Monday, January 14, 2013

Analysis of Jack Ruby's 1963 Telephone Records



(794)  During the Warren Commission's investigation, counsels Burr W. Griffin
and Leon D. Hubert had recommended in a memorandum that steps be taken to obtain
and preserve a large number of telephone records involving Jack Ruby and
numerous associates.(820) Specifically, they asked that the FBI be instructed to
secure the records and that Commission Chairman Earl Warren address a letter to
the various telephone companies to assure that the records not be destroyed.

(821) While the Warren Commission and the FBI did obtain some of the records, an
extensive effort to collect them was not carried out. Griffin stated that
Commission general counsel J. Lee Rankin vetoed their full request because the
effort would have been too burdensome and was too far-reaching.
(795)  The Commission and the FBI failed to analyze systematically and to
develop the data in those records which were obtained.(822)
*Prepared by Howard Shapiro, research attorney, and Michael Ewing, staff

In a subsequent memorandum, Griffin and Hubert advised that they were in need of
further assistance in evaluating the records, saying that they would need the
services of additional personnel to undertake a competent analysis. (823) It was
suggested by Rankin at one point that Chief Justice Warren's security guard
might be able to devote some time to the project. (824) In the end, the actual
analysis contemplated by Griffin and Hubert was never fully conducted because of
limited time and resources.

                           REVIEW BY THE COMMITTEE

(796)  The  committee  obtained  the  records  acquired  by  the Warren
Commission, as well as others from various sources, including the FBI, former
New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, and the telephone company (A. T. &
T.). These records encompassed a broad range of persons both known and unknown
to Jack Ruby (but speculatively associated with him), as well as individuals
associated with Lee Harvey Oswald, and others. Among the records acquired and
reviewed by the committee were those of:

    Ruby and his brothers and sisters; Associates of Ruby, such as Lawrence Meyers, Alexander Gruber, and Lewis J. McWillie; Individuals called by Ruby in 1963, such as Barney Baker and Frank Goldstein; The companies which in 1963 employed Baker (Chicago Loop Auto Refinishing Co.) and Myers (Ero Manufacturing Co.); J.D. Tippit, the Dallas policeman slain by Lee Harvey Oswald after the President's assassination;  Bruce and Karen Carlin (Mrs. Carlin worked for Jack Ruby under the stage name of Little Lynn); Carlos Marcello, an important organized crime figure; David Ferrie, an individual linked with both Marcello and Lee Harvey Oswald; Robert Maheu, Sam Giancana and John Roselli, individuals involved in CIA plots to assassinate Fidel Castro in the early 1960's; and "Dutz" Murret, the uncle of Lee Harvey Oswald.

(797)  This list is only partial, and in many instances the records obtained
included phone calls for only a portion of the 1963 period. In some instances,
the committee's requests for telephone records could not be accommodated. The
committee also had access to and used fragmented telephone numbers and numbers
whose subscribers were unknown.


(798)  With the  aid of the Legislative and Committee  Systems Division  of the
House  Information  Systems,  the  committee developed a computer project that
facilitated the organization of the telephone records and contacts so as to
allow detailed analysis and comparison. An Amdahl 470 V-5 computer, with backup
provided by two IBM 370-158 central processing units operating under the OS/MVS
system, were used. After an appropriate format was chosen for the output,
various programs were run. The most important


provided master alphabetical and master chronological listings of all calls in
the data base. Extracts from these programs which focused on smaller groups of
individuals were also requested and provided. Committee staff members then
reviewed these outputs in an attempt to find patterns and frequencies of calls
and matching telephone numbers.

(799)  While investigative breakthroughs did not occur, certain telephone
contacts caused the committee to conduct further field and file investigations.
The major area of interest in the project was the 1963 telephone calls of Jack
Ruby and his alleged contacts and associations with organized crime figures.
(800)  A chronological consolidation of the telephone calls made by Ruby from
the five separate business and home telephones he used uncovered a significant
increase in the number of calls made in October and November 1963. The average
number lept from around 25 to 35 in the months of May through September to
approximately 75 in October and approximately 96 during the first 3 1/2 weeks of
November. (825) In an effort to determine possible reasons for this significant
increase in calls during the months immediately preceding the assassination, the
committee closely evaluated Ruby's activities during that period. It looked at
whom Ruby was calling and who was calling him, why he was in contact with those
people, whether he had had previous contact with them, and what the significance
of such contacts was.

