Alfred J. Lingle, better known in his world of newspaper work as Jake Lingle, and for the last eighteen years a reporter on The Tribune, was shot to death yesterday in the Illinois Central subway at the east side of Michigan boulevard at Randolph street.
The Tribune offers $25,000 as a reward for information which will lead to the conviction of the slayer or slayers.
An additional reward of $5,000 was announced by the Chicago Evening Post on the same terms, making a total of $30,000 offered.
The Press Club of Chicago issued a statement thqat it was ready to post another $10,000 reward for the slayers.
Slain by Organized Gang.
An organized gang planned and executed the murder of Lingle, and at least six gunmen of the band are believed to have been near by at 1:25 o’clock yesterday afternoon when one of them crept behind the newspaper man, lifted a stubby .38 caliber revolver, and fired a single shot through the back of his head. Lingle was killed instantly.
The slayer fled. Pedestrians and a policeman pursued him, but he mingled with loop crowds and was lost. A good description of him was obtained and a manhunt is on, participated in by searchers who knew Jake Lingle as one of themselves, and who would vie with each other for the privilege of bringing his murderer to justice.
Greeting Seen as Signal.
Six gangsters—or men who had the appearance of gangsters—were seen lolling about the Illinois Central suburban station at Randolph street/ Three others, who may be involved in the murder, were seated in a roadster at the curb in front of the public library, and they hailed Lingle as he passed by towards the subway. He answered their hail with a wave and a laugh, and it was considered the maneuver may have been a signal to the killers that here was their quarry.
As for a motive, Jake Lingle for years has been “covering” the underworld for The Tribune. He had come to know gang leaders and he has sifted the crimes they committed in his efforts to bring about solutions. He probably knew more policemen than even any policeman on the force, and he was an intimate friend of Commissioner Russell and of Chief of Detectives Stege.
How Tribune Reporter Was Killed By Gangsters On Way To Randolph Street I.C. Station.
The photo-diagram shows the course of Alfred Lingle and his slayers, through the subway under Michigan avenue and into the covered passageway east of Michigan avenue in which he was slain. It also shows the coursed pursued by the slayers in their flight.
Murder of Editor Recalled.
The assassination of Lingle is the first such crime against a newspaperman since the murder in July, 1926, of Don R. Mellett, Canton, O., editor, who also was shot for his activities against gangsters in his city. These two are the only outstanding cases in which newspapermen paid with their lives for working against organized criminals.
The murder of Lingle is the twelfth in Chicago in the last ten days which may be classed as “gang” murders.
Whether in giving information against members of the gangs Jake Lingle put himself in line for assassination is not yet known. But all of the law enforcing officers of the city and county promised yesterday that it would be known. The officials promised that the murder of Lingle shall be the spur to the task of bringing an ebd to gang lawlessness in Chicago.
A crowd gathers around the body of Tribune reporter Jake Lingle in the Michigan boulevard tunnel leading to the Illinois Central station.
Hope for Quick Solution.
Raids were ordered. Arrests were made. There was hope for an early solution, but there was also a determination that detectives woud be assigned to stay on this crime until the slayers are sent to the electric chair, or until they are otherwise killed.
Because of his close friendship with Commissioner Russell and with other officials and leading politicians, Lingle was frequently besought by his hoodlum and racketeer acquaintances to use his influence to obtain concessions for them to pursue a profitable lawlessness. Invariably he told them that he could gain no such permission for them if he tried; that if they attempted to go ahead with their plans, they would surely be brought to answer before the law.
Jake Lingle, was 38 years old, and in that brief span of life he had packed acquaintanceships and friendships with men and women in every walk of life, from the bottom to the top rung of society as it goes in Chicago. There were gangsters and there were prominent business leaders and politicians and there were distinguished statesmen. The people he knew gave him a cross section of all Chicago, good and bad.
Some he despised, some he cared for with lasting fidelity, and among these was Commissioner Russell.
Twenty years ago, when Jake was a stripling, he met Bill Russell, a patrolman traveling a beat in uniform. Jake was playing semi-professional aball then with William Niesen’s team. He and the patrolman took a liking to each other, and together they would patrol Russell’s beat, talking the while. The lad loved action, visiting with Russell, sometimes joining with him in police work. So Lingle came to know the glamour of police work.
A Story of Friendship.
With Russell he learned to develop an easy attitude toward policemen and police characters, and in later years this penchant developed until he came to know their life and haunts as few men outside those worlds have ever known it.
When his friend Russell began to climb toward higher posts in the police department Lingle continued and ripened their friendship. First a sergeancy, then a lieutenancy, then a captaincy, and then a deputy commissioner. Lingle shared with his friends the pleasure these promotions gave, and then at last Russell was appointed commissioner Lingle gloried, not with any hope of sharing in the power of the office but solely with the personal zeal with which he had followed his friend’s rise.
When the commissioner was ailing it was always Lingle who came to offer him a cheerful solace. They played golf together and went about to the theaters and to visit mutual friends.
Jake as a youth had many other friends on the police force, and it was these friendships that steered him into the field of newspaper work. He started with The Tribune as an office boy 18 years ago (September 8, 1912), when the offices of The Tribune were located in the building at Madison and Dearborn.
Jake didn’t stay long as an office boy, and with his natural aptitude for police work he became a police reporter. With the entree this gave him into the affairs of the city, the youth quickly developed his acquaintances and in a short time he became one of the cleverest police reporters of his time.
He came to learn of the methods of criminals. He possessed a great fund of knowledge of the many forms of racketeering in Chicago, and he came to know racketeers themselves through rubbing shoulders with them in the police stations, the courts, and elsewhere.
Looking west into the passageway in which Lingle was eastward bound when killed. The arrow marks where his body was found under the wooden canopy. At the time this picture was taken the trend of traffic was west. At thye time of the murder it was west.
Gains Wealth of Information.
It was always probable that he would rouse the anger of one or more of these criminals who are so constantly in fear of being “stooled” upon. It was also obvious that being constantly thrown in contact with gangsters he came to possess a wealth of information greatly valuable to him in his profession.
Jake was personally acquainted with Al Capone, notorious gang leader, having known him well since 1920. Lingle obtained an exclusive interview with Capone while the latter was in a Philadelphia prison, and at other times he had been able to interview Capone when circumstances required it.
Several times Lingle has interviewed Capone at the gang chief’s winter estate at Miami Beach, Fla. A belt buckle which Lingle wore, which was studded with what appeared to be diamonds, roused interest, and Jake used to laugh good naturedly at rumors it was a present from Capone.
Lingle came to know Capone through Johnny Torrio, who was Capone’s mentor and sponsor in Chicago’s crime life. He came to know Torrio through Jim Colosimo, murdered cabaret owner and politician, who had given Torrio his start. And every newspaper man of account knew Colosimo.
Jake also knew the old timer in Chicago’s crime world. He knew Mossy Enright, the notorious Gentleman brothers, Altman, and others among the the city’s earlier gang chieftains.
Throng gathered around the covered passageway to Illinois Central trains. This entrance is on the east side of the street, The one Lingle entered is on the west side of the street. The east entrance is within a few feet of the spot where his body was found.
Another Side of Character.
Thus has been told one side of the life of Jake Lingle. There are two others, and one shows him as the intimate of men and women of the highest standing. He was a close friend of Arthur Cutten, millionaire broker, and frequently visited Mr. Cutten at his estate near Lombard.
There was a banquet last night celebrating the new Board of Trade building. The program lists several hundred of the leading citizens of the city as guests at the banquet, and one of the names on the list was Alfred Lingle.
