The old investigator is bent and frail, and he leans heavily on his walker. But his brain’s still sharp, and it’s full of secrets, a few of which he now wants to tell. “I thought I’d take these secrets to my grave, but I changed my mind,” says Paul Newey, his voice gruff and commanding. “I’m 86 years old now–I don’t have much time left. I want the story out.”
He says he has secrets to tell about mobsters, the first Mayor Daley, and the FBI. And he says he has the key to a 40-year-old mystery that’s emblematic of the strange symbiotic relationship between cops and criminals in Chicago: why Richard Ogilvie–by almost all accounts a saintly figure before and after he became governor–hired a known scoundrel, Richard Cain, to be his chief aide after he became Cook County sheriff in 1962.
“I changed my mind because those sons of bitches should pay for what they did,” Newey says. “They hurt people I loved. They betrayed things I believed in. They wanted me dead.”
His eyes narrow. “If there are people who won’t believe me, I can’t help that. If people want to remain naive, that’s not my concern. I’ve seen it all. Nothing surprises me anymore. Whatever innocence I had, I lost long ago.”
For as long as he can remember, Newey, who grew up in Chicago, wanted to be a fighter in the war against crime. He certainly wasn’t going over to the other side. “My father was a minister and a leader in the Assyrian community here,” hesays. “He was a man of God with a reputation in the community. I didn’t want to do anything to embarrass him.”
Newey wanted most of all to be an FBI agent. “I used to go to bed at night and think, ‘Boy, if I could be a G-man, I’d be flying here and flying there and making cases and locking up the mob.’ I saw this movie years ago–I think it was called ‘G-man.’ It was a propaganda piece. They made them all the time–still do. The FBI’s always been good with propaganda. It worked with me.”
His dream drove him through Lake View High School, Central YMCA College, and John Marshall Law School. “I got my law degree because I thought I needed it to become an agent,” he says. “I had this idea that the degree would make me more attractive to the agency.”
In 1939, when he was 23, he applied to become an agent, passed the entrance exam, and had an interview. But he didn’t get the job. He’s convinced that he was rejected because of his Middle Eastern ancestry and his “ruddy, ethnic-looking complexion.” He says, “We’re a Semitic people. People were conscious of these things in those days. Once when I went out for an interview at this employment agency the interviewer said, ‘I can’t send you on this job–they don’t want Jews or Catholics.’ I said, ‘I’m not a Jew and I’m not Catholic.’ He said, ‘That’s all right. You look like one.’
“It was the same thing at the FBI. J. Edgar Hoover had a certain profile he was selling. My looks and name weren’t part of it. Hoover wasn’t hiring any ethnics–no Jews, no Greeks, no Italians, and no Assyrians. Most of the guys he had work for him were WASPs.” He says that for the first time it occurred to him that, in at least some ways, the system might be rigged.
He took a job as a uniformed Secret Service officer in Washington, D.C. “I was making 100 bucks a month, and I had to send 25 of that to my parents in Chicago,” he says. “Times were rough.”
One year later he thought he had another chance to get a job with the FBI. “I got special information from a very credible source that a certain high-ranking military man was a spy for the Nazis,” he says. “I went to the FBI building, and Hoover interviewed me personally. Afterwards I told Hoover how I had applied for a job and they had turned me down. He said, ‘You have to wait a year before you can apply again.’ I did apply again. I wrote Hoover a personal letter. I reminded him of who I was and how he had interviewed me. But nothing came of it. I realized I was never going to get hired by the FBI, and I went on with my life.”
In 1941 Newey was drafted, though within a few months he got a general discharge because of a gallstone condition. Then he became a narcotics agent in Detroit. “I worked undercover,” he says, “busting dealers and learning all the tricks of the law enforcement trade.” In 1951 he took a job with the CIA, where he stayed for five years. “I worked in counterintelligence. You’ll have to torture me to get the rest–and even that might not work. We take an oath with the CIA not to reveal what we did. I respect that oath.”
By the mid-1950s, he was eager to get back to Chicago. He was now married with three sons, and he wanted to raise his family in his hometown, where they would be close to his aging parents. Then in 1957 he was offered the chance to work as an investigator for the newly elected Cook County state’s attorney, Ben Adamowski. “It was a great opportunity,” he says. “To bust crooks on my home turf–who could ask for more?”
As Newey quickly realized, it was a good time to fight crime in Chicago–there was so much of it. “On the surface,” he says, “it was a docile, law-abiding time.” But underneath, it crackled with brothels, gambling joints, strip clubs, and covert gay bars–most of the action run by the mob or by operators who paid off the mob. “There was all sorts of illegal, subterranean action, and as long as something’s hidden it’s ripe for the hustle. It’s such hypocrisy. You had Catholic cops denouncing abortion–illegal then–as a sin. Then they’d go extract a ‘street tax’ from some doctor who’s running a back-alley abortion mill. You had ‘fruit hustlers.’ Those were con men who extorted payoffs from the gay clubs.”
Turning to the police or politicians for help was of little use. The mob paid many cops to look the other way, even used them as its enforcers. One of the great open secrets of Chicago–first exposed by muckrakers such as Mike Royko and Ovid Demaris–was that each precinct had its own bagmen raking in payoffs from the illegal action. Every now and then the police, reporters in tow, would stage a high-profile raid, but it was all nudge-nudge, wink-wink. After the publicity faded, the action continued as if nothing had ever happened.
Politically, the mob was strongest in the poor Italian, black, and Jewish neighborhoods just west of the Loop. Republican and Democratic legislators, aldermen, and committeemen from those wards made little secret of their mob connections–on the contrary, they were almost a calling card. For instance, Edward Moore, a west-side Republican committeeman and county chairman, and Carl Schroeder, postmaster of the city, were part owners of the Frontier Finance Corporation, which, according to Demaris’s book Captive City, was commonly known to be a juice operation run by mobster Frank “the Horse” Buccieri. Political fixers in the mob, including Murray “the Camel” Humphreys, greased the wheels for inside deals–dishing out bribes to politicians, then telling them how to vote. As former FBI agent William Roemer Jr. writes in his book Roemer: Man Against the Mob, “Humphreys built and maintained contacts with public officials, law enforcement officers, labor leaders, the judiciary, and businessmen who could be influenced or controlled to provide favorable treatment to organized crime.”
Republican state legislators from west-side wards where the mob had the biggest influence, known as the “west-side bloc,” used their clout with the GOP to derail any serious efforts to pass antimob legislation in the statehouse. Democratic legislators, such as First Ward alderman John D’Arco, stifled reforms in the City Council. Reporters openly identified D’Arco as “the mob’s man” in City Hall; Royko writes in Boss, “D’Arco had never bothered to deny that he is a political appendage of the Mafia, probably because he knew that nobody would believe him.”
The mayor, Richard J. Daley, was far more interested in power than fortune, and he wasn’t about to take a bribe or openly consort with gangsters. But he made no strong effort to punish those who did. Instead he ignored the corruption that flourished all around him, sometimes even countenanced it. He allowed D’Arco to sit on the Democratic Party’s key slate-making committee, which oversaw the endorsement of judges; as a result, innumerable judges of that era–who presided over everything from housing court to traffic court to criminal court–were screened by the mob’s man.
When a particularly sensational scandal would burst into the headlines, Daley would act like Captain Renault, the devious inspector in Casablanca. Expressing surprise and outrage, he would simply fire a scapegoat or two.
“And so the culture of corruption flourished,” says Newey. “You had to assume that in any given case there was the chance that the fix was in.”
Pitted against all the corruption were a couple dozen federal and local prosecutors and agents and investigators, who were supposedly immune to political pressure and dedicated only to the war on crime. In reality, many of them were looking to advance their careers by winning headlines–and the fastest way to win a headline was to go after the mob. Back then reporters at the city’s four downtown dailies followed the exploits of mobsters closely, giving them colorful nicknames–the top boss was Tony “Big Tuna” Accardo and his second in command was Sam “Mooney” Giancana–and turning them into cult figures.
“It was all just a giant dance in which everyone–cops, reporters, prosecutors, mobsters–had their role,” says Newey. “We used the press–everyone did. They acted like they were above it all, but they ran with what they were fed. What the hell, so long as it sold papers.”
Into this mix came Newey, and an artful dancer he was. He got along with all the other agents and investigators, including FBI agent William Roemer. Newey wore a pencil-thin mustache, spoke gumshoe lingo, and enveloped himself in the mystique of his years as a spy. He even had a nickname, Chicago Blackie, from his days in narcotics in Detroit. He let reporters know that he was an expert at the “black bag job,” that he knew how to tap phones, interrogate witnesses, tail suspects, and set up off-the-book accounts from which underground operatives were paid. He also let them know he could “mix it up” when he had to. “I grew up on some pretty tough streets,” he would tell them, adding that a lot of his childhood friends were “doing time in the penitentiary.” He said, “I’ve been in my share of fights. I fought it out with switchblade knives and pistols against some pretty tough dope dealers. To fight a hood, you have to think like a hood. You can’t show fear or hesitation. You have to beat them at their own game.”
In Adamowski, Newey found his ideal boss. The recently elected state’s attorney was a peculiar, distinctive type of Chicago politician–the type who, knowingly or not, subscribes to the Groucho Marx maxim that he will join no club that would accept him as a member. Yet unlike so many other local mavericks, who rarely rise above gadfly status, Adamowski wielded real power during his term as state’s attorney.
He’d started out as one of the crown princes in the Democratic machine, with the right pedigree for advancement in Chicago politics. His father, Max Adamowski, was a tavern owner and Democratic alderman. The party gave the young Ben Adamowski a cushy job in the clerk’s office, and in 1931, when he was only 25, he was elected to the statehouse as the representative of a Polish legislative district on the northwest side. In Springfield he quickly earned a reputation as a flashy orator; in their book American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley and His Battle for Chicago and the Nation, Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor call him the “Daniel Webster of the West.”
