Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Russell Douglas Matthews

Russell Douglas Matthews
The Understatment of the Year:

Matthews, RD (Russell D.) 92, A WWII, 2nd Marine Division, veteran, who was awarded The Navy Cross and The Purple Heart. RD will be missed by his wife of 40 years, Linda, daughter, Peggy and grandsons.  

(1054) Russell Douglas Matthews was born on July 26, 1920, in Aspermont, Tex. When he was 7, he moved to Dallas. (1522) He served in the Marine Corps from December 1941 to October 1945. (1523)

After leaving the Marines, Matthews returned to Dallas, where he remained until 1958. From July 1958 to January 1959, he resided in Havana, Cuba ; he was also there from the middle of 1959 to November 1959. (1524) Ile returned to Dallas and remained there until January 1971. In the early 1960'x, Matthews resided in Irving, Tex. (1525)

According to FBI reports, Mrs. Donna Sue Helton, a known prostitute, also resided at his Irving address. (1526) FBI reports in 1967 and 1968 list Matthews' address as 4509 Southern Avenue, Dallas. (1527)

In 1971, Matthews moved to Las Vegas and, as of 1978, was residing there. (1528)

(1055) There is very little information regarding Matthews' employment prior to 1958 when he traveled to Cuba. In his deposition, he stated he could not remember the jobs lie had had in Dallas . (1529) Matthews said, "I have been in business by myself most of my life."

(1530) He did not elaborate on this statement except to note that he had never been employed in a club in Dallas. (1531) Later in the deposition, Matthews stated he was in the bail bond business in Dallas before moving to Cuba. (1532)

(1056) Matthews said that he owned two bars in Cuba. One was in the lobby- of the Plaza Hotel, the other on Henio Street; it was called the Sportsman's Club. (1533) He had purchased the Sportsman's Club from a Cuban in 1958.(1534) He acquired the other bar after Castro came to power, in the early part of 1959.(1535) Matthews stated that while in Cuba, he resided "for a while" in the Deauville Hotel. (1536)

In two separate FBI interviews, he stated he worked in the gambling casinos at the Hotel Deauville. (1537)

(1057) After his return from Cuba, the record again is vague regarding his employment. A 1960 11'B1 report states that Matthews was operating a bail bond and loan company on Record Street in Dallas. (1538) On September 22, 1961, the FBI was advised that Matthews was residing in an apartment at 3918 Travis Street . Clayton Fowler owned the apartment house. Matthews was allegedly employed as a bondsman for Fowler . (1539)

(1058) A 1962 FBI report states that during 1960, Matthews was employed as a "bouncer" at the New Orleans Room, owned by Joe Slatin. (1540) The informant believed, however, that Matthews would not actually work in the Orleans Room but had arranged an agreement with Slatin so he could be downtown without being arrested for
vagrancy. (1541) In his deposition, Matthews admitted knowing Slatin. (1542)

(1059) Two 1963 FBI reports state that Matthews was thought to be part owner or manager of the Redman Club in Dallas. (1543)

Another FBI report indicates that Matthews frequented the Redman Club. (1544) The club was reportedly being used by its members and proprietor for gambling activities, specifically high stake poker games. (1545) In his deposition, Matthews indicated he had heard of the Redman Club and described it as a "social club for members only." (1546) He stated, "They might have had some friendly poker games occasionally between the members. It was not a gambling club." (1547) Matthews did not state that he had any interest in this establishment.

(1060) A 1967 FBI report notes that by all indications, Matthews was manager of the Skynight Club in Dallas. (1548) The report states that in 1966, for a short period, Matthews operated the Skynight Club.

In his deposition, Matthews admitted having heard of it . (1549) (1061) After Matthews moved to Las Vegas, he obtained a work permit from the Las Vegas police department on January 26, 1971, to work at the Paddock Racing Sports Club for Johnnie Lane. (1550)

He worked at this club for 31/2 years. (15.51) In 1978, Matthews was employed by Benny Binion at the Horseshoe Club in Las Vegas. (1552)

Treatment by the Warren Commission

(1062) The FBI interviewed both Matthews and his ex-wife, Elizabeth Ann Matthews, nee Elizabeth Ann Hedlund, a Dallas prostitute.

(1553) The Warren Commission conducted no further investigation of Matthews.