He was a friend of Gov Emmerson and of Attorney General Carlstrom. One of his closest social friends was First Assistant Attorney General Harry A. Ash. He knew many distinguished leaders of the legal profession and mingled with them at golf clubs, dinners and social events. There are few men in public office today who do not know Jake Lingle, and who were not known by him.
Lingle had been rated financially independent in recent years, and he followed his newspaper work not because it paid him what his efforts and ability deserved, but because he loved it. His father was a successful real estate man, who left him a not inconsiderable fortune. Two uncles died and made his their heir. His mother is a business woman of unusual acumen, and he entrusted many of his financial problems to her.
World War Service.
During the world war Lingle enlisted in the United States navy, and because of his unusual aptitude for secret service work he rose in the service to become a chief boatswain’s mate in the naval intelligence service.
The third side of the life of Lingle was that closest to his heart, It was his family life. He was married and had two children whom he adored. They are Alfred Jr., who is 6 years old, and Dolores, who is 5. He lavished on these two children in an unrestrained affection, watc hing their upbringing with the greatest interest and care.
Several years ago he began sending his family to the Indiana sand dunes, near Michigan City, for summer vacations. This year he had purchased a cottage for them and he was enthusiastic in describing to his friends his hopes for the family’s happiness.
Witnesses who saw the slayer, and others who chased him through the loop streets, were taken to the detective bureau, and after thorough questioning by Stege, were shown pictures of known hoodlums who might have poarticipated in such a crime.
Several of the witnesses declared that pictures of Sam Hunt, supposed Capone gunman, resembled the slayer. Hunt was seized a few weeks ago, carrying a golf bag in which were concealed a shotgun and a pistol. The arrest was at the scene at which an assassination had been attempted.
Lingle’s funeral parade proceeds past Our Lady of Sorrows on West Jackson Boulevard.
Excerpted from Chicago Tribune, June 17, 1930
Acting Police Commissioner John Alcock last night became the leader of the fight demanded by press, politicians, business leaders, clergymen, and private citizens against gang outlawry, which culminated in the murder of Alfred Lingle, Tribune reporter, a week ago.1
Alcock assumed command of the police department after a series of events during the day—all of which were the outgrowth of investigations inspired by the Lingle murder—of which the following were outstanding:
- 1. Police Commissioner William F. Russell submitted his resignation to William Hale Thompson and relieved Chief of Detectives John Stege of his detective bureau command.
2. A statement was issued by the retiring commissioner saying he and Stege were stepping out of their offices so as not to impede a thorough investigation of the Lingle murder and of the police department itself. He added that in his 22 months as commissioner he had withstood heavy pressure and was leaving the department in better condition that it was.
3. The city council committee on police met and heard Russell’s and Stege’s explanations of their withdrawals and voted to go to the bottom of charges of corrupt alliances of police and criminals.
4. The Association of Commerce special meeting of directors resulted in the creation of a special committee of sixteen to enlarge the work undertaken by the “Secret Six” to drive wrongdoers from the city. The business leaders made no public recommendations regarding a new police commissioner, nor any open request that Mayor Thompson resign.
5. The political action committee of the Chicago Church federation insisted upon an exposé of any partnership of crime and politics and a committee was appointed to make a definite inquiry as to why laws are not enforced.
① Capt. John Stege, ② Ald. James B. Bowler, ③ Ald. John Tolman, ④ Police Commissioner William F. Russell, ⑤ Ald. Thomas F. Byrne, chairman of police committee.
Chicago Tribune, July 1, 1930
Who Killed Jake Lingle and Why?
This question, yielding to a myriad of answers, of rumors, innuendos and gossip has become the most absorbing topic of conversation in clubs, homes, town meetings, street corners and in the press.
Alfred J. Lingle, $65 a week reporter of The Tribune was shot in the back of the head as he walked through the Illinois Central tunnel under Michigan boulevard at Randolph street, on June 9, three weeks ago.
In the beginning it was agreed between the state’s attorney, the coroner and the police that secrecy should be maintained in the search for the killers, so that important clews might not be “tipped off” to the underworld. The newspapers were urged to adopt a policy of printing only such news as was released by State’s Attorney Swanson. So far the only news so given out has been a detailed statement of Lingle’s financial antics, and it has been announced that the release of news of the crime itself would prove of serious detriment to the investigation.
However, the drift of scandal concerning the activities of Lingle has gone so deep without any of it having been officially sifted for the public to determine its truth or falsity that a general review of the rumors and reports is herewith presented.
Floods of Clews Received.
Many bits of information, some in response to the offer of rewards totaling $55,825, have been received by The Tribune, and all of these have been delivered to Assistant State’s Attorney Charles F. Rathbun and Chief Investigator P. J. Roche.
Most of these “tips” have been proved false, it is stated, but beyond this statement nothing has been given out by the state’s attorney’s office as to the results of this part of the inquiry.
Rumors of Fixing.
Since his death Lingle has become dubbed Chicago’s “unofficial chief of police.” He has been called a fixer for gamblers, dog track promoters and gangsters in general, and a go-between, procuring for underworld characters special privileges at the hands of police officials and politicians.
The story is spreading that a number of newspaper reporters have been accepting or extorting hush money from underworld characters and that Lingle was not the only one marked for death on June 9.
Some of the newspapers have published news articles purporting to name killers who are being sought by the authorities, and to outline motives for the crime.
Reports Are Unofficial.
The matters discussed herein have not been revealed by the state’s attorney’s staff, but the reports have been bandied about so freely that it is deemed proper that a rather full resumé should be given to the public for what news value these reports, some of which may be true, may have.
The revolver with which Lingle was murdered was picked up at the scene, and, according to reports, it has been identified through a system of reproducing the original numbers on the gun by n etching process.
The manufacturer of the revolver, it is reported, sold it to Peter Von Frantzius, dealer in firearms and sporting goods at 608 Diversey parkway. Von Frantzius previously has confessed to selling the machine guns in the St. Valentine’s day massacre of the Moran gang and to selling other weapons to gangsters.
The Frank Foster Story.
It is said that Von Frantzius has told the authorities in this case that he sold the weapon which killed Lingle to to Frank Foster, a gunman formerly associated with the Moran gang but more likely reported to have switched to the gang of Scarface Al Capone. The reports give various reasons for connecting Foster with the Lingle murder among which are the enemies of Foster had obtained his revolver and had deliberately planted it after the murder to cast suspicion upon him, and another that Capone himself decided upon the murder of Lingle and that Foster supplied the weapon.
Another theory, which cropped up at the beginning of the inquiry, concerns threats against Lingle made by John J. “Boss” McLaughlin, former legislator recently identified with rackets.
McLaughlin, it was said, had sought the aid of Lingle in obtaining permission from the police to open a gambling resort at 605 West Madison street, and when Lingle, who was an intimate friend of many years standing of former Police Commissioner William F. Russell, refused to intercede for McLaughlin, the latter is said to have threatened to “catch up” with Lingle.
Story of Fortune False.
It was revealed early in the inquiry that the explanation which Lingle had given for possessing large sums of money at all times which was that he had inherited it from relatives and won it in the stock market, was false.
Supporting Lingle’s assertions that he had made many a sizable profit on the stock market was his association with Arthur Cutten, millionaire operator. Lingle had been of great aid to Mr. Cutten in the latter’s private search for the robber gang which looted his country home near Lombard and imprisoned Mr. Cutten and members of his household in a vault in which they might have suffocated.
Mr. Cutten launched a determined search for the gang and in the years if patient detective work which he financed he succeeded in having the gang rounded up and sent to prison.