While he was in the statehouse, Adamowski befriended another young Democratic legislator from Chicago, Richard J. Daley. “Daley liked Ben,” says Newey. “Daley used to tell Ben that he could be governor–all he had to do was go along.”
But Adamowski wasn’t the go-along type. While Daley took the conventional route, building a base of power within the machine, Adamowski cultivated the party’s liberal or reform wing. In 1955 he ran against Daley in the mayoral primary and lost. He then tried to find out whether the Democratic slate-making committee would support him in a run for state’s attorney in the 1956 election. “It was a lost cause,” write Cohen and Taylor. “After his harsh words about the machine in the last election, there was no chance Daley would entrust him with such a sensitive post, which carried with it the power to investigate and prosecute Chicago politicians.”
So Adamowski did the unthinkable. He switched parties and ran for state’s attorney as a Republican. Daley threw the weight of the machine against him, letting payroll precinct workers and union allies know that defeating Adamowski was of the highest importance.
To Daley’s surprise, Adamowski rode President Dwight Eisenhower’s coattails to victory. Suddenly the chief law enforcement officer of Cook County was an enemy of the machine. “Ben came out of the machine, so he knew where the bodies were buried,” says Newey. “He wasn’t going to look the other way, he wasn’t going to play the game. We were going after the bodies.”
His first year in office, Adamowski and Newey–along with ten or so investigators, known as Newey’s Raiders–ran a sting operation on traffic court and wound up indicting three deputy clerks and one bailiff for operating a $500,000-a-year traffic-ticket-fixing racket. “That the court was fixing tickets was the worst-kept secret in Chicago,” write Cohen and Taylor, “but Adamowski’s investigation had the potential to tie the practice directly to the Democratic machine.”
Adamowski built and successfully prosecuted many other cases, but his greatest triumph came in the spring of 1960, when he oversaw the arrest of eight policemen from the Summerdale District who’d been running a robbery ring on the north side. The Summerdale scandal, putrid even by Chicago standards, attracted reporters from all over the world, who noted all the sordid details of crooked cops breaking into stores and hauling off everything from TVs to tires.
The star of the show was Adamowski, with Newey playing the lead supporting role. The papers cast them as incorruptible and fearless, and Adamowski let it be known that he planned not only to run again for reelection, but that he was prepared to run against Daley in 1963.
In the face of this international embarrassment, Daley went into his Captain Renault routine. He acted surprised and promised sweeping changes. He fired the police chief and brought in an out-of-towner, Orlando Wilson, to institute reforms. Daley also promised to have his chief corruption investigator, a lawyer named Irwin Cohen, sniff out any evidence of future wrongdoing by cops or municipal employees.
As Cohen and Taylor put it, “Irwin Cohen was an odd creation.” He’d never shown any interest in doing investigations. “Before taking the job,” they write, “Cohen had distinguished himself by heading up a City Council crime committee that failed to find any link between criminal activity in the city and politics.” Yet in 1956 Daley gave Cohen a staff of eight, a $22,000-a-year salary–then a handsome sum for a public official–and lots of access to the mayor’s office. Cohen answered to no one but the mayor, and he was allowed to reveal information he discovered to no one but the mayor.
By 1959, despite all the power he’d been given, Cohen had uncovered no wrongdoing. “Ben and I were suspicious,” says Newey. “Cohen had all this authority, he had all this access, he was accountable to no one but Daley–the most powerful politician in Chicago. And he had no indictments. Nothing. You had to be blind not to find corruption back then. Or worse, you had to be corrupt yourself. We didn’t trust City Hall. We had heard rumblings that Cohen’s job was really to stifle investigations. Ben called the office ‘Cohen’s Rug Company,’ because his real job was to sweep everything under the rug and make sure nothing happened to embarrass the mayor. We wanted to know whom Cohen was meeting with. Was he meeting with D’Arco, or Murray Humphreys, or other mobsters? We thought he might be tipping things to the mob. At that time we were ready to go deeper after the police department, but we couldn’t do that if the mayor had a guy tipping off the crooked coppers.”
So in the fall of 1959, says Newey, they decided to do “a little spying.”
Newey says that around this time he got a call from Richard Ogilvie, then a promising young lawyer in the federal Justice Department who was prosecuting mob chieftain Tony “Big Tuna” Accardo for income-tax evasion. Ogilvie wanted Adamowski to do him a favor–add two cops to his staff. “Chicago police officers were always getting assigned to different departments of government,” says Newey. “Ogilvie said these were two brilliant officers who were sort of lost on the police department–their talents weren’t being adequately used. He felt that if he could assign them to our office–a Republican-led office–he’d be able to use them whenever he needed them.”
The two officers were Richard Cain and Gerald Shallow, vice-squad cops out of the Gold Coast precinct. “Ogilvie never told me how he had met Cain or Shallow, but he was particularly impressed with Cain,” says Newey. “He said Cain had helped him on the Accardo case. I told Ogilvie, ‘I can’t just hire them right then and now without having first checked them out.'”
Still, Newey wanted to be helpful. Ogilvie was clearly a coming force in Republican politics–a World War II tank-commander hero who’d had reconstructive surgery after getting part of his face blown off by German shrapnel. “I figured if I helped Ogilvie, one day he would help me,” says Newey. “Ben and I were a little lonely then–a couple of Republicans going after politicians in a Democratic town. We figured we needed all the allies we could get. Ogilvie was the sort of Republican I thought we could count on, especially if we helped him. I told Ogilvie there was this one job–a black bag job–I might need them for. I talked it over with Ben. We needed someone to watch Cohen’s office. I said, ‘Let’s try Ogilvie’s guys.'”
Of the two, Cain was the more talkative, a humorous storyteller with a slick, streetwise edge. He claimed his real name was Ricardo Scalzitti and said he’d grown up in a poor Italian neighborhood on the near west side. “He let me know how tough he was–how much he knew about the mob and the underworld,” says Newey. He also let Newey know that he wasn’t just an ordinary cop, that he was a renaissance man of superior intelligence, a bon vivant, a master chef, a raconteur who could speak several languages. He said he could tell that Newey and Adamowski were outstanding law officials for whom it would be an honor to work. He said he shared Newey’s passion for counter-espionage and that he was familiar with black bag operations. “He had a way about him–a way of telling you just what you wanted to hear, but in a subtle way, so that if you weren’t paying attention you wouldn’t realize you were being taken,” says Newey. “He started telling me how he was a crackerjack investigator who was unafraid to go after the mob and I should hire them as soon as possible. I said, ‘I can’t hire you without doing a background check, but I’ll tell you what. If you guys are as good as you say you are, you should go on furlough from the city and do this little undercover assignment.'”
It was odd that Ogilvie would recommend Cain and Shallow, because they’d had several brushes with notoriety. Just a few months earlier, in the spring of 1959, a madam whose brothel they’d busted complained that $32,000 had “disappeared” from her safe while she was in police custody. That same spring a convicted extortionist named Harry Figel had been killed in a gun battle with Cain and Shallow in an alley near the intersection of Clark and Lake. “Figel’s lawyer said his client had been taken by Shallow and Cain from the south side and murdered in the Loop, but a police investigation had cleared them of all charges,” says Newey. “I asked about the Figel case, and they told me that it had all been legitimate. They told me the same story they’d told the press–that Figel was a fruit hustler, and they had set him up on a sting, and he had pulled a gun on them, and they shot him before he could shoot them. Did I believe it? I had my doubts. I had a lot of doubts. In those days, to be a vice cop on Rush Street was to be at the center of a lot of illegal action. He was in a position to take in a lot of illegal payoffs. And Cain was young–not much more than 30–to have such a prominent job. You had to wonder, how did he advance through the department so quickly? I remember one of my investigators, a former city cop who had worked Rush Street, said to me, ‘Chief, are you going to really bring these guys on?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he just raised his eyebrows and went on his way. So I knew something was kinky about these two.”
Newey hired them anyway. “I wanted to see if they really were the hotshots that Ogilvie said they were,” he says. “The fact that Ogilvie recommended them made a big impression–remember, he had a sterling reputation. He said they were clean. He told me–and I will never forget these words for as long as I live–that Cain and Shallow were ‘two of the most honest cops in Chicago.’ So I figured, what the hell–give them a shot.”
With Cain and Shallow aboard, Newey devised a classic spook operation. He gave them a code name to use when they called–“Charlie Owosso,” Owosso, Michigan, being the hometown of Newey’s wife. He also set up a $1,750 account in a bank in Owosso from which Cain and Shallow would draw funds. With that money they were able to rent a room at 64 E. Lake, where they had a view through the transom of everyone who visited Cohen’s office across the hall.
But a couple of days after the operation started, an office worker spotted Cain peeking through the transom and notified Cohen, who had Cain and Shallow arrested. At least that’s the story the newspapers told. Newey suspects that he and Adamowski were set up. “I never believed that story about the office workers spotting Cain,” he says. “I figured Cain was a double agent, playing us against Cohen. He was probably talking to Cohen within hours of talking to me. He tricked me, but I learn from my lessons. After that there surely was no way Ben and I were going to adhere to Ogilvie’s request and put Cain in our office. It was obvious to everyone that Cain was duplicitous–he couldn’t be trusted.”
However the operation had been exposed, Adamowski paid dearly for it. Cohen leaked the story to reporters, who had a field day with the details, including the code name and the bank account. Adamowski took full responsibility and fiercely defended Newey, telling reporters, “Newey has forgotten more than Cohen will ever know if he lives to be 100 about law enforcement.” But he never came up with a convincing explanation for why he’d used two rogue cops to spy on Daley’s chief corruption investigator, and that damaged his credibility just as he was gearing up for his reelection battle.
