into any official department records or documents,” but he did nothing.
Where Cohen and his staff failed to uncover examples of fraud, corruption, and waste to satisfy the timetables of the Republicans, Adamowski and Newey went out and found evidence of it everywhere. Bringing it to the forefront of public opinion in order to stir civic outrage was an entirely different matter however.
In an effort to trace the Traffic Court graft and the protected gambling back to Cohen, a rising star in the “Young Republican” faction named Richard Buell Ogilvie offered to lend assistance to Newey.
As a special assistant to the attorney general in charge of organized crime investigations in Illinois, Ogilvie had won a stunning conviction against Chicago’s top mob moss Tony Accardo in a complex tax case, but he was reversed on appeal and Accardo walked. Nevertheless, Ogilvie had all the earmarks of a successful rackets buster and his advice carried weight in state law enforcement.
Ogilvie then asked Newey to consider hiring two Chicago police officers, named Richard Cain and Gerald Shallow who were personal protégés as full-time investigators assigned to the State’s Attorney’s office. Newey said he had no choice in the matter. “I had to please Ogilvie, it was a matter of party politics. I didn’t want him to think we were uncooperative,” Newey reluctantly admits. “I knew these two guys were questionable–Chicago Police Superintendent O.W. Wilson warned Ogilvie about them, but they were only ones who were willing to help him out during the Accardo investigation.”
Newey had been hearing the distant rumblings from a Chicago Police sergeant named James Hoey who worked the Rush Street nightclub districts. Hoey warned Newey of the dangerous consequences of bringing these two characters in, street reputations being what they are. But Cain had a near-genius I.Q., and was considered by many to be a top-notch criminal investigator…when he was pretending to be straight.
Who was the real Richard Cain? It’s been nearly forty years now since Cain rose to prominence in Chicago law enforcement, but the retired cops, mob watchers, journalists, and City Hall hangers-on who were around in those days have their own pet theories.
Newey suspects that Cain’s father was the notorious Mafia chieftain Sam Giancana. If true, it partly explains Cain’s meteoric rise in Chicago Police Department circles and why he answered to the name of his maternal grandfather “Scalzetti,” following his conviction on bank robbing charges.
Richard Cain was born in Chicago with a birth certificate showing him as the son of John and Lydia Cain (nee Scalzetti), but in fact he hated his father and the ethnic-Italian name. Cain later asserted that he was the rightful son of someone “known only unto his mother.”
“If it wasn’t a physical fact, then there was at least a strong emotional bond between Sam and my father,” theorizes Karla Di Scalzetti Cain, who spent eleven years of her own bedraggled life locked inside various federal and state prisons on drug-related, and racketeering charges. She remembers her father prepping her for the world with stern admonitions about kinky cops, untrustworthy police agencies, but he was always generous in his assessment of Sam Giancana, who treated Richard Cain like a son.
In 1956, Cain passed through the academy and was sworn in as a Chicago Police officer.
There is evidence that the political clout exerted by Captain John Scherping and Cain’s mother, a civilian employee of the department, went a long way in fulfilling the grandiose ambitions of her son who was advanced into the detective bureau in 1960.
Richard Cain and Gerald Shallow, a party to his schemes, shook down Rush Street prostitutes and murdered Harry Figel, a gambler behind in his payments. Cain was never charged with the Figel murder, but Cain’s tough methods of vice enforcement during these years raised the eyebrows of Jack Mabley, who helped mold public opinion in the 8,000 or so columns he penned for the Chicago Daily News, American, and Tribune between the years 1948-1982.
Mabley says he had a “simple, unspoken relationship” with Cain; one based on mutual advantage. Cain was Mabley’s most important tipster. Mabley, in turn, played Richard Cain up in the press, and Cain was proud of the flattering attention. He framed Mabley’s columns and hung them on the wall of his office in a conspicuous place of honor. In just a few years, the entire office was covered with press clippings. Out of that, the pair cemented a friendship that Mabley has been forced to defend for the past thirty-five years.
“Cain was using me. I was using Cain,” he states without apology. “Before I did a lick of work with Cain, I checked him out with the FBI. They said he’s a skilled investigator, but if I work with him I may find something like evidence disappearing at the climax of an investigation. That happened.”
Ben Adamowski reassured the jittery Newey after conferring with Ogilvie, who vouched for the pair. “I called the two and told them that they had strong support in favor of their integrity and investigative ability,” Newey related. “But I wanted to test their talents some way before bringing them to the State’s Attorney’s office as officers. However, both Ogilvie and Jack Mabley, were adamant in pressing me to transfer them both into the SAO.”
The two operatives would be paid $1,750, drawn from a secret bank account Newey established in his wife’s home town of Owosso, Michigan, for surveillance work. They were told to get as close as they could to Irwin Cohen and snap pictures of any mob bosses, bag men, and politicians they could recognize coming and going from his office at 64 East Lake Street. Newey claims that he said nothing to them about installing wiretaps, but the detectives played the game by their own rules, making them up as they went along.
Bill Witsman, a trained private investigator who knew Cain when the two worked together at the Burns International Detective Agency, rented an office next door to Cohen. “Witsman was a polygraph examiner and an expert wireman who was hired to plant wire taps for Cain from time to time,” explains Newey. “He furnished the space with a table, a chair, a filing cabinet and waited.”
As the first order of business, they made themselves visible to office personnel and the building janitor in the hallways and vestibule. It was a somewhat surprising and unusual tack for two officers supposedly working in deep cover. But Cain had an inexhaustible capacity for such intrigues. He always had.