Lingle through his friendship with police officials , ha the detectives assigned to the case. Mr. Cutten had expressed his appreciation of this help from Lingle, and the latter, during the time he was visiting the millionaire at his home and office, was wont to drop occasional remarks among his associated to indicate that Mr. Cutten gave him valuable information concerning his operations in the stock market. Mr. Cutten, since the murder, has denied this.
For a time the authorities considered the possibility that Lingle may have been killed by relatives or intimates of the robbers sent to prison, in revenge for his activities in Mr. Cutten’s behalf.
Source of Funds Hidden.
While many of Lingle’s supposed sources of funds have been discussed, few have yet been uncovered by the state’s attorney, as he revealed in his report issued last Saturday. It was shown that he borrowed sums, some large, more of them small, from friends.
The problem of uncovering the sources of Lingle’s income has led to many theories being advanced which would provide a motive for his murder.
It has been widely published that the murder of Lingle was committed by James “red” Forsyth, known as a bad man and as a gangster affiliated with the “north side mob” of George “Bugs” Moran.
Forsyth is known as an associate of Simon J. Gorman, former labor official and owner of a trucking company, and of Frank Noonan, a labor racketeers, and each of these three it is said, is the object of a nation-wide search Instituted by the state’s attorney.
As fir a motive which might lead Forsyth to kill Lingkle there have been several advanced, of which the leading one is that the Moran gang, by killing Lingle, struck at the rival Capone gang.
The Moran gang is said to have been in sorry straits since seven of its members were slain in the St. Valentine’s day massacre. It is said that other members have been murdered, that the gang’s territories in the peddling of beer and booze have been invaded by rival gangsters, its dog track venture, ran afoul of the state’s attorney’s interference, and that its gambling and drinking places have frequently been raided and wrecked by police squads.
On the other hand, it has been reported that the Capone gang enjoyed prosperity, and that its operations were winked at by the police.
Lingle and Capone.
Lingle was described as a friend, perhaps an intimate, of Scarface Alphonse Capone. He visited Capone at the gangster’s estate on Palm island, Miami Beach, in Florida, and it was reported that the diamond belt buckle which Lingle wore had been a present from Capone. Lingle certainly was an intimate of Police Commissioner Russell, and in the light of his post-mortem cognomen as the “Unofficial Chief of Police,” it may have been argued by the harassed Moran gangsters that Lingle was their nemesis.
By his murder, it is argued along this theory, Capone would be ruined in his chances of further operating in Chicago. Russell would be ousted and perhaps after things quieted down, the Moran gangsters were reported to have argued, they would be able to start in quietly operating again.
Attorney Richberg’s Attack.
Lingle’s friendship with Capone has repeatedly been urged in questioning his honesty. Attorney Donald R. Richberg, speaking recently before the City club of Chicago, was quoted as follows:
- The close relationship between Jake Lingle and the police department has been published in the Chicago papers. Out of town newspapers describe Lingle even more bluntly as having been ‘the unofficial chief of police of Chicago.’ But Lingle was also strangely intimate with Al Capone, our most notorious gangster.
Surely all Chicago knows that Samuel Ettelson, Mr. Insull’s political lawyer, who is corporation counsel of Chicago, is also the chief operator of the city government. Thompson is only a figurehead. Are we to believe that there existed an unofficial chief of police associating with the most vicious gang in Chicago, without the knowledge of Mr. Ettelson—who is neither deaf nor blind but, on the contrary, has a reputation of knowing everything worth knowing about city hall affairs.
Newspapers have reported in detail an enormous income obtained by Lingle fro unknown sources—perhaps a natural result of being an ‘unofficial chief of police; and a friend of gangsters plundering the town.
Former Commissioner Russell, who resigned at the height of a public clamor against crime conditions, has been questioned by Prosecutor Rathbun, but the latter has issued no statement specifically describing the interview with Russell. However. in some quarters the inference has been drawn thaqt the solution of the Lingle murder depended upon Russell’s financial connection with Lingle. The reports have it that Rusell was asked by the prosecutor whether he extended special favors and to Lingle’s friends.
Russell repeatedly has denied that Lingle either sought or obtained any favors from the police department.
Sheridan Wave Club.
Another theory advanced places the blame for the Lingle murder in connection with a gambling resort at 621 Wavelend avenue, known as the Sheridan Wave club. As the story goes, this place in the winter of 1928-29 was one of the most fashionable and prosperous gambling places in the city. Its patrons came in formal dress.
A lookout’s most rigid inspection through a slot in the outside door preceded the players’ admission to the gaming precincts. Once admitted, the “guest” was not permitted to purchase food or drink. If he wanted a highball, it was served him free. If his tastes ran to champagne, he got champagne. Liveried lackeys served trays of food.
The play ran high, many thousands of dollars being passed across its tables every night. It was generally known in gambling circle that the place was operated for the profit of the Moran gang.
Massacre Shuts Resort.
With the (St. Valentine’s Day) massacre and disintegration of the Moran gang, the place was closed, but ever since that time, for a year and a half, according to reports, strenuous efforts have been made by Moran gangsters to obtain official permission to reopen.
Recent reports have drawn Lingle into the negotiations for the reopening of the gambling resort. The place had been in charge of Joey Josephs, a well-known gambler, and Julius “Potatoes” Kaufman. The latter has been known as a long time acquaintance or friend of Lingle, and is reported by the Chicago Daily News to have approached Lingle in the hope of obtaining permission from the police to relaunch the Sheridan Wave club.
According to one report in the Daily News, “Boss” McLaughlin, previously mentioned as having threatened Lingle for the latter’s refusal to intercede with the police in getting an okay on another gambling place, had been engaged by the Moran gang to make a satisfactory contract with the state’s attorney’s office.
Report Graft Demand.
Then, in this Daily News report has it, Jospehs and Kaufman went to a police official, whose name is withheld and said:
“We have the O.K. from the west side. How about you?”
“It’s all right if Lingle is cut in,” was the reply, if this published report os authentic.
Then, so the rumor runs, Lingle is supposed to have called upon Jospehs and Kaufman and demanded 50 per cent of the profits. Kaufman violently refused, the report has it, and the place was not reopened.
According to another report, this in the Chicago Herald and Examiner, Lingle demanded $15,000 in cash from the two gambling promoters, and when the supposed demand was refused, Lingle is reported in this rumor to have replied that “if this joint is opened up you will see more squad cars in front ready to raid it than you ever saw in your life before.”
The grand opening of the Sheridan Wave club had been extensively advertised, in sporting circles, as to take place on the night of June 9. Lingle was murdered that day, The place did not open that night.
Raid on Biltmore Club.
Three days before the murder, according to the Herald and Examiner, the detectives on the staff of State’s Attorney Swanson, at the direction of Investigator Roche, had raided the Biltmore Athletic club, 2021 West Division street, another supposed gambling house.
Within an hour after the raid, according to the report, Lingle was seeking frantically to talk with Roche over the telephone. Roche refused to talk with Lingle, it is said, and the reporter met with Roche the next day.
“You have put me in a terrible jam,” Lingle told Roche, it is said. “I told that outfit they could run, but I didn’t know they were going to go with such a bang.”
One Suspected Check.
In all the checks issued by Lingle from his account at the Lake Shore Trust and Savings bank, only one was of a nature to arouse the suspicion of the investigators, and that was one for $500 made payable to cash, and endorsed by Police Capt. Daniel Gilbert.
