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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
“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
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
“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
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.
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
“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.
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
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
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
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
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
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]
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
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
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
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
Author Richard Lindberg has been researching this
story with Paul Newey for over two years. An abridged, second version of
this article written by Ben Joravsky with Mr. Lindberg appeared in the
Chicago Reader in April 2001.
2001 by Search International