Adamowski needed every vote he could get in the 1960 election, because Daley was determined to oust him from office. The machine threw everything it had behind his Democratic opponent, Daniel Ward, and the campaign was ferocious, with Adamowski and Ward rhetorically pounding each other. That November, the early returns showed a close race, but after midnight the mob- and machine-controlled west-side wards came in strong for Ward. Adamowski lost by about 26,000 votes.
“Everyone talks about how Daley waited until the last minute to bring out the votes he needed to elect Kennedy and steal the election from Nixon,” says Newey. “But I believe the machine’s real intention was to steal the election from Ben. I’m not the only one who believes this. There’s a historian in Florida, Edmund Kallina, who wrote an article about it. I don’t think Daley was that concerned about Kennedy or Nixon–he could work with any president. But he couldn’t work with Ben. Ben was incorruptible and unafraid. The machine hated him for his independence. We were going after them, and they were determined to bring us down.”
After the election Adamowski charged that Daley had stolen the White House, and Republicans rallied behind him. As Royko writes in Boss, “The Republicans demanded a recheck, which they were legally entitled to, so long as they paid the cost. Daley’s election board soberly announced that it would be glad to conduct a recheck, and it began, one precinct a day. At that pace, they would complete the recheck in twenty years. When they stopped stalling, it became obvious that if they hadn’t stolen the White House, or more likely, Adamowski’s office, it wasn’t because they hadn’t tried.”
A partial recount found that 8,875 paper ballots that had been counted for Ward had actually been cast for Adamowski. According to Kallina’s study, “The State’s Attorney and the President: The Inside Story of the 1960 Presidential Election in Illinois,” the wards with the “most abysmal record for vote counting”–i.e., stealing–were on the west side.
Court hearings dragged on for several weeks as Adamowski brought in witness after witness to describe a multitude of election-day horrors: Democratic precinct captains escorting voters into booths, election judges leaving curtains on booths open so that there was no privacy, election judges premarking ballots for Ward. But it became clear that Nixon wasn’t going to gain enough votes to reverse the outcome of the presidential election. “With nothing to gain for Nixon, the Republicans lost interest, leaving Adamowski with the cost of the recheck–more than six hundred dollars a day,” Royko writes. “He didn’t have the money, so he had to give it up.”
According to Kallina’s projections, a full recount would have gained Adamowski at least 31,000 votes, enough to win the election. “The conclusion is inescapable,” Kallina writes. “Benjamin Adamowski was cheated out of the election.”
Adamowski remained defiant. He opened a private law practice with his son Robert, then announced that he still intended to run against Daley in 1963. But, says Newey, “the machine wasn’t finished with us. It was not only payback time for Summerdale and the spying thing–it was Daley’s chance to bloody Ben before the ’63 election. I remember Ben telling me, ‘Paul, we’ve hurt the big boys, and they’re not going to let us forget it.’ He said, ‘If they could indict us for spitting on the sidewalk they will.’ Oh, they were hot on our asses.”
The harassment started shortly after the recount ended. Adamowski and Newey were investigated by the police department, and they were audited by the IRS. “They went over six years of returns,” says Newey, “but they couldn’t find a thing. Ben even got a refund. We were clean.”
In 1962 Ward hired a special prosecutor, Kevin Gillogly, to launch a special investigation into Adamowski’s role in the Cohen operation. Adamowski and Newey were hauled before a grand jury to testify about the contingency account from which Shallow and Cain had been paid, and they knew any suggestion of wrongdoing opened them up to criminal prosecution. At the start of his testimony Newey asked to speak in “executive session,” without Gillogly present, fearing that Gillogly would stop him from presenting evidence that the special investigation had been trumped up. He also refused to sign an immunity waiver; when Adamowski, who’d testified before him, had signed a waiver, Gillogly had used it to deny him the right to speak in executive session. Gillogly denied Newey’s request, then threw him out of the grand-jury room. He never got another chance to testify.
Gillogly immediately blasted Newey. “By refusing to sign an immunity waiver,” he told reporters, “Mr. Newey has in effect joined the ranks of those hoodlums who plead the Fifth Amendment to keep from being prosecuted. His name can now be added to Tony Accardo, Murray ‘the Camel’ Humphreys, Paul ‘the Waiter’ Ricca, Sam ‘Mooney’ Giancana….I’m not saying it isn’t a man’s constitutional right to plead the Fifth Amendment, but a man who held public office as Newey did should avoid using the same techniques as gangsters and hoodlums.”
Those comments were broadcast on the evening news while Newey and his wife, Viola, were watching. “I couldn’t believe that son of a bitch Gillogly would say that–he knew it was wrong,” says Newey. “I never pleaded the Fifth. I made it clear that I would testify even if my request for executive session was denied. It was a slanderous jab, and my wife took it the hardest. This was a very rough time for my whole family. She’d been getting abusive phone calls telling her, ‘Your husband’s going to get killed.’ We were afraid I’d be sent away to the penitentiary and she’d be alone to raise the four boys.”
The TV broadcast only made things worse. “She asked me, ‘What will our friends think now? Will they think that you actually took the Fifth Amendment? Will they think that you really are like a gangster? Will you ever be able to work for the government again? What will the clergymen and your father now say? Will our family reputation be ruined? Will the kids be ridiculed at school? How can we face our friends when we don’t know what they will be thinking?’ She couldn’t sleep for several days. I took her to the hospital, and a doctor examined her and recommended some tranquilizers. She went back to bed, but I couldn’t reason with her. I couldn’t get her to calm down, to move on, to forget about it. She was nearly incoherent. I called my brother Carl, but she demanded that he leave the house. Finally I called the doctor back, and he had an ambulance sent over. They took my wife to the hospital at five o’clock in the morning. They had to restrain her and give her more medication and eventually give her electric-shock therapy.”
She was in the hospital for over a month before she was released. “The doctors figured Viola had a nervous breakdown, and it took her over six months to recover,” says Newey. “After she came home, she was bedridden for a long time. I hired a woman who came in almost every day to do the housekeeping and cooking.”
In the early months of 1963 Newey filed a libel suit against ABC television for airing Gillogly’s comments, contending his reputation had been damaged. But a year later the case was dismissed when the judge ruled that ABC had the right to air comments about a public figure.
Despite the probes, Adamowski refused to drop out of the ’63 race against Daley. He was clearly on his own, having by this time become a maverick in the Republican Party. The North Shore Republicans–who’d always been reluctant to support someone so fiery, so “ethnic”–backed away, unwilling to anger Daley. “Adamowski’s biggest problem was getting campaign money from the Republican leaders,” writes Royko in Boss. “‘I couldn’t get through at all to the businessmen,’ [says Adamowski]….’Most of my contributions came from small people, tens, and twenties, from people in the neighborhoods.’ It was a strange reversal of the traditional roles–the downtown businessmen sending their checks to the Democrats, while the working class contributed to the Republicans.” Nevertheless, Adamowski ran a strong race, coming as close as any Republican challenger ever did to defeating Daley in his six terms in office, losing by 139,000 votes.
Once Adamowski was defeated, the Republicans treated him “like a pariah,” says Newey. “They wanted to talk tough about going after the machine, but in truth they were afraid. They felt they couldn’t beat Daley, so they weren’t going to do anything to alienate him.”
In 1964 Adamowski ran for his old state’s attorney seat, but the Republicans offered him almost no support. Ogilvie–who’d never offered Adamowski or Newey any help when they were being investigated and had never even spoken up for them–also turned his back. Like most of the party’s other stalwarts, he endorsed a lawyer named John Bickley, who beat Adamowski in the Republican primary.
After that loss, Adamowski concentrated on his private practice. Newey, who’d opened a private-eye agency after the 1960 election, went to work as a lawyer-investigator for him. Adamowski ran for public office only one more time, losing a 1970 race for county assessor. “For better or worse,” says Newey, “our days as public employees were over.”
By contrast, Ogilvie’s career was taking off. In 1959 he’d won his tax-evasion case against Accardo, and no one seemed to care when it was later overturned on appeal. In 1962 Life magazine featured him as one of the “red-hot hundred” in the “Take-Over Generation,” a list of 100 up-and-coming movers and shakers that also included John Updike, Edward Albee, John Lindsay, and Leontyne Price.
That same year Ogilvie ran for Cook County sheriff against Ross Spencer, a former FBI agent. It looked like an uphill battle. The sheriff’s office was a bottom-of-the ballot contest that party chieftains saw as a rich source of patronage–something the Democrats weren’t going to give up without a fight. “When Ogilvie entered the race for sheriff, the conventional thinking had him as a long shot,” writes Taylor Pensoneau in his book Governor Richard Ogilvie: In the Interest of the State. “The Daley machine had carried its candidate for sheriff by a big 320,000-vote margin four years earlier. Most people figured that, for the GOP to win the sheriff’s office or any other Cook County post, a voter revolt of some significance had to occur.”
Ogilvie wasn’t solidly backed by his own party. Republicans from the west-side bloc even opposed him at first, though Ogilvie and his strategists figured their antagonism was as much a blessing as a curse. “Ogilvie was already looked upon as a bona fide good guy by the Chicago press before he got into the sheriff’s race, thanks to his hoodlum-chasing days [with the Justice Department],” writes Pensoneau. “Ogilvie’s standing with Chicago newspapers also was not hurt by the infamous West Side bloc’s opposition to his nomination for sheriff.”
Ogilvie, who lived in Northfield, tapped his corporate and North Shore connections and raised enough money to air television commercials, which in those days were still rare in low-profile county races. The “sales pitch,” writes Pensoneau, “was that the gangster-fighting Ogilvie was cut from the mold of Eliot Ness, the young federal agent who had led the ‘Untouchables’ in a war against the crime empire of Chicagoan Al Capone.”