Gilbert told Assistant State’s Attorney Rathbun, according to the latter’s report, that he had chanced to mention to Lingle that he was unable to pay his insurance premium, and that Lingle insisted upon his accepting the $500 check.
Other published interviews quote Capt. Gilbert as saying that he had advanced Lingle a loan of $500, and that the check was in payment of the loan.
The income tax department of the United States government is reported by the Chicago American to be investigating Lingle’s financial affairs, for it is said that the reporter has never filed a schedule of his earnings with the government.
Phone Calls Traced.
Telephone calls made by Lingle from his suite at the Stevens hotel, where he lived at a cost of $8 a day, have been traced by the investigators, it is reported, with the result that many calls have been found made to officials in the federal building, county building, and city hall.
Of the loans supposed to have been negotiated by Lingle, most of them have been discussed with State’s Attorney Swanson in the Rathbun report. One rumor which the investigators were unable to substantiate was that Sam Hare, owner of the Dells, a Morton Grove roadhouse and formerly a gambling resort, and also of the Dells Winter club at 4646 Drezel boulevard, another gambling place, had loaned Lingle $20,000.
Hare has been variously reported as denying that he never loaned Lingle a penny, and as admitting that Lingle had borrowed small sums of $100 and $200 at the racetracks, but had always paid them back.
Another report in the Daily News, has it that the $20,000 was not loaned by Sam Hare at all, but there had been a confusion of names, and that perhaps Edwin O’Hare, former head of the Laramie Kennel club backed by Scarface Capone, was meant, O’Hare has not been interviewed as yet.
The Dog Track Story.
Still another motive is offered in new rumors. This has it that Lingle was used by Capone to protect his dog tracks and to keep them operating. The state’s attorney’s office by repeated raids, upset this program, and although for a time the tracks operated under an injunction issued by Judge Harry Fisher, the Supreme court finally ruled that dog racing in Illinois was illegal.
Capone is quoted by both the Daily News and the Herald-Examiner as saying to Lingle:
- Well, the racket is through, and as far as I’m concerned, so are you.
A Doubled-Barreled Theory.
Under this sort of theory, which is offered by the Daily News without the least substantiation. Lingle was no more than a fixer for Capone, and when Lingle ceased to be useful to Capone the latter decided to have him killed. This report goes on to say that Lingle might have been killed for revenge by the dog track interests because Lingle had accepted large sums on a promise that he would use enough influence to keep the dog tracks open.
“The closing of the dog tracks,” said the unverified report, “cost gangsters at least $1,000,000 a year. The sums given to Lingle, according to report, ranged from $20,000 to $100,000.”
In the same Daily News article it was stated that “investigators are trying to corner reports prevalent in the loop for months that: $5 a barrel excise tax was being levied by Lingle on loop beer for the ‘fix.'” The article then states:
- They (the investigators) were trying also to discover who gave the ‘word for the hall’ that has stopped and started the beer taps working in the loop at intervals for the last two years.
Still another rumor given the light of publicity was one that the Moran gang had tried to retain Lingle to bolster their dying business.
Silver Deposit Is Mystery.
There waqs one deposit in the long list of deposits made by Lingle in the Lake Shore bank indicating that $200 in silver had been placed in his account. An effort was made to learn whether the deposit slip had been erroneously filled out and that the $200 had really been in currency, as all of Lingle’s other deposits were. But in other quarters, particularly the Daily News, the inference was spread that the silver part of the proceeds from slot machines operated by the hoodlum band, some of whose members were indicted, but none of whom were convicted.
Jimmy Mondi, a gambler who knew Lingle for years, has admitted arranging a for a long $2,000 loan for the reporter. Immediately a report was circulated in the Daily News concerning a mysterious stock brokerage account in the defunct Harry Massey company.
The account was listed as the “R. & M. account,” and one newspaper story put the inference upon this that it was a joint account of former Police Commissioner Russell and Mondi. The only evidence cited in the story was that a trader for the firm had vehemently denied that the “R” is the account represented Russell.
Sister Are Interviewed.
Lingle’s acquaintance with three sister who operate a millinery establishment at the Stevens hotel, has also been made the subject of newspaper interviews. Viola Daniels, one of the sisters, was quoted as saying that she and her sisters had loaned Lingle $2,000 to bolster his stock market losses.
The brokerage records of Stein, Alstrin & Co. indicate that Lingle guaranteed an account opened under the name “Daniels sisters,” and that at times he had deposited money in the account. A loss of $8,000 was suffered in the account.
Miss Daniels is described by the Herald Examiner as “tall, blonde, and attractive.” She was quoted as saying she met Lingle about a year ago, and that although she was with him frequently, she never visited his home or apartment at the Stevens hotel.
“Jake would come over to our hat shop and take us out to dinner,” Miss Daniels was quoted. “Usually Margaret and I went with him, but sometimes my brother, David, would go, too. Jake didn’t talk much about his afairs. We didn’t know any of the gangsters whom he knew.”
Miss Daniels emphasized that she and her sisters were no more than good friends of Lingle.
Prisoners taken in raid on George (“Bugs”) Moran’s headquarters at 520 North Michigan avenue and in Commonwealth hotel leaving Criminal Court building.
St. Louis Star, July 1, 1930
CHICAGO, July 1.—Few were shocked or surprised last February, when death dashed up in q big blue sedan and touched Julius Rosenheim with an icy finger. A little bullet in the brain did the trick. The police winked knowing eyes, the newspapers recorded another gang murder and throughout the so-called underworld sleek-haired “hoods” slapped each other on the back and drank a hot stay in hell for the victim, a “squawker.”
Few cared about the lack of flowers, or the fact that there were not enough pallbearers for this odd, bleary-eyed man, who was 55 years old, and who had been a sinister figure in the underworld for twenty years. He was known as a “fixer,” a “shake-down artists,” and a double-crosser, but had managed to hang to the fringes of more or less society.
The “squawker” quickly ws forgotten, but now, three weeks after gangland’s assassination of Alfred (Jake) Lingle, the Tribune’s racketeering reporter, the bold shooting of Rosenheim suddenly has taken on a new significance. This writer now can disclose for the first time in any newspaper the fact that until days prior to his death Rosenheim had an alliance with a reporter for The Chicago Daily News who used him as a stool pigeon and that the “squawker” was a familiar figure in the rooms of the news gathering organization of that great newspaper.
A Positive Connection.
Also: Pat Roche, chief investigator for State’s Attorney Swanson, is authority for the statement that Rosenheim’s activities in “the newspaper racket” were alone responsible for his murder. Investigators, chasing every tangible clew leading to the supposed blond and left-handed “hood” who fired the shot that killed Lingle, now see a definite and positive connection between the murders of Rosenheim and Lingle. They regard the two murders not as challenge to the Chicago press to “lay off’ gangland, but as the underworld’s warning to crooked newspapermen to quit “muscling in” on their rackets.
The “squawker,” it can be authoritatively disclosed, had for months prior to his sudden taking off, been using his association with the reporter for The News as a means of swelling his wallet. He had no visible source of support, save for the small sums paid him by this reporter for “tips.” Yet, like Lingle, he lived like a king. He drove a very expensive automobile and kept his young wife and adopted daughter “in style” in his Dickens avenue home. He was a “big shot” in many places.
“Put It on the Line.”
The truth is that Rosenheim was a “shake-down artist” par excellence. He was forcing gamblers, brothel keepers, booze and beer barons and other racketeers to “put it on the line” under threat of “exposure” in The News. He was actually in a position to make good on some of his threats for his job was to get the “low down” for the reporter, and when his “shake” failed to work, he actually gave the reporter the unquestioned facts which he had in his possession and these were used by the reporter in connection with news atories.