He asked the janitor for a key to Cohen’s office, but was refused. After only a few days, the janitor said he was tired of seeing these two guys “lurking around” his building with no apparent purpose for being there. He reported his suspicions to the cops and Cain and Shallow were caught in the act.
Further complicating matters, was Cain’s estranged wife Rosemary, who briefed Chicago detectives on her husband’s after-hours escapades and his odd choice of associates. She said her husband was a bigamist; simultaneously married to a woman in the Virgin Islands, and that she feared for her life and had no reasonable explanation for the bundles of loose cash found lying around their home.
The whole operation was now out in the open causing great embarrassment to the State’s Attorney. Detective Chief James McMahon and Deputy Commissioner Albert Anderson fed the story to the press in April–nearly three months after the arrests had been made.
“I am now of the opinion that they were deliberately caught to give the State’s Attorney’s political adversaries the chance to shout it from the rooftops that the Mayor’s Chief of Investigations was being spied on by Ben, myself and the SAO.”
Dick Cain pinned the blame on his partner Shallow for “copping out.” Speaking in a weak, disingenuous tone of voice, he said he was sorry for all the embarrassment he had caused Ben.
“Cain decided that Shallow was a good guy for the Democrats, and he would gravitate toward the Republicans,” Newey said. “Cohen was Jewish and Shallow was Jewish, ethnic loyalties were important considerations in those days.”
It was agreed that Gerry Shallow would expose the caper to Irwin Cohen and the brass at 11th and State, blaming the whole affair on Cain, Adamowski, Newey, Ogilvie and Republican strategists. Within a few months, Shallow was promoted to Detective Sergeant in vice as a political reward, and he would continue straddling both sides of the law and working the angles until he was sentenced to fifteen years in a federal prison in 1982 for his admitted role in the 1972 murder of a mobster’s girlfriend in Indianapolis.
That murder was carried out by Richard Cain.
Weeks after the Cohen surveillance was blown and after the press attention waned, Cain summoned Newey to one of the pay-as-you-go motels lining Lincoln Avenue, north of Foster, where he was hiding out. Fearing that he might be set up for blackmail, or worse, Newey asked First Assistant Frank Ferlic to accompany him to the North Side. Inside the motel they confronted Cain; pale, nervous, and exhausted for the wear.
Uttering a few words intended to shock Newey, Cain said a contract was put out on his life after he had allegedly exposed a high-ranking police official as a homosexual. For years, Richard Cain harvested secrets about sexual peccadilloes, bribery, and assorted human foibles that he held back for publication until springing it on the unsuspecting target at the opportune moment.
This time though, he had overstepped the boundaries, and said he had to leave town. Cain asked for $500, which Newey admits loaning him from a departmental contingency fund. “I did it to save his life. He told me that two Chicago cops who he knew to be killers, were looking for him on orders from the Superintendent. He was very convincing and I believed him,” Newey said.
In hindsight however, Cain’s nervous mannerisms that day struck Newey as odd, recalling something that Mabley once said about his friend. “Scared? You never saw Richard Cain scared. He wasn’t afraid of anything.”
About a month or two later Cain returned to Chicago to work for his former political sponsor, John Scherping, who operated Accurate Laboratories a private eye firm, and Frontier Finance, a West Madison Street business front disguising syndicate juice loan operations.
“Scherping was dealing with Frank “the Horse” Buccieri, brother of mob extortionist “FiFi” Buccieri. Eddie Moore, a former Republican County Chairman and CTA board member who was friendly with Murray “the Camel” Humphreys, the Chicago outfit’s ‘political connection’ who owned a piece of the action,” charges Newey. “So did Postmaster Carl A. Schroeder.”
Cain, who surrounded himself with expert wiremen, riddled the building with listening devices and tape recorders.
Amid charges of massive vote fraud emanating out of the Machine-controlled wards on the South and West Sides, Adamowski lost his re-election bid to Daniel P. Ward who was declared the winner in the official Cook County canvass by 26,000 votes. Newey admits that hiring Richard Cain and Gerald Shallow was a calculated risk, but political hardball was never his strong suit, and undoubtedly it contributed to the narrow defeat for Adamowski. Ultimately however, it may have saved both of their lives.
“In November 1960, the [Chicago Democratic] political machine stole the [state’s attorney] election from Ben,” Newey said firmly. “However, now that I have discovered the facts, I’m happy they did steal it because if we had gone back in the State’s Attorney’s office and done some of the things we had planned, neither Ben nor I would have lived through a second term of office.”
Despite the efforts of Republican strategists who vainly tried to keep the corruption scandals prominent in the public eye, Richard J. Daley solidified his control over the City Council. One by one, the few remaining Republican aldermen were weeded out and banished from political life by neighborhood voters in lockstep with the Machine. (Today there is only one Republican in the City Council, Alderman Brian Doherty representing the Far Northwest Side 41st Ward.)
With the threat of Ben Adamowski’s sword no longer dangling dangerously over the Mayor’s head, the office of investigations was quietly eliminated. The party slated Irwin Cohen to run for a Superior Court judgeship in 1962. Bob Wiedrich, the veteran Chicago Tribune reporter believes Cohen decamped for New Orleans once his term on the bench expired six years later. No one outside the inner circle of graying cops, lawyers, and politicians can even recall the man’s name or his accomplishments, if any.
The Mayor launched massive public works projects. Low unemployment, ribbon cuttings for new bridges, office towers, and expressways had already dimmed the memory of the 1960 Summerdale police burglary scandal, the mob, and the Traffic Court mess. The city was on the move and the Chicago “Machine” was in full flower; reaching the apex of its strength, prestige and influence by 1962.