Ogilvie’s election-day strategy was rather conventional for a Republican county candidate–he hoped to pull enough votes out of the suburbs to beat back Daley’s efforts in the city. But Ogilvie wasn’t content to depend on his suburban base. He made an early alliance with Lou Kasper, the city’s GOP party chairman. “In the months before the election,” Pensoneau writes, “Kasper made sure that ‘my part of Chicago got to know Ogilvie. We had signs all over and organized rallies. I drove him around it seemed like everywhere. We got to be very close friends.'”
Ogilvie also angled for votes in parts of the city few Republicans ever visited, writes Pensoneau: “the polka halls of Bucktown, the living rooms of liberal lakefront independents, the Avondale neighborhood, Rogers Park, the bungalow belt working-class residential sections.”
All the fishing paid off. Every Republican on the county ticket lost in the 1962 election, except Ogilvie. “Out of the nearly 1.9 million votes cast in the sheriff’s race, Ogilvie received 964,001 and Spencer 931,680,” writes Pensoneau. “As expected, Spencer beat Ogilvie in the city of Chicago, 759,869 to 600,515,” though Ogilvie got more votes there than the other Republicans. “Ogilvie’s victory was a huge one, both for himself and for his job-starved party in Cook. It was a significant breakthrough.”
In his first major act in office, Ogilvie made good on his promise to go after the mob, putting together a “special investigations unit”–a team of investigators he called the best crime busters he could find. To head that unit, Ogilvie selected Richard Cain.
Ogilvie wasn’t filling just some ordinary position. He was making Cain the county’s top cop in its war against organized crime. Cain would have at his disposal all the power of the sheriff’s office, including the power to interrogate suspects using lie detector tests. Again eyebrows rose as cops and investigators in the know wondered why Ogilvie thought that of all the potential candidates for such a sensitive position, Cain was the best choice.
After the Cohen operation Cain had disappeared for two years, while his partner Shallow had gone back to the police department. But lots of people hadn’t forgotten Cain’s dubious record: the disappearance of the madam’s money, the Figel killing, his swashbuckling days on the vice squad, even his messy divorce–his first wife had accused him of bigamy.
But Cain was unrepentant about his past. When reporters asked what he’d been up to for two years, he told them he’d been doing top-secret national-security undercover work. No one pressed him very hard. He had an intriguing way of telling a story–he would lower his voice and drop in tantalizing details about Castro, Batista, the Bay of Pigs, the CIA.
As for his days as a cop, he said he had nothing to apologize for. He told reporters, “You get your hands dirty fighting crime–it’s not always a clean operation.” And he said he deserved the job Ogilvie was offering because no cop knew more about the mob. He vowed to be unrelenting in the war on crime.
He was also charming and made it clear the media would find him useful. He understood their need for copy, and he passed out his home phone number, assuring them they could call anytime for inside information–though it would usually be off the record. The media ate it up. If they felt they were being used, they didn’t care.
Cain quickly became a flamboyant figure, providing an endless supply of splashy news as he led reporters on dramatic busts. On January 6, 1964, only a year after he started his job, he led reporters on a particularly sensational raid. A few months earlier the Louis Zahn Drug Company in Melrose Park had been burglarized, and the thieves had made off with about $250,000 worth of sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and amphetamines. The haul was so big that most reporters figured it was a mob job.
“It was headline news for a while, and then it slipped into the back pages,” writes William Roemer in Roemer: Man Against the Mob. “Four months went by. The police were baffled. Then one day each of the four Chicago daily newspapers was called. All the TV stations. They were told to meet Dick Cain at the Caravelle, a motel in Rosemont that had been owned by Giancana some years previously and the site of many of his shack-ups.
“When the press arrived, Cain was waiting for them. ‘Come with me!’ he shouted. Equipped with machine guns, axes, and all kinds of heavy equipment, the group headed into the motel. ‘Stay behind, who knows what we are liable to run into here, keep your cover,’ Cain warned the press. Then, as if realizing he didn’t want them too far behind–his purpose was not to do this thing without great publicity for himself–he added, ‘We’ll protect you, don’t be afraid, we’re in front of you.'”
The strange posse stopped in front of room 31. “Cain blasted it with his ax as his men stood by with machine guns at the ready,” writes Roemer. “Tension! Stress! What will happen now? Down came the door. In rushed Cain and his men. There was a big portion, $43,000 worth of the stolen loot! No culprits, but by God at least somebody had done something about this major theft.”
They’d found less than a fifth of what had been stolen, but the details hardly seemed to matter to reporters as they asserted that the sheriff’s forces had won a key battle in the war against the mob. The Tribune article was accompanied by a photo captioned “Richard Cain, chief investigator for sheriff’s office, carries submachine gun in motel…where he led raid which yielded an estimated $100,000 in stolen drugs.”
Cain let reporters in on how he’d built the case. The Tribune reported that he’d received a tip about the stash from an anonymous source: “He was told that the loot had been taken to a certain room in the Caravelle.” He said he and his investigators had immediately seized the registration card for room 31, which had been signed by a John Matheos of Peoria, and they’d interrogated the motel clerk about Matheos. They put the room under surveillance, and when no one showed up they raided it. Afterward Cain asked the public for information on the whereabouts of Matheos.
The front-page coverage boosted Cain’s prospects for advancement, and Ogilvie took him to the Republican convention that summer to help provide security for GOP nominee Barry Goldwater. Cain had also applied for the top job on the newly formed Illinois Legislative Investigating Commission, writing in a letter, “In the nine months I have been Chief Investigator of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, my organization has conducted 164 raids; arrested a total of 466 persons (for such offenses as gambling, prostitution, narcotics, policy, abortion, etc.); confiscated over $250,000 worth of illegal equipment, almost $100,000 in cash….My personal referrals are: Sheriff Richard B. Ogilvie, State Treasurer William Scott, and United States Senator Everett M. Dirksen.”
While the state was reviewing his application–and apparently getting laudatory calls from Ogilvie and Dirksen–the FBI was getting reports that there was something fishy about the Caravelle raid. Investigators heard that Cain had been relaying “sell-back” offers from the thieves to Zahn only hours after the raid, and when they asked Cain for the registration card to room 31, he told them it had somehow vanished from the evidence room. But the motel clerk had a carbon copy, and a handwriting expert said the signature on the form matched that of John Chaconas, Cain’s chief deputy. The clerk also identified Chaconas as the man who’d rented room 31.
On September 25 a grand jury indicted Cain and three assistants, including Chaconas, charging them with perjury and obstruction of justice. No one ever found out whether Cain had been in on the original robbery, but obviously he was connected to the thieves who were.
Cain was convicted on the perjury charges in December, at which point Ogilvie finally fired him. While his case was on appeal–it was later overturned on the grounds that the judge had given inadequate instructions to the jury–he openly consorted with Sam Giancana. The FBI tailed the two through the mid-60s as they traveled around the world, visiting Mexico, Iran, the Bahamas, Brazil, Haiti, France, Italy, and England. Roemer writes that Cain and Giancana were planning to set up a gambling operation in Cuernavaca, where they bought a large estate. “It was just what they were looking for–very high wall, more expensive cactus gardens, swimming pool, iron gates–a virtual castle,” he writes. “Giancana and Cain loved their new digs. This was the life! Golf and swim during the day; a nap in the late afternoon; out for dinner; and then ‘bumming,’ as they called it, into the nightclubs of Cuernavaca and Mexico City.”
Meanwhile, back in Chicago, federal prosecutors were building other cases against Cain. They’d discovered that while working for Ogilvie, he’d hauled suspected thieves into custody and hooked them up to lie detectors, then asked them what they knew about various mob crimes and high-ranking mobsters. If they snitched, they were punished–not by the sheriff but by the mob. Evidently, the whole time Cain was working for Ogilvie he was also ferreting out information for the mob and helping it police its ranks.
By 1967 the feds had enough evidence to indict Cain in connection with a Franklin Park bank robbery case involving a snitch. According to newspaper accounts, an underworld source had told the FBI who’d robbed the bank, and the mob wanted to know who the source was. So Cain had rounded up three “suspects” and given them a lie detector test–using equipment owned by the sheriff’s office. Of the two mobsters who failed the test, one, Guy “Lover Boy” Mendola, was killed by five shotgun blasts in the garage of his Stone Park home. The mutilated body of the other, Angelo Boscarino, was found stuffed in a plastic laundry bag and dumped in a gutter on the southwest side. “Cain knew of the robbery and conspired to hinder and prevent apprehension of the robbers,” read the indictment. He also “gave relief, comfort and assistance to the bandits.”
In 1968 Cain flew in from Mexico to stand trial before Judge Julius Hoffman, who would later earn infamy presiding over the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial. Cain pleaded poverty and won the right to represent himself. By most accounts, he did a fairly good job, blasting federal prosecutors as publicity-hungry politicians who exploited liars and crooks to make a name for themselves. In a delicious piece of irony, he began his final argument by adapting lines from Sir Walter Scott’s “Marmion”: “Oh, what a tangled web they weave, when first they practice to deceive.”
The jury found Cain guilty on all charges. At the sentencing Judge Hoffman called Cain “too dangerous to be released on bond.” As Cain was led away in handcuffs Hoffman added, “You are a threat to the life and property of all citizens of this country.”