Information in the possession of Roche proves that Rosenheim, like Lingle, made many threats and promises he could not eep. It is also a matter of record that less than a week before the “squawker” met the end he had so long forestalled, he was ordered out of the editorial rooms of The News and reporter who had “contacted” him was instructed to “drop him.”
Roche insists that the “squawker” used the name of the reporter in all his transactions, all his threats and promises and that this reporter is now marked for death.
“He’ll get it, too,” says Roche.
However, The News does not question the integrity of the reporter and the Roche assertion is given no credence by officials or executives of The News.
Twenty Years a Stool Pigeon.
The history of Rosenheim is out of interest. He was 55 years old and for twenty years had been a stool pigeon for one outfit or another. Years ago he “stooled” for Chief of Police Healey, only to double-cross his superior, and testify against him when Healey was indicted as a grafter.
He was employed in turn by Maclay Hoyne, when Hoyne was states attorney, by the crime committee which was headed by Prof. Charles E. Merriam, and more recently, by a crime commission sponsored by The News. He was a close friend of Charlie (Monkey Face) Genker, West Side resort keeper, and at one time was paid to “turn up” Genker, but failed to produce the proof. He was the “mysterious witness” whose absence caused a three-day delay in the recent trial of James (Hi-Pockets) O’Brien in the slot-machine graft cases. O’Brien was acquitted.
“I want a little trip to Florida and if you don’t come across I’ll expose you,” he threatened.
He didn’t get the five grand and a few days later he made a similar demand on David (Cockeyed Mulligan) Ablin, proprietor of the exclusive Epicure gambling club, 19 Cedar street. The “squawker” didn’t get the money, but Ablin’s troubles, which began with a raid, started immediately.
Killed Near his Home.
The “squawker” was killed February 1, 1930, in the very shadow of his home at 3516 Dickens avenue, a few seconds after he had kissed his wife goodby. On the day before his murder there appeared on page one of The News a lengthy article, which started like this:
- The Epicure club, David (Cockeyed Mulligan) Ablin’s ritzy yip-yip joint for weary business me at 19 East Cedar street, took another telling dive toward oblivion today. The federal grand jury returned an indictment against Ablin and six others …. and with the indictment on the promises that fast-talking Dave has been making to his yelping clientele of 1,000 that he should have the place back in operation soon vanished farther into the distance.
On the day of the murder “machine gub” Jack McGurn and Tony Accardo, notorious gangsters, were arrested and questioned about Rosenheim.
“What about this Rosenheim?” asked McGurn.
“Hell, I didn’t even know he was sick.”
Nine Suspects Taken.
There have been few other developments of a startling nature. Gang warfare flamed anew yesterday and the remains of two young chaps who were “taken for rides” were found. Everybody rushed out to see if one of them was te supposed “blond, left-handed slayer” of Lingle. Neither was. Pat Roche was busy, however, and reached the supposed headquarters of the “Bugs” Moran-Aillo-Zuta gang in the loop and arrested eight men and a woman for questioning, Included among them was Jack Zuta, gang leader, and Grover Dulard, gambler, who is said to have been with Lingle a short time before he was murdered. However, Roche does not regard the “net: as hot; he does hope, by the old police “third-degree” methods, to get something from the prisoners to work on.
Tribune Man’s Story.
In the meantime Robert M. Lee, city editor of the Tribune, in a signed article, has tried to show how Lingle could have been crooked, though unsuspected. In the same issue, an editorial sets forth, among many other things, that—
- . . . The reasonable appearance about Lingle now is that he was accepted in the world of politics and crime for something undreamed of in his office and that he used his undertakings which made him money and brought him his death . . . There are weak men on other newspapers and in other professions, in positions of trust and responsibility greater than that of Alfred Lingle . . . The report of the investigators contains all the facts and plausible intimations that Alfred Lingle was killed because he was using his Tribune position to profit from criminal operations and not because he was serving the Tribune as it thought he was. Events will prove that his newspaper had nothing to cover in this connection.
Who killed “Jake” Lingle?
The St. Louis Star’s investigator ventures the forecast that the world at large will never know.
St. Louis Star, July 2, 1930
CHICAGO, July 2.—The first gun in a war to rid Chicago of itchy-palmed mewspaper men who have turned an honorable profession into a “racket” was fired today.
Col. Robert McCormick, millionaire publisher of The Chicago Tribune, and a veteran of the World War, in an exclusive interview with this writer, asserted he would make a personal appeal to the July grand jury to investigate all facts, reports and rumors regarding numerous unholy alliances between newspaper men and politicians, lawyers, police officials, beer and booze barons, gamblers, gangsters, brothel keepers, night club owners and other racketeers.
McCormick, the first Chicago publisher to tale cognizance pf conditions known to exist in the offices of various Chicago newspapers—conditions which have resulted in the murders of Julius (The Squawker) Rosenheim, a “stool pigeon” for a Daily News reporter, and of Alfred (Jake) Lingle, a Tribune reporter—pledged the resources of his publication to bring about a thorough “house cleaning” for the good of the profession.
The decision of Col. McCormick to appeal to the grand jury followed closely upon a statement made to The Star’s representative by Charles F. Rathbun, Tribune counsel and special assistant state’s attorney in charge of the Lingle investigation, that “If the situation among newspaper workers in Chicago in general is half as bad as rumor indicates, then the welfare of the newspapers demands that these conditions be remedied.” Rathbun added that with the conclusion of his inquiry, “All the facts about Lingle and other newspaper men disclosed will be placed in the hands of State’s Attorney Swanson.”
What a Jury Can Do.
What can a grand jury do? Well, The St. Louis Star suggests that it start by investigating the activities of a reporter who is known here as “the unofficial mayor of Chicago.” (Lingle was “the unofficial chief of police.”)
Then find out why another reporter is paid 5 cents a bag for every sack of cement sold here and establish the connections of reporters with what is now known as the “street paving racket.”
Look into the visits of newspaper men (other than Lingle) to the island retreats of Al (Scarface) Capone, near Miami, Fla.
Dig around and find out the truth surrounding the arrest in Havana, Cuba last spring of Capone and a newspaper man who gave an alias and said he was a real estate dealer.
Check up the income of a minor editor who in a boastful moment told the writer that he is “the guy who fixed a standardized price schedule for the divorce lawyers who want their names in the paper.”
Then trace the activities and influence of another little editor who bemoans the fact that before his promotion to an editorship he “cleaned up two hundred a week” on his “run” at the county building.
The “bond-signing racket” should come in inquiry, too, as a police reporter is said to control it.
The “legal fee racket” is another activity which a police officer who tips off ambulance-chasing shysters to al accidents reported to the police as his own.
The “lottery racket” of a newspaper man who recently “went south” with some $50,000 of “sucker money” and who worked his racket through the circulation department of his newspaper will bear sifting.
The reason why one editor maintains an office in the loop separate from his newspaper also might develop something of interest.
The incomes of a number of reporters who boast that they do not bother to file federal income tax reports because they are “bigger than the law” can be checked and the activities of a reporter who is a regular patron of the night clubs and speakeasies but who never pays his bills in any of them also is an invitation to the grand jury to investigate.
There are numerous other “rackets” being worked on a wholesale scale by Chicago newspapermen into which a grand jury might inquire, for as a racketeering executive of one Chicago newspaper who is on the job this minute (and who probably will turn several shades of red, white and blue when this article is received in Chicago) told this reporter:
- Only the dumb wits in the newspaper game in Chicago are without a racket. I’m not exactly money-hungry, but what’s the use of living like a tramp when the filthy lucre is being passed out like rain checks at the ball park. The reporters and editors ain’t to blame for what they’re doing—it’s the publishers. They don’t pay us enough to live on and you know it.