The mob, as it is want to do in quiet times, receded into the background, invisible to nearly everyone except Virgil Peterson of the Chicago Crime Commission. Peterson’s blistering reports painted an ugly picture of organized crime penetration into the commercial affairs of the city-issues that fell on deaf ears in the hubbub of jackhammers, cement mixers, and building cranes.
The “City on the Make” quietly evolved into the “City that Works.”
By this time Paul Newey had opened a private detective agency and correspondence school for aspiring investigators. He lost touch with Richard Cain and was enjoying an uneventful retirement until early Spring of 1961 when plans for the Bay of Pigs operation were unfolding and training bases established in Florida, Louisiana and Mexico.
“The next thing I know, I see Cain on LaSalle Street. He says to me, Paul, I’m training Cuban commandos for the CIA.”
Assigned to the Glenview Naval Air Station where the CIA maintained a secret hangar and airstrip, Cain, who was learning to live with lesser ambitions, allegedly babysat exiled Cuban fighter pilots who were flying secret missions over Cuba in American B-29s. The story seems rather far-fetched in hindsight, but anything was possible during the Cold War era.
Fluent in Italian and Spanish, Cain parlayed his earlier acquaintance with Paul Newey and his CIA contacts into a part-time job without first telling Newey.
The Washington spymasters who hatched the Bay of Pigs Operation, believed Cain could be of some use because of his close association with Chicago mobsters who had a stake in the Havana casinos during the long and feudalistic regime of the corrupt Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.
Jack Mabley, who doubled as president of the Village Board of Glenview from 1957-1961, helped Cain find a place to live in a small Glenview subdivision known as Countryside, but Mabley is among a legion of skeptics who doubt the validity of these far-reaching allegations. Mabley contends he knew nothing about Cain’s work for the Cubans or the CIA. “I have no idea how Cain got involved with the CIA,” Mabley said.
“He never talked about that phase of his work and I never asked. I knew he was in Cuba when he was out of town, but that’s it. As for training pilots out of Glenview that is about the goofiest of them all.” Amid denials, Mabley is willing to concede that the real truth concerning Cain’s government work may never be known. “Cain worked with the Sheriff and the FBI and had strange connections with the syndicate.”
Newey is investigating old rumors that Richard Cain closeted an important houseguest during these months; the exiled Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Karla Cain and her sister dug for earthworms in the backyard. She remembers the Cuban drinking coffee with her little family around the breakfast table.
Phil Mullinix verified the precise location of the house with Cain’s daughter in 1997, after an exhaustive search of property records at the Glenview City Hall.
The rumors of Cain’s involvement in a plot to kill Kennedy do not appear to hold up. “I knew my father was involved in it, or had some knowledge of it at some level,” Karla Cain is convinced. “He always talked about the murder of the President like this was just some guy he had whacked from the North Side of Chicago.”
Paul Newey has established Cain’s whereabouts on November 22, 1963. He was in Chicago working at Sheriff’s headquarters when the news of the assassination flashed across the wires. His movements in Mexico earlier that year however, were suspicious.
Cain was supplied with the keys to a furnished apartment at Calzada Tacubaya, Mexico City where he was allegedly hired to train the Mexican President’s team of bodyguards. During this time he traveled under two aliases, “Richard Scott” and “Ricardo Scalzetti,” with high-level clearance until his contacts accused him of attempting to wiretap the Czechoslovakian embassy. In response, the Mexican authorities revoked his visa, but left the door open for his benefactor Sam Giancana to travel freely throughout the country without fear of extradition back to the U.S.
Not long after the Cuban fiasco, Cain was back in Chicago plotting political strategy with Richard Ogilvie, after sensing Ogilvie’s overpowering ambition for elective office.
He recognized that young Ogilvie was a political neophyte with only the disappointing outcome to the Tony Accardo case to fall back on, and no meaningful connections in the ward organizations.
Speaking of his decision to seek the office of Cook County Sheriff in 1962, Ogilvie told reporters, “I wasn’t drafted to run for this office–as a matter of fact, my choice was rather unpopular among some of our party leaders. But I did become a candidate and my commitment will be to the people who elect me and to my conscience.”
Ogilvie was slated to run against Roswell T. Spencer, a respected 21-year FBI veteran who supervised 200 vice and gambling raids as a member of Dan Ward’s team during the year-and-a-half he worked in the State’s Attorney’s office. Spencer was a recognized expert on Chicago organized crime and he had provided the McClellan rackets committee with meaningful testimony about the inner-workings of syndicate vice operations in Cicero.
The issues in the November 1962 election were clear-cut, and Ogilvie ran on a platform calling for the “chief law enforcement officer of Cook County” to look out for corruption in City Hall and the County Building.
Richard Cain recognized that the 39-year-old Ogilvie needed help to steer the election away from the well-traveled Spencer, whose resume credits far exceeded that of his opponent. The campaign was bitter and contentious, but the mood of the voters was hard to assess.
Thus, Dick Cain decided to arrange a meeting.
For the past thirty-two years Paul Newey bottled this story up; respecting the “omerta” of law enforcement – blind loyalty to colleagues while maintaining pathological silence expected of all former cops, FBI men, lawyers, judges, and prosecutors who troll in the same murky waters of Chicago politics and policing. Unchecked corruption is allowed to flourish in a climate of moral complacency because silence is perceived as a greater honor that “ratting out” your partner. Just ask any big city cop who has spent time on the street.
Loyalty, as Paul figured out for himself, is not always a two way street. That is why he has decided to rattle the skeletons in the closet. He has chosen this moment to go public with the startling accusation of mob complicity in the 1962 election of Richard Ogilvie, a World War II tank commander and good government type in horned rimmed glasses, remembered by friends and foes alike as one of the “good Republicans” in Illinois history for his even-handed dealings with politicians on both sides of the political aisle.