Roemer writes that he suspected Cain had been tied to the mob before joining the police department in the mid-50s. “Before Cain could become recognized as a hood he was given a most unusual assignment,” he writes. “The job: infiltrate law enforcement, join the enemy camp, and be a spy. He was supposed to join the guys they hated the most and get up as high as he could in their ranks. Cain’s was a reverse undercover assignment–‘sting’ the cops.” Michael Cain–Richard’s half brother, who’s looking for a publisher for a book he just finished on Richard, “The Tangled Web”–is sure his brother was in the mob before he became a cop. He says that Richard answered directly to Giancana and that Giancana was the one who originally suggested he join the police department and then move up the governmental power structure.
If they’re right, Richard Cain’s mob clout explains his surprisingly rapid rise through the ranks to become a vice-squad cop on Rush Street at an early age. At that time, Roemer writes, Cain was “the guy who carried the ‘satchel’…the mob’s payoff man”–the cop who distributed the illegal take to the other crooked cops on the force. Michael Cain too believes his brother was Giancana’s bagman; he also believes his brother hired mob guys to work for him when he was in Ogilvie’s office.
Cain served his time in a federal penitentiary in Texas and was released in 1971. For two years he wandered around town, an almost pathetic shadow of his old self, feebly trying to play all sides against one another, feeding information to reporters, snitching to the FBI–he met regularly with Roemer–and working with the mob. His old partner Gerald Shallow would later confess that he and Cain even carried out a mob contract murder. On December 20, 1973, the years of deceit finally caught up with him. He was meeting a friend for lunch at Rose’s Sandwich Shop, at 1117 W. Grand, when two masked men burst in and lined the patrons up against the wall. One of them pulled Cain out of the line, put a shotgun to his head, and pulled the trigger.
“Cain a mystery to dead end,” read the headline in the Daily News the day after his murder. The two masked men were never identified. But one of the biggest mysteries was why Ogilvie had ever hired him.
It was obviously not a subject Ogilvie wanted to discuss. Cain’s presence in the sheriff’s office, not to mention his prominence in the GOP, had proved a major embarrassment to all Republicans. When asked directly why he’d hired Cain, Ogilvie shrugged off the question, saying that it had been a relatively meaningless appointment and that they’d had only a working relationship.
Ogilvie admitted that he’d known Cain was involved in some shady deals on the vice squad–he could hardly deny it, given the media coverage. He also admitted that many people–FBI agents, reporters, and cops–had advised him not to hire Cain. But he said he’d thought he could control Cain.
Ogilvie said he’d cut all ties to Cain after the Caravelle raid was exposed. “I haven’t seen Cain since I fired him three years ago,” he told reporters in 1967 after Cain was indicted in connection with the bank robbery. “That’s my reaction. I have no other comment.”
His explanations satisfied most reporters, and Ogilvie’s career never suffered because of Cain. On the contrary, after his one term as sheriff, Ogilvie was lionized as a fearless force for good. “Few officeholders at any level got more boffo reviews than Sheriff Ogilvie,” Pensoneau writes in his biography. “To believe the raves that seemed to come from every direction, one might have thought that Ogilvie walked on water.” Pensoneau cites Ogilvie’s many accomplishments as sheriff, including “roughly 1,800 vice raids,” and notes that “in the view of the Chicago Crime Commission, Ogilvie’s performance produced the ‘greatest four years’ in the history of the sheriff’s office.”
Riding a wave of good press for his performance as sheriff, Ogilvie was elected president of the Cook County Board in 1966. A year later the American called him an “image breaker” who helped smash Chicago’s “distasteful world-wide reputation” for lawlessness. Ogilvie had chased “the crooks out of the sheriff’s office” and run “the gangsters ragged.”
In 1968 Ogilvie was elected governor, defeating Sam Shapiro, the Democratic incumbent. When Shapiro tried to raise the Cain issue, Ogilvie’s supporters in the media attacked him for being petty. The Tribune turned on any candidate who dared question Ogilvie’s integrity. “Ogilvie hadn’t much wanted Cain in the first place,” stated one particularly glowing 1969 Tribune profile that went on to offer an explanation Ogilvie had never made publicly: “He had first interviewed several other lawmen for the job, but they all wanted $12,000 a year, and Ogilvie couldn’t afford them. Cain had been asking only $7,000. So Ogilvie hired Cain, and the Democrats ever since have been heaving the unsavory carcass of the crooked copper on his doorstep.” That strategy had failed, the article concluded, “because of the inherent impossibility of imposing criminal connections to a man of such obvious courage, rectitude, and candor.”
In 1972 Ogilvie lost his bid for reelection, but his defeat had nothing to do with Cain–voters had turned on him because he’d pushed through the state’s first income tax. As he left office, the media praised him as a martyr who’d paid the ultimate political price for doing the right thing and saving the state from bankruptcy. “The best man in Illinois government,” wrote Royko in his Daily News column, “maybe the best governor in the country, didn’t make it.”
Ogilvie returned to private practice and occasionally served on various civic committees. In 1988, when he was 65, he died of a heart attack. “This city, and this state,” the Tribune editorialized, “will be much stronger if a new generation of leaders picks Richard Ogilvie as a role model.” Governor James Thompson ordered flags on state buildings to fly at half mast and said, “Dick Ogilvie’s contributions to the state of Illinois will be long remembered.” In all of the obituaries there was no mention of Cain.
By the time Ogilvie died, Newey had long since left the spotlight. He’d worked for Adamowski, joined a few law enforcement associations, gone to Shriners meetings, and helped raise his children. He bought the three-flat across the street from his Lincoln Park apartment and rented it out for income. He says most of his neighbors knew him only as a pleasant conversationalist. “People hear I used to work for the CIA or that I investigated city scandals and corruption, and they want to know all the secrets,” he says. “I tell them, ‘I’ve got tons of secrets–you’d be amazed at things I know. But that’s why they’re secrets. I’ll never talk.'”
In 1982 Adamowski, then 75, died of cancer. “It was a terrible year for me,” says Newey. “Ben died. My wife died of cancer. My secretary, Grace Culter–a lovely woman and a good friend–went to Paris on a vacation she’d been dreaming about taking for years. She was killed in a terrorist attack–a bomb planted in a restaurant. It’s senseless. There’s no explanation for the randomness of it all. That’s three deaths in one year. A terrible year. I’ll never forget it.”
Newey went on working for a few years. “I had a loose association with a lawyer who did personal injury work, but I had lost a lot of my energy,” he says. “After a while, it’s hard to keep going. I continued until about 1986. Then I moved out of the Loop and brought everything home. I had a great career. I made a contribution. I fought the fight. It was time to let the next generation take over.”
Over the next decade his health deteriorated. He had open-heart surgery–a quadruple bypass–an aneurysm in his stomach, pernicious anemia. To get around the house he had to use a walker. Outside he zipped about on a motorized cart.
He spent a lot of his time sorting through his files and writing letters to his old friends. “I went to a lot of retirement parties and funerals,” he says. When Roemer wrote his fourth book, Accardo: The Genuine Godfather, Newey sent him a congratulatory card, reminding him that they’d once worked together. Roemer responded with a gift copy inscribed: “To Paul Newey–with the respect of all in law enforcement for all you accomplished in your career! Congratulations! Good luck in your current endeavors. Stay in touch. Keep punchin’ and keep the faith! Your friend, Bill Roemer.” Newey set the book on the growing piles of magazines, clippings, photos, books, and files that were taking over his apartment. “It was nice to get Roemer’s inscription,” he says, “nice to know how my brothers in the law thought of me.”
In the late 1980s he asked the FBI for all the files they had on him. “I was just curious,” he says. “I really wasn’t looking for anything specific.” The FBI had him fill out a Freedom of Information Act request and eventually sent him a packet that included several newspaper clippings and interoffice FBI documents. “The clippings were stories about me or my investigations that had appeared in the Chicago papers,” he says. “The FBI document was a copy of what looked to be the transcript of a wiretapped conversation. Unfortunately, it was practically useless, because so much had been blotted out by FBI censors. It didn’t say who was talking, and you really couldn’t understand what they were talking about.”
But in between the blacked-out sections, the censor had left a few tantalizing bits of dialogue. “NEWEY’s got those two guys…..they’re all set up,” reads one of the largest bits. “They’re watching…..We had telephoned that there would be two guys watching for NEWEY, but he was under the impression that these two guys, he was under the impression that we were getting information from”–the rest is blacked out. After a few more inches of blacked-out dialogue, there’s “I don’t need this, I said, I’m only doing this for you, and the administration. But I want to (obscene) NEWEY. I said, we gotta (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) sakes.”
Another unidentified speaker interjects, “Gonna what?”
“We’ll kill him in the (obscene) joint, but he’s so hot at NEWEY, oh, wonderful.”
“Don’t get your (obscene) in a bind and get caught.”
At the bottom of the page someone had typed, “This conversation deals with the feud going on between Mayor DALEY’s office and the State’s Attorney’s Office over the recent police-burglar scandal exposed by the State’s Attorney’s Office. State’s Attorney BENJAMIN ADAMOWSKI and PAUL NEWEY have recently made statements that IRWIN COHEN is a $22,500 a year do-nothing investigator for the Mayor’s Office, and they have brought a lot of heat to bear on Cohen.” A line of text is blacked out, and then the paragraph concludes, “it appears that a scheme is in the making to harm or make trouble for PAUL NEWEY and/or NEWEY’S men.”
Newey didn’t know what to make of the transcript. “There wasn’t enough to go on,” he says. “With all the mark outs, it was like trying to piece together fragments of a conversation that you might hear in between a lot of noise. I needed some sort of clue to break the code. It almost made me laugh. What were they trying to hide? What could I not know about myself? Ultimately, I just put it away in one of my files.”
That might have been the end of the story, except that Newey decided he wanted to write a book about Cain. “His life was like a Hollywood picture,” he says. “I figured there would be some interest in his story.”