Nature of the calls

(801)  The majority of Jack Ruby's 1963 calls can be categorized and described
as follows:
(802)  A large number were made to Ralph P.aul, Ruby's closest friend (826) and
a part owner of Ruby's nightclub, the Carousel. (827) These were placed either
to Paul's home or to his place of business, the Bull-Pen Restaurant in Fort
Worth, Tex. Their frequency increased in the months and weeks preceding the
assassination to the point where five or more calls between Ruby and Paul on a
particular day were not unusual. The majority of the calls were of short
duration. According to Paul:
       Well, every day he would find something else he would like to do--he     
would think of doing, or the union didn't do right by him, the AGVA, or the
girls didn't do right--that's why he called me almost every day.(828)

Social calls to other friends by Ruby appeared to be few.

(803)  Calls were also made on a regular basis to members of Ruby's family.
particularly Earl Ruby, a brother living in Detroit, and relatives living in
Chicago: Hymen Rubinstein (brother), Mrs. Marion Carroll (sister), and Mrs.
Eileen Kaminsky (sister).

(804)  Numerous calls were made to inquire about and secure acts and performers
for Ruby's nightclub. These were to theatrical agencies and other nightclubs and
lounges around the country, as well as to specific individuals, including Harold
Tannenbaum, a New Orleans club operator who negotiated with Ruby concerning the
services of Janet Conforto, a stripper who used the stage name of Jada. Ruby
called other strippers and performers directly, including Juanita


Phillips (Candy Barr), Karen Bennett Carlin (Little Lynn), Nancy Powell, Gloria
Merrifield (Smokey Turner),(829) Bill Demar, and Buddy Heard. The number of
calls in this category increased as the year progressed, due in part to the end
of Jada's engagement at the Carousel, which left a void and necessitated the
hiring of new acts. (805)  An increasing number of calls were made in an attempt
to resolve Ruby's dispute with the American Guild of Variety Artists
(AGVA).(830) The monthly upsurge in these union-related calls corresponds to a
significant degree with the upsurge in all of Ruby's 1963 calls. (831) Ruby's
calls may be diagramed as follows:

                        Jack Ruby - Toll Calls - 1963


                         Summary of Telephone Calls
(806)  Calls to Richard Walker concerning abortion information. (832)
(807)  Several calls to Plastelite Engineering, in Fort Worth, to discuss Ruby's
marketing scheme involving exercise twistboards, and to Mar-Din, a company based
in Chicago. (833)

Analysis of the calls

(808)  It was not possible to explain adequately all of Ruby's telephone
contacts. Although explanations have been given, questions and speculation about
his associates and contacts remain. For example, there was a 3-minute call to
Clarence Rector of Sulphur Springs, Tex., on April 10, 1963. Rector told the FBI
he had known Ruby since 1950, and that in 1960 Ruby had mentioned that he had
been to Cuba in an attempt to obtain some gambling concessions with some
associates.(834) Rector had also made a visit to Cuba in late 1959.(835) The FBI
did not question Rector about the April telephone call, and the committee was
unable to locate him.

(809)  Another unexplained call was to Elizabeth Anne Matthews of Shreveport,
La., on October 3, 1963, at 11:03 p.m. It lasted 13 minutes.


Matthews was the former wife of Russell D. Matthews, an acquaintance of Jack
Ruby(836) and an individual known to be connected with gambling and other
criminal enterprises in Dallas. (837) In his deposition to the committee, R.D.
Matthews said he had no knowledge of this call (838) or of any connection
between Ruby and Matthews' ex-wife. Elizabeth Anne Matthews was not located by
the committee, but she had told the FBI on December 1, 1962, that she had no
recollection of any calls from Dallas on or about October 3, 1965. (839) (810)
Other ostensibly explained but still suspicious calls included number of
possibilities. A brief account of these calls and individuals, in chronological
order, follows.

(811)  LEWIS J. McWillie.--Between June and August 1963, Ruby placed seven long
distance calls to McWillie, one of his closest friends. He spoke at length of
this friendship during his Warren Commission testimony, stating at one point
that he idolized McWillie.(840) In 1959, Ruby had visited him in Havana,
Cuba,(841) where McWillie was working in a syndicate-controlled casino. FBI
records established that McWillie at least knew Santos Trafficante, (842) the
powerful Florida Mafia leader who played a role in the assassination
conspiracies against Fidel Castro.(843) McWillie denied anything more than
passing acquaintance with him. (844).