Ogilvie now stands accused of receiving eleventh hour help from Cain, the Chicago mob and the shady politicians representing their interest, to exert muscle in the “River Wards” and elsewhere in the home neighborhoods of Chicago gangland.
“In return, Cain was promised an appointment from Ogilvie as Chief Investigator,” Newey recounts.” It was understood that in his new position of responsibility, Cain would look after syndicate gambling and vice interests out in the County.”
Care would be given to the nature and types of investigations the Sheriff and his staff would undertake–the City Hall and County Building probe promised by Ogilvie during the campaign would have to be shelved.
And finally this: “After Ogilvie’s term ended in 1966 (a Sheriff was not allowed to stand for re-election before the new Constitution went into law in 1970), Cain would receive the nod from party slate makers as Ogilvie’s natural successor,” Newey said. “There was a final caveat to all of this: never again, if Ogilvie had any say in the matter, would Ben Adamowski be allowed to rise in party circles.”
The Frontier Finance fixers allegedly guaranteed Ogilvie an upset win, even as pollsters projected Ross Spencer as the likely victor in the campaign.
According to Newey, candidate Ogilvie walked away from that meeting on West Madison Street secure in the belief that a handshake agreement with the men who controlled the apparatus of politics and crime in Cook County assured him of victory.
On election day, Ogilvie dispatched a squadron of ten poll watchers to keep a sharp eye out for vote fraud in the 24th Ward, a West Side syndicate battleground controlled by gambling boss Lenny Patrick for many years. The next day the Tribune reported that election judges “would step into polling booths to pull the Democratic levers on voting machines.” A local grocer said that his customers in the 24th Ward were buying items with the $5-dollar bills they had received at the polls for “voting the right way.”
But whose side were these West Side Bloc tricksters really on? Were they Democrats masquerading as Republican lever-pullers in this one instance? Or are these rumors another confounding example of FBI disinformation circulated by the vindictive Hoover to discredit an enemy? Hoover might have imagined that Ogilvie harbored ambitions to succeed him as FBI Director. These are the hard questions that haunt the Richard Ogilvie case file to this day.
“I’ve never heard any rumor that Ogilvie was compromised, and I think the whole idea is totally absurd,” rebuts Jack Mabley. ”I was a lot closer to Ogilvie than I was to Cain, and he was incorruptible in addition to being smart.”
“There was phone tampering going on,” counters James Malcotte, a Chicago Police officer recruited into the Cook County Sheriff’s Police by Cain in 1962 because of his wiretap skills. “You have three important city wards who are holding back their vote totals so they can see which way the election is going. And then you cut a main trunk line into the polling places and suddenly they are totally cut off. Remember, we’re talking 1962. I know it went on.”
Examining the election results, it wasn’t much of a bargain for Ogilvie who lost Chicago 723,000 to 544,000, if in fact Newey is right and the fix was really in. As reports of vote fraud filtered in to Republican campaign offices, the Republican candidate angrily demanded that James Murphy, attorney for the Chicago election board, de-certify three 24th Ward judges and relieve them from duty immediately, which of course, was not done.
Ogilvie won in the suburbs and the conservative “Bungalow Belt” neighborhoods of the far Northwest Side as he was expected to, pulling just enough votes out of Chicago to thwart Ross Spencer’s ambitions to become the only Republican that year to win an election county-wide. Mayor Daley, in a haze of disbelief over the outcome of the race, suggested that if there were real vote fraud going on, it was the Republicans’ doing. Neither Daley nor Spencer demanded a recount.
Then, to the astonishment of law enforcement officials who were oblivious to the subtle intrigues afoot, Richard Cain was named Chief Investigator.
“It was so dramatic, no one could believe it,” recalls Benton “Jack” Wilner, a Chicago Daily News reporter for thirteen hectic years in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Wilner, who is retired and living in Florida, said he had a close personal friendship with Ogilvie and his wife, but that things cooled noticeably after Wilner questioned the new Sheriff about his odd selection for Chief Investigator when there were so many qualified federal agents submitting resumes.
“I called Ogilvie who was vacationing in Palm Springs,” Wilner adds. “He said he didn’t want to talk about it and that was that. He took a tone of voice he never took with me up to that time. It was such an atypical conversation with Ogilvie, it shook me up.”
In Karla Cain’s words: “Ogilvie knew a lot more about the darker side of my father than he let on, because he knew it took a criminal mind to run that office successfully.”
According to Newey who was at first mystified about the Cain-Ogilvie alliance, the future Governor was “compromised” by Cain and the West Side Bloc politicians on Halloween eve, a few days before the 1962 election. This information came to him six years later, in 1968, during the gubernatorial primary when Ogilvie was on the brink of clinching the G.O.P. nomination.
“I now feel free to reveal my source as J. Edgar Hoover, acting through two of his ace special agents, Lenard Wolf and Frank Ford, now retired and no longer in fear of being punished or censured for my disclosures,” Newey states. “I also believe that the FBI’s failure to warn me of the possibility that a contract had been put out on my life, releases me from the covenant of silence I made at the time.”
“I was able to compel the FBI to disclose their source of this rumor to [the former Cook County State’s Attorney] Edward Hanrahan who interrogated him, and was satisfied with his credibility.”
Agents Wolf and Ford were introduced to Newey by the late Charles Fitzgerald, a Chicago Police lieutenant. Wolf spent most of his time chasing down fugitives during his FBI career, and in 1971, helped convict eleven hoodlums running a juice loan operation in Cicero. Years later, following retirement, Wolf confirmed in writing that he had seen Cain’s name on a juice loan ledger at Frontier Finance Company. “The FBI had gone in there and planted wire taps and secretly microfilmed every page in that book,” said Newey. Former Agent Wolf, now in retirement, was unavailable for comment due to the poor condition of his health.