Legal Activities

(1069) Matthews' only apparent legitimate vocation and source of income was the management of bars, clubs and restaurants. He also was allegedly involved in the bail bond business. (1570) Based on his numerous arrests, (1571) financial ventures in Cuba and relatively recent move to Las Vegas, Matthews with her ex-husband or of his involvement in criminal activity.

Matthews stated in his deposition that he could not remember exactly when he was divorced, but it was right about the time of the assassination or in the late 1950's (1569) Elizabeth Ann Matthews presumably may have had additional information regarding Matthews' activities in Dallas and Cuba during the 1950's.


Illegal Activities

(1071) Matthews had been actively engaged in criminal activity since the 1940's. He was described in one FBI report as a burglar, armed robber, narcotics pusher and murderer. (1574) Another described him as armed and dangerous, stating that he had been known to carry firearms and to use explosives in the past. (1575) Among other violations,

Matthews was arrested in 1949 in Cleburne, Tex., for burglary ; he was arrested and convicted in 1950 for violating the Federal Narcotics Act ; in 1966 he was arrested in Oklahoma City for possession of a concealed weapon ; and he was arrested in 1967 in Garland, Tex., for bookmaking ; in 1976, he pled guilty in Las Vegas to a violation of the
Wagering Act. (1576)

(1072) Hollis de Lois Green gang.-An FBI report stated that subsequent to World War II in 1948, Matthews joined up with surviving members of the Hollis de Lois Green gang. This gang specialized in burglaries of pharmaceutical houses and large drugstores for narcotics and cash. (1577)

(1073) In 1959, Sheriff Decker reported that past associates of Matthews are "underworld characters" Hollis de Lois Green, Jettie Bass, Nick Cascio, James Robert Todd and Angelo Thomas Casten.

(1578) In his deposition, Matthews admitted knowing James Robert Todd. (1579) He described Todd as an acquaintance from 25 years ago who, to his knowledge, was not involved in gambling activities or safecracking. (1580)

(1074) There is also evidence that Matthews was associated with
Angelo Thomas Casten. (1581) (1075) In a 1963 FBI report, Matthews is included among a group of people considered the higher echelon in Dallas bookmaking.
(1582) A 1964 report states that Matthews was known to have been involved in bookmaking activities in the Dallas area following his management of a private club which catered to small-stake poker games. (1583) Matthews was described by three informants as "a strongarm man for the collection of gambling debts, hired by Dallas bookmakers John Eli Stone and Isadore Max Miller."(1584) The same report(1585) lists three separate groups of bookmakers who could be considered the major operations in the Dallas area. (1586)

One was composed of John Eli Stone, Isadore Max Miller and James Woodrow Stone.(1587) It was reported that on March 9, 1964, John Eli Stone and Matthews left Dallas together, via Delta Airlines, for Las Vegas. (1588) This report also states that Matthews was considered as one of the less significant Dallas bookmakers. (1589) A 1967 FBI report states that Matthews was currently operating a booking operation in Garland, Tex. (1590) Matthews also was arrested several tunes for bookmaking activities. (1591)

(1476) In his deposition, Matthews admitted knowing John Eli Stone for 30 years, but said he had no business dealings with him. (1592) He did not recall taking a trip with Stone from Dallas to Las Vegas. (1593) Matthews did admit knowing Max Miller and
described him as an "old acquaintance ."(1594) Matthews stated he never saw Miller involved in any gambling activities . (1595) A 1973 application for a wiretap listed Isadore Dlax Miller and John Eii Stone, along with R. D. Matthews, as allegedly being involved in illegal gambling activities. (1596)

(1077) A 1964 FBI report states that James Henry Dolan and R. D. Matthews were "notorious hoodlums."(1597) Dolan was described an informant as a strong-arm man who had been employed by Santos Trafficante, Jr., a leading Florida organized crime leader .