I’m getting mine while we got prohibition. I’ve got a pet racket that’s going to put me on easy street. Only a couple of weeks ago, just before ‘Jake’ was bumped, a guy from Portland, Ore., tried to “muscle in” on my game and I got his arms and legs busted for him. Come on out to the house and I’ll treat you to some swell Capone whisky.
Why not tell the grand jury about the fellow who conceives the high calling of journalism to be a field of graft and moral degradation?
If called, the writer will give a Chicago grand jury the name, newspaper connection and a bill of particulars concerning this racketeer.
It should be emphasized at this point that there is no intention of creating the impression that all Chicago newspapermen are crooks and thieves. The powerful “hoods” in this business are in the minority. The fine, high-class conscientious men who are true to all the old ideals of journalism, and who would shed blood to see the crooks eliminated, asre by far in the majority. Many a $45-a-week “leg man” here has resented, with his fists, offers of easy money. Late yesterday writer talked to someone who said:
- The sooner conditions here are cleaned up, the better. Honest men are wondering if honesty is a virtue. We see less gifted reporters wax fat and rich. Only recently I was sent to Miami to check up on the activities of another newspaperman who was there with Al Capone.
Capone called me at my hotel and said: ‘Say it costs a lot of dough to live down here—can I help you? I told him to go to hell.’
Now back to Col. McCormick, and his plans. Tall, broad-shouldered, powerful, a great horseman and polo player, he say in his spacious office in the tower of the Tribune Building on Michigan boulevard, overlooking the lake and the skyscrapers of the loop, and said, in no uncertain language:
- I shall personally request the grand jury to make a thorough investigation of facts and rumors, having to do with alliances between newspaper men and the underworld.
I shall give the grand jury every fact, and every rumor, touching on my own and other staffs. You may quote me on that, and I give you the statement for exclusive publication in The St. Louis Star.
There is no need of beating about the bush. If the newspapers in Chicago are to continue to occupy the foremost place in the life of this country, we must clean house. The Tribune has nothing to conceal. It is bigger rhan any, or all of its personnel, and I will not only discharge but prosecute any man on our payroll who has used his employment dishonestly!
Then Col. McCormick turned to the subject of the slain Tribune reporter, Lingle, and said:
- His life and death are only an incident. I might, according to the facts so far developed, figure out a long and tortuous course to prove why Lingle was an honest man. But I now know he was not honest, so why should I?
The Tribune, for many years, with its present circulation of more than 835,000 has dominated the Chicago field. Other Chicago publishers have seized upon the assassination of Lingle and his dishonesty to turn it to competitive disadvantage of the Tribune. Advertising salesmen for opposing newspapers are using the sinister facts in the Lingle killing as a selling argument against the purchase of space in the the Tribune’s columns.
Some Progress in Probe.
Some progress is being made by Assistant State’s Attorney Rathbun and Chief Investigator Pat Roche toward a solution of the nystery of “Who killed Lingle?” They caused the arrest in Los Angeles Monday night of Frank Foster, Chicago gangster, who at one tine owned the short, snub-nosed ‘belly gun” with which Lingle was assassinated. Ig Foster decides to answer a carefully prepared list of questions which Rathbun and Roche made out he may be released. If not, he will be indicted as an accomplice to the murder of Lingle, and returned to Chicago.
In the meantime, “Jake” sleeps in a lonely grave the eventual marker of which will stand forever as a warning to all who would betray a trust. Maybe, after “finis” is written to the case honest newspapermen will have a kindly feeling for “Jake,” for if his grafting and his murder result in “house cleaning” in Chicago newspaper offices, then “Jake” will have done his profession a real service.
St. Louis Star, July 18, 1930
MIAMI BEACH, FLA., July 18.—It was 1 o’clock in the morning and the beams of a tropical moon danced on the waters of Biscayne Bay. For more than three hours this writer had sat with Al (Scarface) Capone on a divan on the sun porch of his beautiful Palm Island palace, chatting about Chicago, its underworld, the assassination of “Jake” Lingle and the activities of some other Chicago newspapermen.
Suddenly, the big beer and bullet baron leaned over, put his left arm around my shoulders, and with typical Latin affection, squeezed me and said:
- Listen, Harry, I like your face. Let me give you a hot tip: lay off Chicago the money hungry reporters.
You’re right and because you’re right, you’re wrong.
You can’t buck it, not even with the backing of your newspaper, because it is too big a proposition.
No one man will ever realize how big it is, so lay off.
- I mean they’ll make a monkey out of you before you get through. No matter what dope you have to give that grand jury, the boys will prove you’re a liar and a faker. You’ll get a trimming.
I’m going to quote you saying that.
- If you do, I’ll deny that.
This reporter got off the train in Miami at 8:18 p.m., after a hot, 48-hour trip from St. Louis, with no letters of introduction and no assurance that he could talk with Capone.
Drives to Residence.
Going directly to the Pancoast Hoel, on the beach, the writer wasted an hour trying to obtain the secret, unlisted telephone number of the Capone estate, and then hired an automobile and drove to the Palm Island residence.
A friendly, though hard-boiled guard was at the big iron gates and said that Capone was out with his attorneys.
“When will he return?”
The guard shrugged his shoulders and the writer sat down on the grass, to wait.
At 10 p.m. a big limousine arrived with Capone’s younger brother and a few minutes later another black sedan pulled up at the gates.
Capone, with two armed guards and another man, stepped out, whereupon The Star’s reporter introduced himself.
- This IS a surprise. Come on in.
A moment later we were seated on the sun porch.
- You seem to have raised merry hell in Chicago. What brings you here?
Then, after a barely perceptible pause he said in tones that carried conviction.
- The Chicago Police know who killed him.
A soft breeze drifted by and there was a moment of quiet. Then the writer said:
Was “Jake” your friend?
- Yes, up to the very day he died.
Did you have a row with him?
- Absolutely not.
It is said you fell out with him because he failed to split profits from handbooks.
- Bunk! The handbook racket hasn’t really been organized in Chicago for more than two years and anyone who says it is doesn’t know Chicago.
If you did not have a row with Lingle why did you refuse to see him upon your release from the workhouse in Philadelphia?
- Who said I didn’t see him?
The Chicago newspapers, the files of which, including his own. The Tribune, set forth the facts.
- Well, If ‘Jake” failed to say I saw him—then I didn’t see him.
What about “Jake’s” diamond belt buckle?
- I gave it to him.
Do you mind stating what it cost?
- Two hundred and fifty bucks.
Why did you give it to him?
- He was my friend.
How many rackets was he engaged in?
Capone shrugged his shoulders.
What was the matter with Lingle?
- The horse races.
How many other Lingles are there in Chicago?
- In the newspaper racket? Phooey, dun’t ask.
Seriously, what do you think of newspapermen who turn their profession into a racket?
- I think just this: Newspapers and newspapermen should be busy suppressing rackets and not supporting them. It does not become me, of all persons, to say that, but I believe it.
How many newspapermen have you had on your payroll?
Have you had any telephone calls from newspapermen in Chicago since publication in The St. Louis Star that Lingle was not the only one in his profession in Chicago with a racket?
Again the one short word:
Jake Lingle, wearing his diamond-studded buckle, in the Chicago Tribune office.
Makes Tour of Estate.