(812)  Ruby's phone calls to McWillie occurred on June 27, September 2 (two
calls), September 4, September 19, September 20, and September 22. The first two
were placed to McWillie's home number, the remainder to McWillie's place of
business, the Thunderbird Casino in Las Vegas. McWillie stated that the purpose
of these calls was Ruby's desire for assistance in solving his labor dispute
with AGVA. (845) (813)  Irwin S. Weiner.--On October 26, 1963, Jack Ruby place
long distance call to Weiner in Chicago; he spoke with him for 12 minutes.
Though the Warren Commission had been aware of this telephone call, it had never
sought to have Weiner questioned, nor did it explore his background and

(814)  Weiner was a prominent underworld bondsman(846) who was closely
associated with such men as James R. Hoffa, (847) Sam Giancana(848) and Paul and
Allen Dorfman.(849) According to Federal and State law enforcement files, Weiner
had served as a key functionary in the relationship between the Chicago Mafia
and various corrupt union officials,(850) particularly while Hoffa was president
of the Teamsters Union. As recently as April 1978, Weiner had been described in
a Jack Anderson column as "the underworld's major financial figure in the

(815)  In the days following the assassination of President Kennedy, the FBI
sought to question Weiner about the call he had received Ruby. A November 28,
1963, teletype states that Weiner refused to respond to questioning by FBI
agents in Chicago and declined to assist the investigation in any way.(851)
(816)  In executive session testimony before the committee, Weiner stated that.
Ruby's call to him involved possible assistance in his labor dispute.(852)
Weiner further testified that he had lied to a reporter when he stated in a
taped interview earlier in 1978 that Ruby's call had had nothing to do with
Ruby's labor problems. (853) Weiner also testified that he had refused to submit
to FBI questioning about Ruby in the weeks following the assassination because
he believed Bureau agents had harassed his daughter by implying that he might
have had some connection with the assassination. (854)


(817) Nofio Pecora.--Telephone records indicated that at 9:13 p.m. on October
30, 1963, Jack Ruby placed all-minute call to the Tropical Court Tourist Park, a
trailer park in New Orleans, La. The number called by Ruby, CH2-5431, was listed
as the business office of the Tropical Court. In a partial compilation of
various long distance telephone numbers called by Ruby which had been
transmitted to the Warren Commission by the FBI in early 1964, a notation
indicated that the Ruby call to the Tropical Court went to N.J. Pecora. (855)
The Commission, however, did not interview or investigate Pecora and made no
reference to him in its report.

(818)  Nofio J. Pecora, alias Joseph O. Pecoraro, was the owner of the Tropical
Court Tourist Park. He ran the business from a oneman office located on the
premises. (856) It had been this office that Ruby called on October 30. Pecora,
a former heroin smuggler,(857) was an associate of Carlos Marcello,(858) the New
Orleans Mafia leader. The FBI, Justice Department, and Metropolitan Crime
Commission of New Orleans identified Pecora as one of Carlos Marcello's
associates,(859) with various members of the Pecora family being in contact with
Marcello's family.(860) The committee's computer telephone project noted, for
example, that Marcello placed a call to Nofio Pecora on June 24, 1963, at the
same trailer office number that Ruby had called 4 months later.

(819)  Earlier in 1978, when the committee investigators questioned Pecora about
the October 30, 1963, telephone can, he declined to respond. In September 1978,
however, he finally agreed to answer questions by the committee. He stated that
he did not recall receiving any telephone call from Jack Ruby and did not in
fact know Ruby or have any knowledge of him.(861) Pecora believed that he was
probably the only person who had access to his Tropical Court telephone in 1963,
but that he might well have taken  a telephone message for someone else who lived 
at the trailer park.(862) He suggested his interview that Ruby might have called his office 
on October 30 in an attempt to locate some other party,(863) but stated he did not believe he
ever took a message from Ruby.

(820)  The evidence indicates that Ruby did in fact have an associate who lived
at the Tropical Court Tourist Park at that time-Harold Tannenbaum, a New Orleans
nightclub manager. He had run several Bourbon Street clubs affiliated with
Marcclio interests. In his committee interview, Pecora admitted that he was
acquainted with Tannenbaum and that they were neighbors in the trailer court.
(864) He was not aware that Tannenbaum was a friend of Ruby.(865) (821)  Harold
Tannenbaum had met Ruby in the summer of 1963 and had discussed going into
business with him. The computer telephone project established that Ruby and
Tannenbaum were in regular contact by telephone from June until October 1963.
The committee also found that 1 hour after the l-minute call from Ruby's office
to Pecora's office, Tannenbaum himself placed a call to Ruby. This sequence
could thus be interpreted as consistent with what Pecora suggested- that Ruby
called his trailer court office simply to relay a message to another party.
Nevertheless, Pecora did not recall relaying any long-distance telephone message
from Ruby to Tannenbaum or anyone else in the trailer park. (866)

