Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression

Machine Politics, Organized Crime, and Reform

COURT CASES

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State Criminal Cases

No. 30129 - Missouri vs. Oscar Rowe
Rowe is found guilty of giving corn whiskey to Arch Duncan as part of a larger scheme to deprive Democratic voters from voting in the 1928 presidential election.

No. 34750 - Missouri vs. John Gadwood
Gadwood is found guilty of murdering Lee Flacy on March 27, 1934 "during a city election in Kansas City at a restaurant located at 5824 Swope Parkway".

No. 35302 - State Ex Rel. County Of Jackson, State Of Missouri, Et Al. vs. Marion D. Waltner
The case details allegations that the Pendergast Machine organized mass voter fraud in part to approve local bonds.

No. 36717 - Missouri vs. Waller W. Graves
Graves is found guilty of purposefully neglecting his duties in prosecuting individuals in Jackson County openly engaging in corruption and vice.

Federal Criminal Cases

No. 8420 - U.S. vs. Manny Akers, A. W. Jarman, and Jewell Hartman
The defendants are charged with attempting to influence the selection of a jury for the case of United States vs. Frank DeMayo, alias "Chee Chee" DeMayo and Robert Carnahan.

No. 8460 - U.S. vs. Frank "Chee Chee" DeMayo
No. 8461 - U.S. vs. Frank "Chee Chee" DeMayo

DeMayo is charged with possession of a Liberty Bond worth $5000 that had been stolen from the mail, "with intent to convert the same to his own use."

No. 10839 - U.S. vs. Joe Pasano, Frank Mulloy, Ralph Rosenberg, William A. Cacy, John Lazia, et al.
The defendants, all suspected of being affiliated with the Kansas City Mafia, are charged with the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcohol in violation of the National Prohibition Act.

No. 12028 - U.S. vs. John Lazia
Lazia is charged with tax evasion for the year 1929. He was suspected to be affiliated with the Kansas City Mafia and the Pendergast Machine.

No. 12126 - U.S. vs. Walter H. McGee, Wendell Johnson, Clarence Stevens, L. R. Gilbert, et al.
The defendants are charged with the kidnapping of Mary McElroy, daughter of Kansas City, Missouri city manager Henry Francis McElroy, and ransoming Mary McElroy for $30,000.00.

No. 12287 - U.S. vs. John Lazia
Lazia is charged with bootlegging, illegal gambling and tax evasion after losing political protection from the Pendergast machine.

No. 12584 - U.S. vs. Charles Gargotta
Gargotta is charged in three counts related to the possession and concealment of two .45 caliber pistols that had been stolen from the National Guard Armory in Kansas City, Kansas.

No. 14458 - U.S. vs. Thomas J. Pendergast
No. 14567 - U.S. vs. Thomas J. Pendergast

Pendergast is charged with income tax fraud for the calendar years 1935 and 1936; his actual earnings required him to pay $195,682.15 in 1936 alone.

No. 14459 - U.S. vs. Robert Emmet O'Malley
O'Malley is charged with income tax fraud for the calendar years 1935 and 1936 by failing to report $22,500.00 in income "received in connection with the compromise and settlement of the Missouri Fire Insurance Rate litigation."

No. 14462 - U.S. vs. Charles V. Carollo
No. 14566 - U.S. vs. Charles V. Carollo
No. 14581 - U.S. vs. Charles V. Carollo

Carollo, aka "Charlie the Wop," is charged with mailing a letter and unsigned bill of sale granting one-quarter ownership of a lottery-style gaming operation, the Fortune Skill-Ball game, at 2 West 39th Street.

No. 14573 - U.S. vs. Charles Carollo
Carollo, aka "Charlie the Wop," is charged with perjury in connection with his application for naturalization as a United States citizen.

No. 14578 - U.S. vs. Charles Carollo
Carollo, aka "Charlie the Wop," is charged with "wilfully ... attempting to evade and defeat a large part of the income tax upon his net income" for 1937 and 1938.

No. 14639 - U.S. vs. Charles Carollo
Carollo, aka "Charlie the Wop," is charged with income tax evasion in the years 1935-1939 with income from smoke and cigar shops, gaming and gambling operations, casinos, liquor distributors, and nightclubs and bars.