(1598) Dolan was also described as a strong-arm man employed by John Eli Stone and Isadore Max Miller to collect gambling debts. 1599) A 1962 FBI report states that Matthews was a Dallas hoodlum who visited Dolan regularly. In his deposition, Matthews admitted knowing Dolan, but said it was only a casual relationship. (1800)

(1078) The FBI files indicate that Matthews had been the subject of investigation by the Dallas FBI office over a period of years, going back to 1963 for possible violation of the antiracketeering statutes and more recently the Federal gambling statutes. (1801)

The record does not make clear whether these investigations led to an arrest or conviction. They probably at least contributed to Matthews' arrest in 1966 for failure to pay for a gambling tax stamp and his guilty plea in 1976 for violation of title 18, U.S .C. section 1084

 (1079) In 1973, an FBI airtel from Dallas reported that an application had been made for an order authorizing a wiretap of Matthews, along with several others. (1803) This application stated that there was probable cause to believe Matthews was involved in illegal gambling business . Again, it was not clear whether the wiretap led to an arrest or conviction, although Matthews was arrested in 1975 and 1976 on gambling charges. (1804)

(1080) On December 13, 1960, Matthews was observed by the Dallas criminal intelligence section. He was seen at the New Orleans Room, 1513 Commerce Street, Dallas, in conversation with its owner and operator, Joe Slatin. This report also states that Matthews was then employed at the New Orleans Room as a "bouncer."
(1805)

(1081) On January 29, 1961, Matthews was arrested on a vagrancy charge at the Parkering Motel in Dallas. The police ascertained that James Robert Todd had been at the motel with Matthews just prior to the arrest. (1806) In March 1960, Matthews was seen in the company of Jack Todd at Fitzgerald's Bar in Dallas. (1807)

Organized Crime Connections

(1082) A 1976 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) report states that in 1946 cr 1947, Joe and Sam Campisi bought the Idle Hour Bar in Dallas and were known to be associated with Joe Civello and Russell Matthews. (1808) This report also states that
Mendosa and Gonzales in Havana. The informant stated that it was apparent Matthews and Lewis were partners or affiliated in the Dallas rackets, and that Matthews had worked a big-time gambling house in Havana. (1625)

(1089) In his deposition, Matthews admitted knowing Sam Paxton and described him as an acquaintance. (1626) He did not know if Paxton was associated with Trafficante.
(1090) In 1978, Matthews was employed by Benny Binion, who operated the Benny Binion Horseshoe Club in Las Vegas. During the late 1930's and the 1940's, Binion had been involved in illegal gambling activities in the Dallas area . He had admitted killing two individuals during this period. (1627) Matthews stated that he had known Binion
for 20 or 25 years, (1628) but that he had never had any business dealings with hire aside from his current employment. (1629)

(1091) Matthews admitted knowing Lewis J. McWillie prior to his trip to Cuba. McWillie had been associated with a club in Dallas prior to going there. In Cuba, McWillie was employed as a pit boss at the Tropicana Casino. In 1978, McWillie was living in Las Vegas.

Matthews originally stated he had never met McWillie in Cuba, but later indicated he might have "just run into him."(1630) He claimed he had not maintained contact with McWillie and had lead no business dealings with him. (1631) (1092) When asked if there had been a crackdown on gambling activities in 1947 in Dallas, Matthews responded I suppose there mig'it have been. I wasn't involved in it so I don't know, but I have heard this, yes, that they had an election and there might have been something going on before that that was no longer allowed. I have heard this, yes. (1632)
(1093) When Matthews was questioned about gambling in Dallas from 1960 to 1963, lie responded that he was not aware of any gambling or drug trafficking in Dallas in that period. (1633) He also stated he was not aware of any gun smuggling or narcotics trade with Cuba or Mexico. (1634)

Relationship With, Ruby

(1094) In interviews of Ruby associates after the Oswald shooting, Matthews was cited as a friend and associate of Ruby. (1635) In an FBI interview, dated December 15, 1963, Matthews stated he had known Ruby for about 12 years and probably met him through Ruby's operation of the Vegas Club. (1636) He characterized Ruby as a "passing acquaintance." (1637) On October 3, 1963, a long-distance telephone call of 13 minutes was made from the Carousel Club to Matthews' ex-wife . (1638) Elizabeth Ann Matthews could not recall receiving the call. (16.19)

(1095) When asked when he first met Ruby, Matthews replied I can't really tell you that. I don't know him that well. I don't really know how to answer that. I can't answer that. I
don't know. How I really met him, I don't know. (1640)