For years, J. Edgar Hoover mistrusted and deeply resented the motives of Dick Ogilvie, whom he feared would one day go after his job. Through Hoover, the two “C-1″ field agents leaked the damaging information to Newey, intending for him to pass it along to Ogilvie’s political enemies. “Hoover was an extortionist, and he hated Ogilvie’s guts,” Newey concedes, acknowledging the possibility the sensitive information he had been handed had all the earmarks of a Hoover smear campaign against a powerful political rival.
The FBI Director had formed a “Pol-Intel” unit (political intelligence) to investigate candidates for higher office. Files on political enemies, as it has been shown in the intervening years since J. Edgar Hoover’s death, were carefully managed by Hoover’s Justice Department in Washington.
The FBI agents leaked information to Newey about a clandestine meeting between Richard Ogilvie, Republican Party boss Eddie Moore, Murray Humphreys, First Ward fixer John D’Arco, “FiFi” Buccieri, Gus Alex, and other un-named parties, at Frontier Finance.
If true, it appears that candidate Ogilvie tested the practical application of Chicago politics, delineated for generations of applicants in the words of the elder Daley, who always said that, “you win elections by addition, not subtraction.”
For the next two years political insiders watched in astonishment as Cain sapped the integrity of the Ogilvie regime in one escapade after another, and Ogilvie’s tireless efforts to streamline and reorganize the records and communications section and introduce long overdue reforms like the first Sheriff’s Merit Board to end political pulls within the department.
Lending credence to the possibility that Ogilvie might have been “reached” in 1962 was information contained in a 1968 letter dug out of the Chicago Crime Commission archives from Clarence G. Coller, president of the Republican Railsplitters, a statewide political club founded in 1939. Coller drew attention to the fact that in 1962, Ogilvie ordered everyone in the Sheriff’s office to submit to lie detector tests,
“…with two ironic exclusions to the blanket lie test orders. The man who ordered the tests, Richard Ogilvie did not take the test. The man who administered the tests, Richard Cain did not take a test. With one notable exception that of another high-ranking officer in the Sheriff’s officer…who failed his lie test but nevertheless continued in his post until Ogilvie’s term expired–the results of those tests are known only to a few persons.”
From 1962 until 1964, when Ogilvie finally had enough of the wire pulling and backroom antics and forced him to resign, Richard Cain collected bribes from back-room abortionists, threatening to arrest all who refused to pay up. He protected gambling dens, closed down the places deemed objectionable by the syndicate, and harassed those who refused to pay their “street tax” to the mob.
He was also in the habit of administering lie detector tests to suspected mob informants to determine if they were giving away secrets of the underworld, and contriving ways to enhance his prestige before the bigwigs in politics and law enforcement.
Sensing Ogilvie’s mounting dissatisfaction and unease with his duplicitous methods, Cain solicited David Bradshaw, chairman of the newly formed Illinois Legislative Investigating Commission for the job of Executive Director. The ILIC was an agency of state government formed to bird-dog waste and corruption. In a letter to Bradshaw dated September 26, 1963, Cain listed Ogilvie, Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen, and State Treasurer William Scott as personal character references.
“Actual investigative work, ” Cain wrote in his cover letter, “often so tedious and technical, must be performed by a staff of the investigators who are efficient, experienced and loyal. Only in this manner may factual presentations be made to the Commission.”
Cain was one of two finalists under serious consideration, the other being Charles “Charley Cigars” Siragusa, a well-traveled and respected veteran of the old Federal Narcotics Bureau who prosecuted New York mobster Charles “Lucky” Luciano in the Depression days.
Richard Cain pulled out all stops. With Bill Witsman and Jimmy Malcotte supplying the technical know-how, they allegedly dropped a wire down an elevator shaft into Bradshaw’s office at 111 W. Washington.
Art Petacque, a Sun-Times mob-watcher for many years, believes Cain was also monitoring Daley’s telephone and another phone line belonging to Corporation Counsel Ray Simon as the selection process wound down.
Thereafter, Cain met with his contacts in the basement restaurant underneath the old Boston Store at Madison and State to discuss strategy. They reviewed the tapes and agreed upon the content of the secret discussions between Bradshaw and Ted Isaacs, Governor Otto Kerner’s point man for the affairs of state that they would leak to the press. Cain allegedly conspired to dress Malcotte in a delivery man’s uniform and have him distribute the tapes to the press corps.
Isaacs and Kerner, however, chose Siragusa over Cain.
In a letter to one of his field investigators dated June 4, 1968, Siragusa bitterly complained that Jack Mabley approached him during the coffee and cake party following swearing-in ceremonies at the Sherman House.
“Mr. Mabley walked up to me, with Mr. Cain by his side, took a few steps backward while directly in front of me, and in substance said ‘I never met you before but I can tell I don’t like you…if you know what’s good for you, you will stay in touch with me.’ Cain was silent. I too remained silent, although it was an effort. I never since called him or otherwise ‘stay in touch with him.’ Furthermore, I never since had any respect for Mr. Mabley to say the least.”
“If anything, I would have warned against putting Cain at the head of the state investigating group, though Siragusa wasn’t much improvement,” counters Mabley.
Most damaging to Ogilvie’s well-crafted reputation as a rackets buster, was Cain’s sinister involvement in the October 1963 theft of $240,000 dollars worth of drugs from the Louis Zahn warehouse in Melrose Park. Cain and his team of investigators staged a showy raid on the Caravelle Motel, 5400 North River Road in suburban Rosemont where they recovered $43,000 in stolen drugs. Newspaper reporters, arriving ahead of the raiding party (at Richard Cain’s personal invitation), gave Cain what he craved most throughout his career–laudatory press coverage.