In the mid-1990s he began working with John O’Brien and Ed Baumann, two retired Tribune crime reporters. “We handed out assignments,” says Newey. “I do the investigating. O’Brien does the bird-dogging–the interviewing. And Baumann does the writing.”
Newey wrote the FBI, making a FOIA request for all the files they had on Cain. But for three years the FBI kept him hanging, as his request bounced from one desk in the agency to another. “The FBI was stonewalling–they wouldn’t give me what I wanted,” he says. “I tried everything. I even got ahold of Congressman Henry Hyde, who I knew from years ago when he was a lawyer in Chicago. I said, ‘Henry, you have to give me a hand. They’re giving me a helluva time.’ Henry wrote the FBI, but I still got the same old crap. They never offered an explanation. They just kept saying they were backlogged in FOIA requests.”
Then in 1998 he got a letter from the National Archives. Cain’s FBI files had been kept with the files on the assassination of President Kennedy, and Congress had ordered the FBI to send all of its Kennedy-assassination files to the National Archives. “The people at the archives were going through all the requests for information in those files,” says Newey. “I guess they finally got around to my request about Cain.”
Newey sent his youngest son, Arthur, and a lawyer friend, Philip Mullenix, to Washington. “I paid their airfare and put them up in a hotel and bought them meals,” he says. “I covered all the copying fees. The whole thing must have cost me a couple of grand. While they were going through the documents–thousands of documents–on Cain, they caught one that related to me. Arthur called and said, ‘Dad, we found this memo–you’ve got to see it.’ I never thought I’d be surprised by anything anymore. But this one really shocked me–this one knocked me out.”
The memo, written by William Roemer to Hoover and dated April 28, 1960, was headed “Activities of top hoodlums in the Chicago area.” Roemer opened with a reference to Newey’s operation using Cain and Shallow to spy on Cohen, then he reminded Hoover of another memo he’d sent two months earlier that featured a transcript of a secretly taped conversation between three mobsters–Murray “the Camel” Humphreys, Frank Ferraro, and Alderman John D’Arco.
“During that conversation D’Arco advised Humphreys and Ferraro that he had been in contact the night before with Irwin Cohen and that Cohen was aware that ‘Newey’s got these two guys [Cain and Shallow],'” Roemer wrote. “They then discussed the fact that at least one of these individuals was a double agent working for Cohen and that ‘Newey thinks he’s got him.’ D’Arco also mentioned, ‘in fact, I’m giving him a key. He’s meeting with Newey tonight and their [sic] gonna go to my office and we’re waiting for them.’ 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 gotta (obscene) this Newey. He said now I’ll do anything. Can’t you get him to get the guys to get him to go up to the office? I said, ‘they’ll kill him for (obscene) sakes. We’ll kill him in the (obscene) joint, he’s so hot at Newey, oh, wonderful.'”
Newey realized that he had the key to the blacked-out sections of the transcript the FBI had sent him a decade earlier. He now understood that the speaker was D’Arco, that D’Arco was telling Ferraro and Humphreys how Cain had tipped him to Newey’s investigation of Cohen, that D’Arco had then tipped the immensely grateful Cohen–and that D’Arco was talking about having Newey killed as a favor to Cohen and Mayor Daley’s administration. He says, “They were going to use Shallow or Cain–probably Cain, because he was the one who acted closer to me–to lure me into a trap.”
At first Newey felt a surge of satisfaction–he and Adamowski had been right about Cohen. He’d been much worse than a nincompoop who swept bad news under the rug. The FBI had clearly identified him–a man who supposedly answered only to Mayor Daley–as an agent of the mob.
It was an astonishing revelation. “Imagine what would have happened had this information been made public back then–right on the heels of Summerdale,” says Newey. How would Daley have wriggled out of this scandal? The man Daley had installed to root out corruption had been plotting with mobsters and an alderman in Daley’s City Council to kill the state’s attorney’s chief investigator in an attempt to thwart an investigation of corruption in Daley’s administration. “My God, it could have changed the course of Chicago history,” says Newey. “It might have been enough to bring Daley down.”
Questions raced through his head. “I knew Cohen was scheming with D’Arco and the mob,” he says. “What I didn’t know was, how far in the City Hall hierarchy did the scheming reach? Maybe Daley ordered the hit on me? Or maybe Daley called it off? Or maybe Daley didn’t know anything about it at all. I’ll never know.”
The answers to those questions aren’t in the FBI files Newey has, though perhaps they’re buried beneath the black ink, or maybe they’re in files he hasn’t seen. Newey wonders why the FBI won’t give him the complete transcripts. Whom or what is the agency protecting? After all, more than 40 years have passed since D’Arco’s conversation with Humphreys and Ferraro, and almost all of the relevant players are dead.
Newey wasn’t surprised to learn that Cain had double-crossed him or that D’Arco had tipped off Cohen. “It doesn’t even surprise me that D’Arco, an alderman and Democratic committeeman, would plot with Cain, a city cop, to kill me,” he says. “The city’s corrupt–it’s rotten to the core. I understand all that.”
But he still seethes with rage at the FBI’s inaction. “They knew about the plot against me,” he says. “They had it on tape. They wrote it up in memos they sent to the top–J. Edgar Hoover knew about it, for goodness sakes! And they didn’t tell me! No one told me. I thought we were blood brothers in the war on crime. Boy, was I stupid. Boy, was I wrong. I never suspected–I never even dreamed something like this could happen. Those sons of bitches were stringing me along. Here I was helping them out all the time, everywhere I could. Think about what Bill Roemer wrote in that inscription–‘Stay in touch,’ ‘Your friend.’ Yeah, sure. There was a contract to have their friend murdered, and those sons of bitches never let me know.”
In a quest for an explanation, he sent copies of Roemer’s memo to FBI agents he’d met over the years, asking them to comment on its revelations. “Roemer had died in 1996, so obviously I couldn’t ask him,” he says. “But I asked everyone else.”
Most of the agents expressed ignorance, and Newey believes they were telling the truth. “One agent doesn’t always know what another agent’s doing–so much of this stuff is related only on a needs-to-know basis,” he says. “That way a lot of people are kept in the dark. Some of the agents only learned about the crap the agency was up to after they had retired. One agent E-mailed me and said, ‘The low-level field agents had little or no idea about the wheels within the wheels in the bureau.’ Another agent basically said, ‘Ah, don’t believe everything you read in an FBI report. Roemer has a tendency to let his imagination run away from reality and take license to put his own spin on what they found out through electronic surveillance.’ Well, if they thought like that, why the hell did they keep Roemer on the job for so long?”
Perhaps the most revealing observation came in an otherwise cheery Christmas greeting from an agent who was still working for the FBI. “Never let us forget that dead agents make good negative object lessons for future instruction at the FBI academy,” he wrote. “In your case, they might have hoped nothing would happen to you, but, if it did, the veracity of their source was established and they had another serious crime they could solve, too!”
Newey believes that agent came closest to the truth. “I fear the worst,” he says. “I fear that they were willing to have me–a high-ranking investigator–killed so they could then reap the glory of tracking down the murderers. In other words, they were going to use the coverage of my murder to win headlines for themselves.”
Newey realized that the memo had other implications–clearly the FBI had been well aware at the time that a top official in the Daley administration was tied to the mob, but there was no evidence that the feds had done anything about it. Later he would find out that Michael Cain had read numerous other FBI memos detailing more mob ties, including a memo that showed the FBI knew Cain was tainted when he was working with Ogilvie on the Tony “Big Tuna” Accardo case in the 50s. Newey wondered if FBI officials were refusing to give him his uncensored files because they were trying to protect Hoover, trying to keep the public from seeing the raw evidence of his treachery and deceit. After all, here was a case where Hoover apparently kept silent in the face of monumental municipal treason.
All the revelations ate at Newey. “When I first read the memo I might have figured my anger would fade,” he says. “But something like that never fades.” He began to brood about old slights and insults, to pick at old wounds he’d thought had healed. He wasn’t just angry at the FBI, which he felt had betrayed him and every honest public official 40 years earlier and was still betraying him by refusing to give him his complete files. He felt as though he and Adamowski had been two flies trapped in a giant web spun by many spiders. He flashed back to the years following the Summerdale scandal, remembering how Daley and his machine had hounded them, how Ogilvie and other Republicans had deserted them. He wept over the memory of his wife’s breakdown. He concluded that, in a way, the mob, the machine, the Republicans, and the FBI had conspired to thwart more than a few of his and Adamowski’s investigations. And they’d wiped out Adamowski’s career. “Ben died unappreciated in this town–he’s never been recognized for the contributions and sacrifices he made,” he says. “Ben and I had paid a big price.”
He wanted revenge, and he wanted to vindicate his old friend. He decided to break the code of silence–he no longer believed he owed the FBI or the state’s attorney’s office or the city government anything. He would tell not only his and Adamowski’s side of the story and how the FBI had betrayed him. He would reveal a secret he hadn’t learned until the year Ogilvie was elected governor–why he’d hired Cain.
Newey says that in the spring of 1968, when Ogilvie was campaigning against Sam Shapiro, he got a call from a retired Chicago police lieutenant named Charlie Fitzgerald. “Charlie was a good friend, a fellow Shriner–we were members of the same lodge,” says Newey. “He said, ‘Paul, we have to meet for lunch. I’ve got some people who want to meet you.’ He picked a place in Chinatown.”
When Fitzgerald arrived he was accompanied by two FBI agents, Lenny Wolf and Frank Ford. “They said they had inside information about Ogilvie and Cain,” says Newey. They told him that they knew why Ogilvie had hired Cain after he was elected sheriff. “They said there had been a meeting on Halloween night at the Frontier Finance Company just a few days before the 1962 sheriff’s election. Then they told me what had happened. It was hot information, very incriminating. The sort of stuff that could change the governor’s election if it came out.