Capone took the writer on a tour of his house and grounds, without escort. We visited the beautiful swimming pool and bathhouse is as fine as anything in Hollywood) the private pier, boat house, high powered speed boat and palatial cruiser, and strolled through the grounds, with the rock pool and fernery, and gorgeous trees and flowers. Everywhere was beauty and the odor of the night blooming jasmine and the blood red of the hibiscus. Palm fronds waved and whispered in the early morning breeze, blowing in from the Atlantic.
“You are not afraid,” the writer asked?
- Of what? I go everywhere alone most of the time, and would be very happy here if the Miami police would let me alone. A little clique over there has tried to run me out of town, but I refuse to be chased. They have arrested me repeatedly, tried me unsuccessfully on a perjury charge which was trumped up, and tried to padlock my home as a public nuisance because I kept a drink here for myself, as who in Miami doesn’t?
No, I am not afraid. No harm will come to me, because I am out of all rackets. I will make Miami my home and will go to Chicago only occasionally.
You certainly organized Chicago in a hurry.
- Organize Chicago? Bah; how could any one man organize a city of 3,000,000? I was successful in some rackets up there but to say that I organized the town is to be foolish.
We went through the 17-room house, from bedrooms to the kitchen where a fine catch of boniti (a species of mackeral) caught that same day, was on ice. The whole place was tastefully appointed and Capone with pride how his hand and brain alone directed the decorators.
Has Many Friends.
Oddly enough, this man has more friends than enemies in Miami and Miami Beach, and those who would like to see him forced out of his retreat are, seemingly, in the minority. On every hand one hears, “What we need down here are a dozen more Capones who will spend $100,000 a year or better. Capone behaves himself and is a good citizen.”
There are others, however, who point to the fact that notorious killers frequently visit Capone and some persons assert it was Capone who put up the $10,000 cash bond for “Crane Neck” Nugent, killer companion of Fred Burke, which Nugent forfeited recently. Capone, in six months, has become a political issue down here.
He was born in Brooklyn 30 years ago and went to Chicago ten years ago at the age of 20.
- I married my girlhood sweetheart when I was 15 years old. We had two boys, one of whom died. The other, Junor, now 11 years old, is visiting in Colorado Springs.
Capone walked to the front gate with the writer where a sedan was waiting.
- Remember what I told you about those fellows your paper is writing up.
He laughed as we shook hands.
- Every racketeer in Chicago not working for a newspaper is is tickled pink at what you’ve done.
One of Capone’s right hand men drove the writer back to his hotel and talked with him there far into the night.
St. Louis Star, July 31, 1930
BEFORE THE GRAND JURY.
The dominant reaction of Chicago newspapers to their disclosed position in the crime racket might be worded as follows:
- If Al Capone says there is nothing to investigate, there is nothing to investigate.
It is hardly necessary to deal with Capone’s denial of his interview with Harry Brundidge. Enough to say that the crux of his denial was a declaration that he only talked to Brundidge ten minutes. Evidently he did not know that the Miami Beach correspondent of the Chicago Tribune, quite a sleuth, apparently sent a dispatch to his paper as saying that Harry Brundidge had been talking with Al Capone for four hours and left the estate at 2 a.m. in a Capone limousine.
Significant indeed is the headlines joy with which Chicago journalism rest, when its defense against charges of racketeering depends on the word of the super-racketeer.
Luckily, the Chicago newspapers have long since made it impossible to discredit the revelations published in The St. Louis Star. Their policy (with honorable exceptions) has been “deny everything and print the truth about the other fellow it is no longer possible to deny everything.
The really grievous fact about the Chicago situation is that the newspapers of that city—the leading, powerful ones—seem to be satisfied with the bed they have made for themselves. Otherwise, why should they spend so much time smoothing the covers?
If The Star agreed with Al Capone that Chicago gang alliances are too big to be cracked, Harry Brundidge would have little reason to go before the Cook County grand jury tomorrow. No matter what he places before that body, Chicago officialdom may be expected to give him what Capone gave his own words, a 100 per cent repudiation.
Brundidge goes before a grand jury because truth, when it begins to come out, has a habit of keeping on coming. Nearly all the items listed by Brundidge as worthy a a grand jury’s examination to find the facts have been proved in whole, or admitted in part since first published in The Star. The Chicago newspapers themselves have published item after item of the information we were challenged to produce before the grand jury.
The people of Chicago and of the country, not State’s Attorney Swanson, will be the real judges of what Brundidge has to present tomorrow, and they can pass judgement on it without hearing a word.
New York Daily News,June 8, 2013
Corrupt Chicago Tribune newsman Jake Lingle gunned down by Mafia thug
Jake Lingle was feeling lucky. He had a heavy wallet and a yen for the ponies, so he took the day off from his cops-and-robbers job with the Chicago Tribune and beat it toward a 1:30 train out of the Loop to Washington Park Race Track on the South Side.
It was Monday, June 9, 1930. Lingle missed post time.
In a dim, crowded walkway beneath Michigan Ave., a fair-haired gunman elbowed his way to Lingle’s heels and put a bullet in the back of his head, just below the brim of his straw boater.
It was a professional job—courtesy of the Chicago Outfit, everyone assumed. Lingle’s murder, described as an “assassination,” was big news coast to coast. The press caterwauled that the crime was an unprecedented assault on the fourth estate. The Trib said its man was killed because he knew “secrets of the inner circles of gangland.”
The lowly crime scribe was treated to a funeral usually reserved for royalty, with marching bands and a legion of police and military personnel in parade dress. Thousands of weepy citizens lined the cortege route, hands at hearts.
Seven Chicago newspaper publishers, including the Trib’s Col. Robert McCormick, issued a joint demand for swift retaliation against the “intolerable outrages” of gangsters. The papers posted a $55,000 reward.
Police rounded up hundreds of mobsters—or suspected ones.
But Jake Lingle, 38, was an odd mob target. He wasn’t a crusader, and his byline rarely appeared in print.
An eighth-grade dropout, he could barely write a lick.
He was a $65-a-week legman, chasing crime news to remote precincts of the city, then plinking coins into payphones to unload notes to rewrite men downtown.
True, after 18 years at the paper, the native Chicagoan seemed to know everyone—good guys and bad. He could get calls returned from anyone, from Police Commissioner William Russell, a childhood friend, to big gun gangsters like Al Capone.
Lingle was a newsroom idol for another reason: He was rich, apparently after inheriting a fortune. He lived with his wife and two kids in a suite with a million-dollar view of Lake Michigan at the posh Hotel Stevens on Michigan Ave., vacationed in Havana, and owned a weekend home near the water east of Chicago in Michigan City, Ind.
After Lingle’s murder, a dewy-eyed report in a New York broadsheet explained, “He had been rated financially independent in recent years and he followed newspaper ddwork not because it paid him what he was worth to it, but because he loved it.”
The story said gangsters often dangled bribes in exchange for police protection.
“Invariably,” the story went on, “he replied that he could gain no such permission and that if they defied the law they would suffer.”
While Lingle was being beatified by most papers, a St. Louis reporter thought the story of St. Jake smelled skunky.
Chicago cops, politicians and, yes, newspapermen of that era were audaciously corrupt. Everyone had his hand out, and graft flowed like dirty Chicago River water.
“Only the dumb wits in the newspaper game in Chicago are without a racket,” one reporter told Harry Brundidge of the St. Louis Star.
Stirring the muck, Brundidge discovered that Lingle had inherited just $1,550; that he and Commissioner Russell were partners in a stock market account that had lost $150,000 in three years, and that Lingle’s bank account showed deposits of $60,000 in the 30 months before he was killed, including $1,200 on the morning of his murder.