No. 14652 - U.S. vs. Matthew S. Murray
Murray, Director of Public Works for Kansas City, Missouri and Missouri Administrator of the WPA, and was charged in five counts with income tax evasion for the years 1934-1938. 

No. 14742 - U.S. vs. John J. Pryor
Pryor is charged with income tax fraud for the calendar years 1934 through 1937; his actual earnings required him to pay $81,751.08 in 1934 alone.

No. 14912 - U.S. vs. T. J. Pendergast, R. E. O'Malley, and A. L. McCormack
No. 14937 - U.S. vs. T. J. Pendergast, R. E. O'Malley, and A. L. McCormack

The defendants are charged with the illegal appropriation of $8,000,000.00 collected from the American Insurance Company and other insurance companies.

Federal Equity Cases

No. 255 - T. J. Pendergast Wholesale Liquor Company vs. Shrader P. Howell
T. J. Pendergast Wholesale Liquor Company asks the court to settle a dispute with Howell, who issued the company an order “that [their liquor] permit… is revoked and canceled.”

No. 270 - American Insurance Company vs. Ray B. Lucas and Roy McKittrick
The case details bribery and illegal money collection involving Thomas J. Pendergast, R. Emmett O'Malley, A. L. McCormack and C. R. Street in 1935.

1936 Election Fraud Cases

Election fraud in Kansas City reached its peak in the Presidential Election of 1936. The following court cases reflect the first effective legal counter to Pendergast politics and signal the beginning of the end of the machine. Each court case is separated by voting precinct where evidence of voter fraud was found. View the location of these precincts on the 1936 Election Fraud Map.

No. 13646 - U.S. vs. Ellis Buck, Sam Brenner, Viola Doss, et al.
No. 13647 - U.S. vs. John T. Little, Alice M. Froeschl, James E. Maxey, et al.
No. 13648 - U.S. vs. Edson M. Walker, Loretta McEntee, Chloe G. Albright, et al.
No. 13649 - U.S. vs. Margaret T. Kelley, Cecelia Ditsch, Beulah Walton, Maurine Nelson, et al.
No. 13650 - U.S. vs. Callie Clark, Lorne E. Wells, Frank H. Adams, et al.
No. 13676 - U.S. vs. Samuel J. Clark, Marie Ogden, Myrtle E. Middleton, Joseph Maher, et al.
No. 13677 - U.S. vs. James Callahan, Frank Geier, May Bartlett, Geneva Vielbig, et al.
No. 13678 - U.S. vs. Robert C. Porter, Mary D. McComas, Lloyd W. Vinsant, et al.
No. 13682 - U.S. vs. E. D. Shannabarger, Irene Brennan, Nancy Bodenhammer, et al.
No. 13683 - U.S. vs. J. R. Hennessey, Sam Goucher, Lula Overly, et al.
No. 13684 - U.S. vs. Charles Cartello, Robert McKinney, John Brown, et al.
No. 13738 - U.S. vs. W. C. Murphy, John L. Gordon, Senna Twist, et al.
No. 13739 - U.S. vs. George Arnold, Gene Riley, Irene Irvin, et al.
No. 13740 - U.S. vs. P. H. Slattery, M. J. Donahue, J. C. Brossman and James Regan
No. 13754 - U.S. vs. Ellis Buck, Sam Brenner, Viola Doss, et al.
No. 13755 - U.S. vs. Weeden Henderson, Glenn Barnard, Count B. Weeks, Amy Freund, et al.
No. 13756 - U.S. vs. Henry T. Johnston, Vernie McCollum, Bertha Patterson, et al.
No. 13767 - U.S. vs. Louis Depasco, Zula Brennar, Florence Klaasen, et al.
No. 13768 - U.S. vs. Charles J. Burton, Marie Wimmer, John J. White, et al.
No. 13769 - U.S. vs. Robert C. Porter, Mary D. McComas, Lloyd W. Vinsant, et al.
KANSAS CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY | DIGITAL HISTORY
Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict,1855-1865.
The Pendergast Years, Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression.
KC History, Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library.