“I asked them, how do they know about this meeting? They said they had an informant–someone who had been in that room. I said, can I meet the informant? They were reluctant. They said they couldn’t do anything to compromise his confidentiality. His identity had to remain a secret or there would be retaliation.”
Adamowski was in Europe on vacation, so Newey met with Adamowski’s son Robert. He also talked with other friends and finally decided to go to the press. “We chose the Sun-Times,” he says. “It was much more of an independent paper in those days–the Tribune and the American were in Ogilvie’s corner. They would never go for something like this.”
Newey says he called Emmett Dedmon, the editor of the Sun-Times. “I told Dedmon the story’s bare outline. He said, ‘I’ll send [crime reporter] Art Petacque with you to meet this informant. If Art thinks it’s a credible story, we’ll see what we can do.’
“So I called Charlie, who called Lenny Wolf–that’s always how we did it. And then Charlie called me back and said, ‘Here’s the deal. The reporter can meet the informant. But the informant won’t reveal his identity, and you can’t say the information comes from the FBI. The reporter can hear you take the informant’s affidavit, asking a list of questions that we have written. And the reporter can’t be Petacque.’
“I had to laugh about that one. See, Art Petacque’s father was a police captain, and Art was streetwise–he thinks like a cop. The FBI probably figured that Art would figure a way to put a tail on the informant and find out his identity. I said, ‘Any other reporter?’ The FBI said, ‘Yeah, Ray Brennan.’ Now Brennan was a helluva a reporter and an honest guy, so that was fine with me and Dedmon.”
Newey says he set up the meeting as though it were an undercover operation. He rented a room in a motel at Lake Shore Drive and Chicago Avenue. He took a portable typewriter, checked into the room, then called the FBI and told them where to bring the informant. “Wolf and Charlie Fitzgerald dropped off the informant and a list of questions I could ask him,” he says. “Then they left–they didn’t want Brennan to see them. I waited a while, and then I called Brennan and told him where we were. When he got there I started the affidavit.
“I asked the FBI’s questions and typed the informant’s answers. It started off simple. ‘Where do you live?’ ‘Chicago.’ ‘What’s your name?’ He gave me some Italian name that I thought was made-up–he didn’t look Italian. Then I asked, ‘Are you familiar with a meeting that took place on October the 30th, 1962–Halloween night–at the Frontier Finance Company?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I am.’ ‘Were you there at the time?’ ‘Yes, I was there.’ ‘Who else was there?’ ‘Well, John D’Arco, Eddie Moore, Murray Humphreys, Frank Buccieri, Carl Schroeder, Richard Ogilvie, and Richard Cain.’ I asked, ‘What was the discussion between this group of people?’ And he said, ‘The discussion was whether or not they were going to support Ogilvie for sheriff against Ross Spencer.’ I asked, ‘What did their support involve?’ He said, ‘It involved Ogilvie making a covenant or agreement that he would do three things if they were going to back him. The first thing was that he, Cain, would become the chief investigator. The second thing was that after Ogilvie completed his four-year term he would see to it that he would use his influence to get Cain the party’s nod for sheriff. And the third thing is that Ogilvie would use his connections with the party to keep Ben Adamowski as far under wraps as he could–to bury him politically so he would never succeed as a candidate for office.’
“Then I asked, ‘Is this a true story to the best of your knowledge?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ The funny thing is that Brennan was a good reporter–he kept wanting to horn in and ask his own questions. I said, ‘Ray, you promised–no questions.’
“The informant left the room. We gave him at least 20 minutes to get out before I left with Brennan. Of course that’s where our operation was vulnerable–because Brennan could have had a guy go with him to the hotel, then hang around and watch to see who left the room. Petacque might have tried something like that.”
The Sun-Times never ran the story. “I called Brennan a few days later and said, ‘What’s happening?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ That was it. I can’t press stuff with a paper. If they tell me they’re not going to do it, that’s it. I can’t say that I blame them really. We were asking them to go out on a limb. Brennan kept telling me, ‘How can we publish this if we don’t know who the informant is?’ I kept telling them, ‘If I told you the informant’s name it would be signing his death warrant.’ Now, if the FBI had been willing to come out of the shadows–if they had been willing to identify the guy as an FBI informant–well, it would have been different. The Sun-Times probably would have run the story if they knew the FBI was the source.”
Newey says he told Sam Shapiro of the accusation. “I told Shapiro that he could use my name,” he says. “I said I’ll even take a polygraph test as to whether the story I’m telling is true. Then Ogilvie can take a polygraph test to see if it’s not true. But Shapiro didn’t want to use it without the informant’s name or the FBI’s role.
“I won’t lie to you. I was determined to get the story out. I hated Ogilvie by then. I thought he was the world’s biggest hypocrite. He had served us up to the wolves to further his career. I thought about all the hell Ben and I and my wife went through. So yeah, I was bitter–you betcha I wanted that story out. But the best I got out of it was a comment Shapiro made in his debate with Ogilvie, something about having information that might reflect on his opponent’s integrity. He didn’t want people to forget Ogilvie had hired Cain, but he wasn’t ready to tell the whole story.”
It looked as though Newey had run out of options, but just a few days before the election he got a phone call from Edward Hanrahan, the Democratic candidate for Cook County state’s attorney. “Hanrahan must have talked to Shapiro, because he said he wanted to meet the informant,” says Newey. “He said, ‘Paul, if you do this for me, I won’t forget it. If you think Ben has a long memory, try mine.’ I guess that was supposed to be the carrot.”
Like Shapiro and Dedmon, Hanrahan had doubts. He insisted on meeting and questioning the informant himself. Newey went to Fitzgerald, who went to Wolf, who called FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. Apparently the FBI wanted the Ogilvie story publicized, because they agreed to let Hanrahan interrogate the informant.
Two days before the election Newey picked up Hanrahan. “I took him out to this office out on Higgins Road near Rosemont,” he says. “It was no big deal–just a desk and a few chairs. When we walked in Lenny and Charlie were already there, along with the informant.
“Right away Hanrahan recognized Lenny. He’d known Lenny for years. Right then he knew the FBI was involved. They greeted each other, and then Lenny sat back and Hanrahan took over. I have to tell you, Ed was a helluva cross-examiner. He worked on that informant for over an hour. Who are you? How do you know this stuff?”
The informant told the story of how he’d come to be at the meeting between Ogilvie and the mobsters. “He said he was just a small-time carpenter who got into trouble because one of his kids had leukemia. He was up to his head in debt trying to pay all the medical bills, so what did he do? He did what hundreds of other poor saps have had to do when they’re tapped. He went to the mob–he went to the Frontier Finance Company–and they gave him a loan. Only the interest was so high he would never catch up. He had to work off the debt. He had become the mob’s private carpenter–slave labor, if you will, blood labor. Well, he could see he would never pay it off. As soon as he finished one job, they had him do another. That’s why he went to the FBI. And you know something? There really wasn’t much they could do for him either.
“He repeated the same story he had told me and Brennan about Ogilvie’s deal with the mob. Hanrahan really zeroed in on him. ‘How do you know about the deal?’ ”Cause I was there.’ ‘Where?’ ‘In the room.’ ‘You were in the room while they cut this deal?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘What were you doing there?’ ‘Carpentry work.’ ‘They let you stay there?’ ‘Yeah.’
“Of course, that was their mistake. The mob’s not infallible. Why do you think so many of them end up going to jail? Something always trips them up–usually it’s their own arrogance. In this case, they got so used to having him around that they just didn’t see him after a while. He was like the waiter who brings them their coffee. He was invisible. God, it was a sad story. He almost had us crying.
“Hanrahan didn’t say much on the car ride back. I kept asking, ‘Ed, what do you think?’ I wanted him to say, what a bunch of prostitutes these politicians are. He kept saying, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’ He wouldn’t commit himself one way or another. He wouldn’t say it sounds like a true story or it’s a credible witness. He just said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’
“Of course you know what happened to Hanrahan. He got elected state’s attorney, and a year later he got his tit in a wringer with the Black Panther raid [in which state’s attorney police killed Fred Hampton and Mark Clark]. When Hanrahan ran for office, he promised to go after the mob. Once in office, he went after the Panthers. I guess it’s safer to be tough on the Black Panthers, because they’re black. You can get your headlines beating up on them and look like you’re tough on crime. But if you’re tough on the mob, if you go after the real power, there could be consequences.
“Anyway, Hanrahan let it go. He never took the story to the press. The election came and went. Ogilvie won. He got to be governor. And the story remained a secret.”
For the last couple of years Newey has been looking for evidence to prove his story is true. It’s a daunting task, because many of the people involved are dead–Dedmon, Brennan, Fitzgerald, Ford, D’Arco, Cohen. Others are incapacitated–Lenny Wolf has severe Alzheimer’s. And Newey never knew the real name of the mysterious informant. He wrote a long personal letter to Hanrahan, but Hanrahan never wrote back (he didn’t return phone calls for this story either).
Newey says he’s lost the most significant piece of evidence he ever had–his copy of the informant’s affidavit he’d typed up for Brennan in the motel room. “I just can’t find it, and I’ve looked everywhere,” he says. “I never thought I’d need it.”
Some people who knew Ogilvie and Cain are skeptical about the informant’s story. They don’t accuse Newey of fabricating it, but they refuse to believe that Ogilvie was corrupt. “I never heard of any rumor that Ogilvie was compromised,” writes columnist Jack Mabley in a recent E-mail. “I was a lot closer to Ogilvie than I was to Cain, and he was incorruptible as well as being smart.”
Art Petacque, who’s now retired, says he doesn’t believe Ogilvie made a deal with the mob. And he doesn’t believe his old editor, Dedmon, would have allowed Newey or any source to have him removed from a story.