By no small coincidence, the Caravelle was once the personal property of Sam Giancana.
The Zahn burglary, and the miraculous recovery of the stolen drugs by Cain, became the focal point of the 1964 city election. Allegations surfaced that one of Cain’s own men, Sergeant John Chaconas of the Cook County Sheriff’s office secretly rented Room 31 at the Caravelle Hotel in Rosemont. The robbery, and the raid were a set-up masterminded by Cain, in the same ingenious manner he orchestrated Gerald Shallow’s “cop-out” to Irwin Cohen.
The Cook County officers who were a party to the scheme denied under oath that Chaconas rented the room, resulting in a perjury indictment and an indictment for obstructing justice against Cain, Chaconas, Lieutenant James Donnelly and Officer William Witsman, Cain’s wire tap expert.
Jack Mabley, standing behind Cain all the way, offered to appear as a character witness for Cain and his fellow defendants, but defense attorneys turned him down.
Then, in his December 10, 1964, column running in the Chicago American, Mabley offered his readers a sentimental “Tribute to Three Tough Crime Busters.”
“I had offered to be a character witness for the Sheriff’s men in their conspiracy trial, but their lawyers didn’t take me up on it. Maybe I would have made things worse. For years I have known and worked with Dick Cain, Jim Donnelly, and Bill Witsman and to a lesser extent, John Chaconas. I have never known any of them to do a dishonorable thing. I also never have known a trio of men with more drive, imagination, and guts directed against thieves than Cain, Donnelly and Witsman. Maybe there are things I don’t know, but what I do know is good.”
A jury of five men and seven women convicted all but Witsman on perjury charges. His shady dealings in law enforcement finally over, Cain prepared for a one-to-three year prison stretch. The sentence was overturned on appeal by the Illinois Supreme Court.
In a mournful letter to Mabley shortly after being convicted, Cain wrote to his old friend, “I’ve always been aware of the consequences of my actions, and I’m not starry-eyed about politics. However, conditions that prevail and which are beyond my control force me to forsake my real friends, if I’m a real friend in turn. I’m still investigator enough to face facts dispassionately….Please don’t let what happened to me slow you down for one minute. I think I’ve at last found the answer to Lenin’s famous question, ‘what can we do?’ We should do the best we can. Thanks friend.”
Cain gave up the illusion of propriety and joined Sam Giancana, rumored to be his natural father, in Mexico City during Giancana’s extended Caribbean exile. He became Giancana’s personal chauffeur, confidante and full-time lackey. In the eyes of the law, Richard Cain, this brilliant but erratic former cop was now a seven-days-a-week mobster looking after the interests of the most ruthless crime boss in the nation and his girlfriend, Phyllis McGuire, when she came down to pay a visit.
Art Petacque is amused by another tale that has made the rounds, and visually recreates the image of Cain necking with Phyllis in a parked car near Giancana’s Mexican villa. “Sam would have killed him then and there, had he only known,” he relates.
Returning to Chicago in 1967, Cain was arrested a second time, this time for complicity in a 1963 Franklin Park bank heist that netted members of the “Peanuts” Panczko gang and the syndicate hoods they were tied to, $43,000. By now the scales of justice tilted heavily against Cain who was put away for four years despite an impressive courtroom showing where he acted as his own counsel before Judge Julius Hoffman, who praised the defendant’s oratory and litigation skills. “He’s doing fine…I can understand him better than I understand most lawyers.”
Paul Newey, steadfast in his devotion to Adamowski but embittered by the events of 1960 that stalled the reform movement, was determined to lay bare Ogilvie’s secret FBI file and his dealings with Cain before the 1968 general election as political payback, but the Chicago press backed away and the Democrats were wary.
Secretary of State Michael J. Howlett reportedly told Newey to show it to author, journalist, and Sun-Times book editor Emmet Dedmon for his take on the matter, but Dedmon was reticent about publishing such information because of his strong bonds of friendship with Ogilvie.
An affidavit supporting the authenticity of the claim was produced. Newey and Sun-Times reporter Ray Brennan had taken the informant’s statement in a motel at Lake Shore Drive and Chicago Avenue on a Sunday afternoon, but Newey had promised to protect his source. With his stubborn refusal to name names, the skeptics on the editorial board, lacking confirmation, had no other choice but to kill the piece. The affidavit has since disappeared.
“If he [Newey] brought anybody to Emmet Dedmon, Dedmon would have had me in the office real fast,” Art Petacque emphatically states. “I do know that Cain had Ogilvie mesmerized. Let’s just say Cain was a dangerous professional bull shitter.” But in the same breath Petacque concedes that Cain “was knocked off because he knew too much.”
Bob Wiedrich knew Richard Cain and Dick Ogilvie better than most, and he vividly remembers the Sun-Times and Tribune editorial boards pressuring the Sheriff to dump Cain. Like Petacque, he is doubtful about the existence of an affidavit. “If it were true, it would be a helluva story,” Wiedrich concedes. “If Dedmon were confronted by dead-bang evidence he would have run it. The thing doesn’t sound creditable. I don’t think the man [Ogilvie] was a crook, but he had a weakness and the weakness was Cain. It was one of the mysteries of the world.”