(822)  Barney Baker.--On November 7, 1963, Jack Ruby received a collect call
from Robert G. (Barney) Baker of Chicago which lasted 17 minutes. Baker was an
associate of James R. Hoffa. (867) A former


boxer and ex-convict, (868) he was one of Hoffa's best known assistants during
the McClellan committee investigation in the late 1950's. (869) This
investigation, coordinated by chief counsel Robert F. Kennedy, had detailed
Baker's role as Hoffa's personal liaison to various Mafia figures, as well as to
a number of well-known syndicate executioners.(870) In 1960, Robert Kennedy
wrote that "sometimes the mere threat of his [Baker's] presence in a room was
enough to silence the men who would otherwise have opposed Hoffa's reign."(871)
(823)  Baker was questioned by the FBI in Chicago on January 3, 1964. He stated
that Ruby was a complete stranger to him until the very day he spoke with him,
November 7, 1963. (872) Ruy had called him earlier that day, and, in his
absence, Baker's wife had taken a message instructing him to call Ruby's
nightclub in Dallas. (873) This call did not appear in the telephone records
gathered by the committee.)  Baker told the FBI that Ruby had not used his real
name, but had instead instructed him to call back and ask for "Lou," which he
did.(874) This was the reason Baker gave for placing a collect call to Ruby''s
number. Baker told the FBI that the purpose of Ruby's call was to seek
assistance in the labor dispute Ruby was having with his nightclub competitors
in Dallas. (875)

(824)  Dusty Miller.--On November 8, 1963, the day after Ruby had received a
call from Baker, he placed a call to Murray W. (Dusty) Miller at the Eden Roc
Hotel in Miami, Fla., a call lasting 4 minutes. Dusty Miller was another
assistant of Hoffa and head of the southern conference of the union. As such, he
was regarded as a possible successor to Hoffa.(876) Miller was also said to be
associated with numerous underworld figures. (877)

(825)  In a 1978 interview with the committee, Miller stated that he had had no
contact with Jack Ruby before the November 8, 1963, telephone call, during which
Ruby had asked for assistance in his labor problems.(878) Ruby had stated
something to the effect that "Barney Baker gave me your number and told me that
maybe you could help me out." Miller, upon hearing the reference to Baker,
quickly ended the conversation, as Miller viewed Barney Baker as a man with
questionable associations, and he did not wish to be involved in any dealing
that Baker himself might be involved in. (879) (826)  Miller told the committee
that he had assumed from the substance of his conversation with Ruby that Ruby
and Baker were friends.(880) He was surprised that Baker had given his telephone
number to Ruby, though he never discussed the incident with Baker. (881) Miller
stated that he had no further knowledge of Jack Ruby, nor had he ever been
contacted again by Ruby. (882)

(827)  Barney Baker.--Telephone records indicate that on November 8, 1963, at   
5:22 p.m., Jack Ruby placed another call to Barney Baker in Chicago. This
occurred 31 minutes after the Ruby-Miller call and lasted for 14 minutes.
(828)  Baker said that he terminated the November 7 call by "firmly declining to
offer any assistance" in Ruby's labor difficulties.(883) In his 1964 FBI
interview and 1978 committee deposition, Baker made no mention of the fact that
Ruby had called him back on November 8 and indicated that he had had no further
contact with Ruby. (884)

(829) Lenny Patrick.--In her Warren Commission testimony, Eva  Grant, Jack
Ruby's sister, stated that Ruby had called Lenny Patrick in Chicago sometime
during the summer of 1963. (885) Grant said that


Ruby had had some difficulty in locating Patrick's number, but, finally
found it and called him. (886)
(830)  The committee was not able to locate a call to Patrick in the
telephone records that it possessed, although the possibility of Ruby's
using a telephone not included in these records cannot be discounted.
Furmet, Patrick stated during a 1978 deposition that he did not believe
that Ruby had called him in 1963, although he did admit he was acquainted with
Ruby when they were both much younger and living in Chicago  (887) Lenny Patrick
was one of the Chicago Mafia's leading assassins and was responsible, according
to Federal and State law enforcement files, for the murders of over a dozen
victims of the mob.

(888) In later years, Patrick was to become a lieutenant of Chicago leader Sam
Giancana. (889)

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