The Trib’s Col. McCormick dismissed the revelations as “highly imaginative rumors,” and city editor Robert Lee wrote that Lingle’s integrity was “unassailable.”
So Brundidge dug deeper and found $85,000 in checks written to Lingle by an array of benefactors: $5,000 each from an alderman, the mayor’s spokesman and the city’s civil service czar, $30,000 from the publisher of a racetrack newspaper and $2,000 from the top banana of Capone’s gambling rackets. Capone tossed in a diamond-studded belt buckle.
Brundidge proved that Lingle—in cahoots with Commissioner Russell—had become the go-to grub for both patronage promotions and police protection. Cons bought his blessing, which allowed them to do business with impunity. And cops paid him for stripes—$1,500 for promotion to sergeant, $5,000 to captain.
The breadth of his crooked dealings was bewildering—from horse tracks to slot machines to booze. He was paid a Fiver for every beer barrel delivered in the Loop.
When Time magazine (July 7, 1930) rebranded him a “racketeer-reporter,” Col. McCormick finally had a change of heart. He wrote:
- Lingle was killed because he was using his Tribune position to profit from criminal operations and not because he was serving the Tribune as it thought he was. “He was not … a great reporter.
Russell was busted down to the rank of captain, and the hit was blamed on North Side gangster Jack Zuta, outraged when Lingle demanded $15,000 for a blessing on his backroom casino.
Leo Brothers, a mob foot soldier from St. Louis who vaguely resembled the blond gunman, was convicted based on questionable witness identifications.
Brothers probably was not the killer, but he served his time quietly and was freed after eight years at Joliet. It may not have been justice, but it was just enough for gangland Chicago.
The contract for Lingle was very likely handed out and organized by Frank Zuta, who felt Lingle double-crossed him. Zuta had two triggermen who would have been assigned to take down Lingle. One was Pasqualino “Patsy” Tardi, a blond, west side hoodlum brought in by the police on July 7th for questioning in the Lingle murder. Tardi had been identified by witnesses to the murder. Tardi was slain on January 6, 1931 at Miller and Polk streets. Zuta’s other triggerman was Frank (Frankie) Foster who also could have been the actual murderer.
Immediately following the trial and conviction of Leo Brothers, John Boettiger, a Chicago Tribune staff member, wrote a series of twenty-five articles detailing the Lingle case. The articles were then published in a book entitled, Jake Lingle: Or, Chicago on the Spot. The series began on April 5, 1931 and concluded April 29, 1931. Interestingly, “Patsy” Tardi’s arrest and the several days he was held for questioning, was not mentioned in the Boettiger articles. A review of the book by another Tribune writer (below) emphasized that Jake Lingle: Or Chicago on the Spot was not a study of Lingle’s life, but outlining the process of how his killer was found and tried. It didn’t matter if he was “the actual guy.” After the sentencing on Leo Brothers, which was reduced to eight years, Brothers purportedly said, “I can do that standing on my head.” It didn’t matter that there was no evidence presented during the trial of Brothers’ motive.
Chicago Tribune, October 6, 1931
“Jake Lingle,” by John Boettiger. E. P. Dutton. Published today.
The murder of Jake Lingle on June 9, 1930, was, in its effects, the most spectacular gang murder of a long line of gaudy killings. It was the first gang slaughter in Chicago in which the murderer was brought to justice and convicted, and in breaking down that murderer havoc was wrought among gangdom in Chicago, rotten politic was aired at its whiffiest and incidentally through it fugitives from justice as well as public enemies were brought to the bar. Their fears formerly related to probable or actual conduct of their peers instead of that of law and order.
The tracking of the murderer of Jake Lingle and its concomitant mysteries supply one of the most thrilling stories to read.
John Boettiger, the reporter for the The Chicago Tribune who worked intimately with the state’s attorney’s office, in the nation-wide search, who wrote most of the “stories” which appeared in The Tribune during the chase, and whose report of the night of vigilance which resulted in the capture of Leo Brothers is remembered as a classic of thrills and tensity, has set down in Jake Lingle the whole record of the search for the killer.
That record is a thriller de luxe. It is a star reporter’s recording of a “story” that has as many excitements and allures and wrong turnings as maze, with a final incredible long arm of chance to guide the searchers to their goal.
Haven’t you always noticed in murders in actual life that there always is that unexplainable chance—the hand of God many call it—that never could have been predicted. The 200 perfect murders in fiction usually are fool proof, but in life there always is something that would make a mystery story sound incredible to a reader. If anybody had written a mystery tale in which the former secretary of the chief investigator lived in an apartment directly opposite the one in which the murderer was hiding, readers would have said “Poo-pooh, that’s too long an arm for coincidence to have.”
But the capture of the murderer of Jake Lingle was facilitated by that very incredible, but actual fact.
It isn’t an important thing, for the capture would have been made somehow anyway, perhaps with the loss of somebody’s life, but it is the tip-tapping excitement of the chase. I mention it because Mr. Boettiger’s story of that coincidence, and the night of stalking their prey that the manhunters lived through, is the most vivid part of his always vivid record.
Mr. Boettiger reviews the whole situation of the hunt with great care and frankness. He is concerned with the search for the murderer of Jake Lingle, and his capture and conviction, not with the life of the murderer’s victim.
The other newspapers in Chicago, he says, often gave the impression during the trial of Leo Brothers that it was Jake Lingle being tried or The Chicago Tribune rather than the murderer of Jake Lingle. Lingle had been a reporter on The Tribune. Mr. Boettiger does not “try” either Jake Lingle or The Tribune. His book is not a biography of the slain reporter or a picture of his life and work. It is the story of the capture of the slain reporter’s murderer. Since that story involves the story of the powerful gangs of Chicago and their political protection, it is the story of the workings of the underworld, fearlessly and frankly sat down. What it will be to many readers is one of the most exciting mystery records on record.
Clew after clew rises in the book, dashes of investigators from California to New York, from Montreal to Havana, fill the pages with zest, then clews collapse. The author tells the stories of all of them, makes his readers realize how patternless much sleuthing necessarily must be and yet, inn the case of the search for the murderer of Jake Lingle, how much each clew was a piece of the whole pattern of underworld corruption.
Jake Lingle is made up of the material of the “stories” which appeared in The Chicago Tribune under the signature of John Boettiger, but it has been rewritten to fit all of those separate pieces into the complete pattern. It contains, also, some material which was not printed at the time that the stories appeared in The Chicago Tribune, one bit, for instance, about the refusal of Leo Brothers to submit to the tests of the lie detector.
I just realized as I read over that last paragraph that there might be a misunderstanding on the part of the public in my use of the word “stories.” In newspaper language a “story” is not fiction at all, but the statement of fact as set down by a writer. Nothing could be more factual that Mr. Boettiger’s record. No fiction, however, is as strange and exciting as those actual facts.
1In May, 1930, weeks before Jake Lingle’s murder, as part of a federal investigation on tax evasion, Commissioner Russell was interviewed. The report included the following in the March 4, 1931 issue of The Tribune:
- The commissioner of police is merely the creature of the mayor, and may be removed at any time. At the time of your investigator’s visit, May, 1930, William F. Russell, was commissioner. He is an old police officer, having been on the force about thirty-five years. He was by no means a free agent, nor was he the choice of the mayor. He was catapulted into the job at the insistence of The Chicago Tribune. Commissioner Russell frankly admitted this at an interview with the writer May 5.