Another person who doubts the informant’s story is William Witsman, who once worked with Cain, helping him spy on Cohen, give lie detector tests to mob suspects, and raid the Caravelle motel, though he says he was unaware of Cain’s mob connections. “Ogilvie was legitimate–he was square,” he says. “A lot of people may have told Ogilvie not to hire Cain, but Ogilvie probably figured he could handle him. I think when the Zahn deal went down, Ogilvie realized he had been wrong to hire him.”
Michael Cain also finds it hard to believe that Ogilvie was corrupt. Asked how Ogilvie could not have known about Richard Cain’s mob ties, he says, “I’ve struggled with that for years. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I’d have to say yes, he was naive. But look at Ogilvie’s record. Dick Cain is the only blemish.”
But Cain’s daughter, Karla Cain, says she thinks the story is true. “Think about this,” she says. “My father was chief investigator for Sheriff Ogilvie. Everyone told Ogilvie not to hire him. Everyone knew my father was dirty. But Ogilvie hired him anyway. You know something’s wrong with that right there.” She adds, “I never talked to my father about Ogilvie, but we talked about politics all the time. My father had no belief in the integrity of the political system. He thought politics was a joke. He knew what went on behind closed doors. He knew that whoever wound up on top was the one who made the best deal.”
Ben Adamowski’s son Robert also believes the story. “I remember the day Paul came to my house back in 1968 to tell me about Cain and Ogilvie,” he says. “We went into the backyard and sat at a picnic table, and he told me how Ogilvie had sold his soul to the mob in return for their support. My reaction was not one of great surprise. I had no illusions about Ogilvie. My reaction was, what can we do to get this story out? He kept me posted on all the details. I followed Paul’s efforts as he went to the Sun-Times and Shapiro and Hanrahan. But of course no one would touch it. It was too hot.”
Asked if Newey could have made the story up, Adamowski says, “No–that’s absurd. I will tell you this about Paul. I worked with him for years. I know him very well. He’s not a liar. He tells the truth. If he said something happened, it happened.”
Of course it is true that Ogilvie didn’t win in the city in the ’62 election. But then, what the mob’s west-side vote stealers didn’t do could have made the difference in a heated election. Clearly they didn’t crank up the machinery as they did against, say, Adamowski in 1960, a race where Kallina found enough evidence of vote stealing to conclude that Adamowski was the “chief target” of massive fraud. But maybe they just didn’t get in the way. Ogilvie did win a few more votes in the key west-side wards–the 1st, 24th, 27th, 28th, and 29th–than any other local Republican running for office in 1962, which is surprising given that for a while the west-side bloc supposedly opposed him. In D’Arco’s First Ward, for instance, Ogilvie drew 4,544 votes, or around 23 percent of the total vote, while Walter McCarron, the Republican candidate for county assessor–someone the mob would have no reason to worry about–got 4,325. All told, Ogilvie won 19 percent of the vote out of the west-side wards.
And of course it’s possible that Ogilvie succeeded despite the best efforts of the mob. Perhaps he was one of those rare Republicans who are so popular they can win votes even in the west-side wards. After all, he did campaign in areas where few Republicans ever dared to go.
“I’ll tell you where Ogilvie went,” says Newey. “He went into the back room of the Frontier Finance Company and made a deal with mobsters. That’s what put him over the top. The machine and the mob–they know how to go after you if they want to beat you. Look at what they did to Ben. They gave Ogilvie a pass.”
Still, there is another possibility. Perhaps everything happened as Newey says it did–except that the informant was lying. He might have been an impostor playing a role in an elaborate dirty trick devised by Hoover to tar Ogilvie. “I know Hoover was capable of that,” says Newey. “He used a lot of dirty tricks on the communists and civil rights leaders, like Martin Luther King. But I don’t think that’s what happened here. I don’t think Hoover would go that far with Ogilvie. He had a different style for politicians. He was a master extortionist. He would dig up dirt on politicians and let them know through one of his intermediaries, very surreptitiously, that he had the goods on them. That’s how he stayed in power and got what he wanted. To tell you the truth, I think he was playing the same game with Daley. Hoover probably let Daley know that he knew all about D’Arco’s meeting with Cohen. It was just another dirty secret he kept in the file to keep Daley in line. What the hell? He never knew when he might need Daley for something.”
Newey believes that the informant was telling the truth–and that when Hoover decided he wanted the story out, he used Newey to get it out. “I believe Hoover was acting out of his own paranoid sense of self-preservation,” Newey says. “At the time there was talk that Ogilvie was after Hoover’s job–that he was in line to become head of the FBI after President Nixon took office. Hoover was an egomaniac. He couldn’t stand to be eclipsed. So yes, Hoover was using me to blemish Ogilvie, and yes, I was willing to be used because I hated what Ogilvie had done to me and Ben. I don’t know why anyone should be surprised by any of this. What’s to be shocked about? This is politics. It’s a dirty game. Some of my Republican friends like to pretend that all the corruption’s in the other party, but it’s not like that. Ben used to tell me, ‘Paul, all the devils aren’t in one party, and all the angels aren’t in the other. I know because I’ve been in both.’ I know from my own experiences that we aren’t living in a democracy. We live in an oligarchy, and there are guys behind the scenes who are pulling the strings. Most people don’t know it, or they don’t want to know it. They just want to go on with their lives.”
The office in Newey’s apartment looks as though it hasn’t changed in years. An American flag hangs behind his big oak desk. On the walls are plaques and honors he’s won, as well as framed photographs of famous politicians he knew. “There are the Raiders,” he says, pointing to a large framed photograph of his top aides in the state’s attorney’s office, each of them wearing a helmet that says Newey’s Raiders.
There’s also a photo of Mayor Richard M. Daley, his old adversary’s son. “Oh, I made up with the old Mayor Daley–and so did Ben,” he says. “We were at a luncheon for the John Marshall Law School sometime in the 70s, and Mayor Daley was the featured speaker. I don’t know what got into me, but I had this idea. I said, ‘Ben, please sign the program for me.’ Then I took the program and walked over to Daley and said, ‘Mr. Mayor, Ben would like to exchange autographs with you. He would like your autograph for his grandson.’ Daley was surprised. He laughed, and he autographed the program. Later in his speech he made reference to Ben–he called him ‘my old friend Ben Adamowski.’
“After that we all made up. He put Ben on the library board–Ben always liked books. The last time I saw Mayor Daley was when we happened to bump into each other at the Chicago Bar Association building. He said, ‘Paul, I’m going to make you a judge.’ I think he would have, but he died soon after that. I think he felt a little guilty for what he put me and Ben through. Or maybe he was just being a good politician–Daley always said he believed in building by addition, not subtraction. I guess he figured there was a place in his machine for people like me and Ben–and John D’Arco. Ah, I don’t get mad at Daley anymore. When I was younger I used to think in shades of black and white–you were good or evil. But I’ve mellowed. The Persians have a philosophy about their rug making–‘Only God can make something perfect.’ If there are no flaws in the rug, they make a small one. Maybe that’s my problem. I thought that I could make people perfect. Only God can create perfection.”
Newey might even have made up with Cain if he’d had the chance. “I really don’t have anything against Cain,” he says. “He double-crossed me. But that’s the way it goes in counterespionage. There’s a dirty little secret about investigative work–you don’t fight corruption with angels. It’s a gamble. You never know for sure whether you’re going to end up on the short end of the stick. You never know if the stooge you hire might turn around and blow your head off. That’s the chance you take if you want to make a case. You can’t make a case by sending out Sunday-school teachers, that’s for sure. Of course there’s a big difference between using a guy like Cain on an undercover operation and putting him on the public payroll as your chief investigator.”
Newey chuckles. “The last time I saw Cain he was still up to his old tricks. This was way back in the early 60s, right before Ogilvie hired him. I accidentally ran into him on LaSalle Street. He said he’d been down in Mexico doing work for the Mexican government–he said he was running polygraph tests on their governmental employees to see if they had communist leanings. Who knows if it’s true? With Cain, you’ll never know. The man was positively pathological. In the final analysis, Cain is insignificant, at least in relation to me. I’m fascinated by him, sure. But I don’t feel particularly betrayed by Cain. He was a hoodlum, a liar, and a thug–what the hell did I expect?
“It’s the FBI I despise. Not the agents, but Hoover. He was an extortionist and a bully, and the fact that they named the FBI headquarters in Washington after him is a disgrace.”
He shakes his head. “You know, Hoover missed the boat with me. He should have made me an agent in the first place, then I wouldn’t be talking like this. He probably would have psyched me out and brainwashed me into believing he was the conscience of America, like he did to so many other agents.”
And Ogilvie? “I don’t know if I’ll ever forgive Ogilvie,” he says. “I didn’t expect anything from Daley–we were fighting him. But Ogilvie was supposed to be on our side. Yet he was willing to screw us up for his benefit. He let me and Ben hang during those years when they were trying to put me in the penitentiary and my wife–my poor wife–was in the hospital. God, I miss my wife. We were married for 39 years. I think about her every day.”
He pauses. “What the hell. I’ll be 87 on July fourth. I’ve outlived a lot of people I loved, and a lot of people I didn’t love. Fortunately, I’ve outlived a lot of the guys who talked about whacking me. I still don’t know why they didn’t kill me. Karla [Cain] likes to say her father wouldn’t let them, but I think she’s just trying to be nice to her old man’s memory. Karla says I remind her of her father. I always say, to catch a criminal you have to think like a criminal. You know, it’s a thin line between the criminals and the cops.”
He smiles. “Well, anyway, that’s my story. If you don’t believe me, what can I say? I have no reason to make any of this up. I’m just an old man living out the dance.”
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Jon Randolph/AP-Wide World Photos.