Matthews later guessed that he met Ruby in the late 1950's. (1641) He did not recall ever meeting with Ruby. (1642) He stated, "I knew him to speak to him on the street but. I don't remember ever hating any meetings with him."(1613) When asked what was the nature of his interaction with Ruby, Matthews responded Nothing. He was a man that was well-known around on the streets of Dallas . If you pass by him on the street he's liable
to introduce himself to you, so if I'd pass him I'd say hello. I don't know what else to tell you. (1611)

(1096) Matthews did not recall the names of Ruby's clubs and stated lie could not remember ever being in any club owned by Ruby. (1615) Matthews could not state when he had last seen Ruby. (1616) He maintained he did not see Ruby in Cuba. (16117)
Associates Known by Both, (1097) Matthews admitted being acquainted with James Robert Todd for 25 years. (1618) Todd's phone number was found in Ruby's
automobile. Todd had admitted knowing Ruby for about 10 or 12 years. (16'1,0) Todd was also associated with the de Lois Green Gang.

(1098) A 1958 DEA report suggests that R. D. Matthews and Juanita Phillips (aka Candy Barr) were involved in drug traffickiug.(1650) The report states that Matthews served 2 years for possession of cocaine. (1651) In 1957, Phillips was sentenced to 15 years for
possession of marijuana, and at the time of the report was out on an appeal bond.(1662) Ruby was also associated with Phillips. On November 13, 1963, a call was made from the Carousel Club to Phillips; it lasted 14 minutes.(1653) One FBI report states that in 1956 Ruby had had a girl friend named Candy Barr. (1651.) Another FBI report states that Ruby approached a pilot for the Texas Department of Corrections regarding assistance in obtaining an early parole for Candy Barr. (1655) Matthews admitted knowing Joe Campisi. (1656) Ruby also knew Campisi. On Friday, November 29, 1963, Campisi was advised that Ruby wanted to see him. (1657) Campisi visited Ruby in jail on November 30, 1963.(1658) He stated that his last contact with Ruby had been the Thursday before Thanksgiving, when Ruby came into the Egyptian Lounge. (1650) Matthews also allegedly frequented the Egyptian Lounge. (1660)

(1099) Matthews also admitted knowing McWillie. Ruby, too, was associated with McWillie. In 1959, McWillie had invited Ruby to visit him in Cuba. (1661) Ruby did subsequently visit McWillie in Cuba. (1662)

(1100) Matthews admitted knowing Joe Slatin but did not know if Ruby knew Slatin .(1663) One FBI report states that Slatin may have employed Aatthews as a bouncer in his club .(1661) Ruby had also been associated with Slatin in the formation of the Sovereign Club.( 1665) They, were, in fact, partners in the S & R Corp. during the early part of 1960. (1666)

Other Infonnation

(1101) On June 6, 1964, Earl Manchester, an employee in the Service Department for Braniff Airways, Newark Airport, discovered a letter in a Braniff plane. It was typewritten, dated May 22, 1964, to "Don Jansen" from "S. Martin.” Within the letter, the following passage, attributed solely to a "Texas reporter," appeared in quotations:
For God's sake, don't tell the FBI, but back about February (1963) when I was working for H. L. Hunt, some very prominent Texas men, R. D. Matthews, and I discussed the
possibility of doing away with Cheddie [sic] Jagan or Castro or both. Not by the U.S. Government, you understand, but on a private basis. Hunt said we could have all the cash we needed, the others were in it, too, on a cash basis. We were going to get Castro sometime when he (Castro) went to Mexico. Understand now, we dropped it. R. D. didn't go for it.

Meanwhile, we understood there was a group in Florida with the same idea. Also, the Govermnent knew all about it. (1667)

(1102) Lonnie Hudkins, a reporter for the Houston Post in 1963, allegedly told Shirley Martin, a Warren Report critic, that while he was employed as a public relations man for Hunt Oil Co., Hunt personally approached him about going to Mexico to help kill either Castro or Cheddi Jagan, former Prime Minister of Guyana. (1665) According to Hudkins, the project never went forward because he and two other individuals believed the operation was dangerous. (1669) In 1967, Hudkins revealed the identity of one of the other participants to be R. D. Matthews. (1670)

(1103) In his deposition, Matthews denied being present at any meeting where the possibility of killing Castro was discussed. (1671) He stated he had never heard people discussing the assassination of Castro. (1672) Matthews did admit hearing the name of H. L. Hunt. (1673)

(1104) Deposition taken by the House Select Committee on Assassi

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