Newey contacted Eddie Hanrahan, a tough and controversial state’s attorney remembered for his ill-fated pre-dawn 1969 raid on the West Side residence of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. “Hanrahan cross examined the informant and said he would put the story out, but then he had an unexpected change of heart. None of them had any balls,” grumbles Newey. (Author’s note: Edward Hanrahan contacted Paul Newey by letter shortly after a second version of this story was first published in the Reader, to deny any knowledge of attending a meeting, conducting an interrogation, or any personal knowledge about the existence of an affidavit damaging to Richard Ogilvie. Hanrahan argued that as a Democrat, it is unlikely he would have had anything to do with the Republican Newey, especially during an electoral season).
In desperation Newey urged incumbent Governor Sam Shapiro to save his campaign and go public with the disclosures, but Shapiro held back. No doubt it cost him the election. Richard Ogilvie was swept into office by 127,794 votes, but he was a one-term governor after committing political suicide by force-feeding the state’s first income tax on Illinois residents.
Ben Adamowski, a force in city politics for so many years, challenged Richard J. Daley for the mayoralty in 1963 but went down to defeat. His financial support came from the ethnic Poles residing on the Northwest Side of Chicago–nothing came from the downstate G.O.P. power brokers who abandoned Chicago as a lost cause, politically. Adamowski took a stab at the 1964 nomination for State’s Attorney but John Bickley received the party’s nod.
Ben quit politics all together after falling to overtake P.J. “Parky” Cullerton in the 1970 assessor’s race. “His collective failures stemmed from Ogilvie’s deal with the mob,” Newey is convinced. “They bottled up Ben Adamowski.”
The years just kind of slipped away after that. Paul Newey began a law practice with Ben in 1965, handling probate matters, real estate and corporate litigation until 1982 when Adamowski passed away and the partnership was dissolved. In retirement, Newey made the customary rounds of the Chicago Bar Association luncheons, the Assyrian-American fraternal lodges, and meetings of the Special Agents Association where he reminisced with the old-timers, until one by one the famous names of yesteryear passed on.
Richard Buell Ogilvie died in 1988. Political historians and much of the law enforcement establishment who mended the tattered cloth of the Cook County Sheriff’s office in the early 1960s, hold his memory in high regard. He is a hero to most everyone in the law enforcement community except a tiny circle of political skeptics privy to these ancient secrets.
Ogilvie’s proponents built a line of defense, arguing that no Cook County Sheriff before or since accomplished nearly as much during his busy four-year term of office. After Ogilvie’s term of office expired, a succession of Sheriffs were rocked by one corruption scandal after another and a myriad of consent decrees, union problems, overcrowding issues, and security lapses down at the Cook County Jail.
Paul Newey views the governor in less generous terms. Political hypocrites, he believes, appear before us in many shape and forms. The worst of them are the corrupted idealists who sacrifice principal and conviction in the name of blind ambition or greed.
He admits that much of his anger is grounded in personal bitterness born out of the political betrayal of Adamowski. Death for the both of them, he is convinced, would have come at the hands of the politically connected mobsters much earlier, had Adamowski overcome vote fraud in the West Side Bloc and succeeded in recapturing the State’s Attorney’s office during the 1960 election.
The vise-like grip of the mob-controlled First Ward was finally broken in 1989, after Attorney Robert Cooley blew the whistle on a mountain of corruption culminating in “Operation Gambat,” when the “fixers,” the judges they bribed, and the crooked lawyers and political satraps milking the system in Counsellors Row Restaurant were finally held to account.
“Everything ran through the First Ward..for a long time,” reminisced Cooley, who is traveling undercover these days following his testimony in seven major mob trials. “They controlled the courts, the judges, and the politicians. Their power was immense. No-one could touch them.”
The FBI threaded a wire into Booth One of the restaurant from an office eight floors above the street in order to eavesdrop on the First Ward deal cutters. Gambat produced the practical results that would have closed down the entire show decades earlier if the public had only paid closer attention to Adamowski.
The 1959 Traffic Court scandal should have been a tip-off to the immense corrupting power of the Chicago mob in the affairs of the city, but no-one was listening or paying attention except the syndicate bosses who took the necessary steps to silence Adamowski with information gleaned from Cain, Gerald Shallow, Irwin Cohen, or all three.
Paul Newey is angry and disappointed by Roemer’s apparent unwillingess to tip him off to his impending peril. “The FBI was always like that. I’m sure they’re that way now,” reflects Jim Malcotte. In the days of Hoover, the Bureau appropriated all the credit when something big went down that reflected well on the agency’s crime fighting abilities, but they rarely shared information or cooperated with local law enforcement authorities.
Another long-time agent, writing to Newey under the condition of anonymity, lays out the “rules” of conduct. “FBI rule number one: don’t embarrass the Bureau. Rule #2. Don’t compromise the source. I’ve seen them leave their own agents in harm’s way. Also, never let us forget that dead agents make good negative object lessons for future instruction at the FBI Academy.”
The murder of the state’s attorney’s man by Mafia killers arrested by Bureau agents was certain to create a press stir and further glorify the reputation of J. Edgar Hoover, whose former friends in Chicago still chaff at the slightest criticism of his untoward methods.
Newey’s letters to retired FBI agents demanding reasonable accountability have thus far been met with well wishes, innuendo, or flat-out denial.
“It’s hard to realize that we are talking about some things that happened almost forty years ago,” wrote one former colleague, skirting the issue all together. “Many of them [field agents] had little or no idea about the wheels within wheels in [the] bureau.”
Another famous street agent and colleague of Roemer from those days bristles at Newey’s accusation and his reason for asking. “Apparently you feel that I am in possession of certain information that I have withheld or failed to divulge,” the agent wrote. “That is not the case because I have been very candid with you. So please let’s drop the “stonewalling.”
Concerning J. Edgar Hoover, The ex-agent had this to say: “His legacy lives on as a patriotic American and he is regarded as the father of law enforcement. I guess it’s popular for some segments of our society to make all sorts of allegations about him when he’s not around to defend himself. Enough said.”
Despite efforts to distance Cain from the Bureau, it appears that he was supplying covert intelligence (or disinformation) about the Chicago mob to his handler, in this case Roemer, who arranged to have Cain added to the payroll as a paid informant at $22,000 per annum.
Cain’s daughter chuckles as she remembers Gerry Shallow hiding in plain sight inside the garage underneath 233 Erie Street where her dad was residing, so he wouldn’t be spotted when Roemer dropped in to pay a visit on his “informant.”
“Roemer was extremely gullible. My dad, Gerry Shallow and several other men were feeding useless information to Bill so he would agree to call off the surveillance. Roemer wanted to believe that Richard Cain was working for the government and was one of the good guys, which he was not. But he wasn’t a snitch either.” Dick Cain thrived on the dangers and always lived on the edge.
According to Karla Di Scalzetti Cain’s, her father was lulling the FBI into a false sense of complacency while all the while he was planning to take down three powerful mob crew chiefs on New Year’s Eve 1973 “for Sam.” But “Sam” alone could not protect Cain when his treachery was exposed. Sam was out of the country.
Coming from a home devoid of warmth and happiness, Karla lived with the ever-present fear that at any moment her father would become the mob’s next moving target.
Cain schooled his daughter in the way of the streets, and indoctrinated her into a life of scam, trickery, and deception. At age thirteen, following her first arrest, Cain handed her a roll of bills, put her on a Greyhound bus headed out of town and cautioned her to lay low. Karla is filled with bitterness for being exploited at a vulnerable time in her life, but she is also proud of her father’s intellect, his cunning, and his career attainments, knowing even then, that he would one day pay the price of straddling both sides of the law.
“All those times we had dinner in some expensive Chicago restaurant, and he would sarcastically tell me that being normal was the kiss of death, I was consciously aware that someday they would blow him away. I knew that the day would come when I would wake up and read the headline in the morning paper.”
Richard Cain was assassinated by four masked men inside Rose’s Snack Shop on December 20, 1973. Karla Di Scalzetti Cain is badly shaken by the circumstances of her father’s death, and says she knows the identity of her father’s killers.
In constant trouble with the law for much of her forty-two years, Karla labors under no false illusions about a father who would take his teenage daughter out on a “job,” then pass her off as his young wife in a clever attempt to trick the cops and the FBI into thinking they were a married couple enjoying an afternoon canter around the city. It is difficult to imagine anyone having a harder childhood than Karla.
In death, Richard Cain is not without admirers, even to this day. Jack Mabley, one of his most staunch supporters, calls him “a compulsive adventurer,” and “the most interesting man” he ever knew.
Paul Newey scoffs at the notion. Newey has spent weeks and months piecing the essential facts of the case together, and believes the truth is at hand.
Mabley, now a part-time columnist at the Daily Herald thinks Newey is “off-base” and is guilty of exaggerating Cain’s importance. He prefers to remember his friend in gentler terms; not as a sinister plotter but as a certifiable Chicago scoundrel.
The truth may very well lie somewhere in between.
“One Thanksgiving he invited me to dinner with a major madam in her headquarters next to the Ambassador East,” Mabley recalls. “When I arrived, there were two FBI agents ready to feast. They panicked when they saw me, but Cain assured them that I was on social mission and could be trusted. Two whores served a delicious turkey dinner and a good time was had by all.”
Up until the moment of his death, Cain spun tales; mocking the authorities, and buttressing the truth with fictional versions that are impossible to sort through today. In his final pronouncements, he boasted to his Chicago friends that he was on the verge of opening a floating tourist hotel and casino in the Mediterranean Sea.
When the retired city and county cops get together to award each other self-congratulatory plaques at testimonial dinners, or during their weekly coffee klatsche in the city, it is inevitable someone will raise the legend of Cain, inspiring personal recollections and stories from the streets until the coffee and doughnuts run out and it is time to pick up the check.
Paul Newey is 87-years-old now. His health is not so good, and it is increasingly difficult for him to navigate the streets of Chicago using his walker, especially during wintertime. He walks gingerly, and spends much of his time indoors trying to strip away the myths, lies, and legends surrounding Cain and the political world of a generation ago if, for no other reason than to convince the civic elite of the important role Ben Adamowski once played in the affairs of this great city and to bring closure to the story.
Newey would like to memorialize Adamowski and his “High Noon” showdowns with the mayor, the crooks, the judges and the mob in some special way. Newey’s warm affection for his former boss grows only stronger with the passing years.
His efforts thus far, have been met with stony silence or polite rebuke. Appeal letters have gone out to Mayor Richard M. Daley, Congressman William Lipinski, the various Polish-American fraternal societies, plaintiff attorney Phil Corboy, Corboy’s wife, library commissioner Mary Dempsey, and other prominent Chicagoans urging them to give serious attention to naming a street, or even a wing at the Harold Washington Library, after his friend and law former partner. Among his many interests in life Ben Adamowski was also a bibliophile and Lincoln scholar.
All state for the record that Ben was a civic leader of outstanding character and high morals. They promise to look into the matter and get back to Newey, but none ever do.
What is the moral here? Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be Chicago Republicans. There is no percentage in it.
Newey suspects that the younger Daley will neither forgive nor forget old political feuds that he may have overheard his late father discuss in the bungalow on South Lowe Avenue when Richie was still a teenager.
Ben Adamowski is blackballed for now, and will likely remain a footnote figure in Chicago political history until a Republican is elected Mayor of Chicago. By that time, well, by that time it will be too late.