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Author: 
Nancy J. Hulston

Judge Albert L. Reeves despised Tom Pendergast and his Democratic machine. He felt that Pendergast corrupted the young men of Kansas City, especially those from the heavily Italian North End. Reeves particularly disdained the machine’s underhanded tactics involving voting fraud and eventually brought an end to Pendergast’s control of the ballot box.

Transcript of the Court's Charge to the Grand Jury in case investigating election fraud in a 1936 election.

Date: 
June 20th 1938

St. Louis Star-Times article about the 1936 investigation into election fraud, including a sketch of Pendergast by Thomas Hart Benton. The article reports Pendergast "said today that he had been investigated so often that 'one more doesn't bother me much.'" He argued that he had no idea of any election fraud.

Date: 
December 15th 1936

Clipping from the Sunday Washington Star by O. K. Armstrong describing the Pendergast machine and efforts to take them down ahead of a March 1938 election.

Date: 
March 13th 1938

Citizens' League Bulletin issue with the main article entitled "King of Kansas City, Emperor of Missouri" about the corrupt activities of Boss Tom Pendergast of Kansas City.

Date: 
March 6th 1937

Letter from I. N. Watson to Jesse Barrett describing his attempts to counteract and prosecute voting fraud during the 1936 election in Kansas City.

Date: 
November 29th 1939

Pamphlet written by Ewing Young Mitchell, former Assistant Secretary of Commerce in Franklin D. Roosevelt administration's first term. He asserts "[t]he first nomination for United States Senator of Harry S. Truman was stolen," and proceeds to argue that point. The Pendergast machine is described as "the most corrupt, the most brazen, gang of thieves who ever looted an American city," and describes the Pendergasts' businesses' activities and obstructions around the city.

Date: 
October 6th 1944

Harry S. Truman's final draft of his statement on the reappointment of Maurice Milligan as U.S. Attorney. Truman strongly opposes Milligan's reappointment because he finds him to be morally and professionally unqualified. Specifically, Truman takes issue with Milligan's selection of the petit jury in the 1936 election voter fraud cases where no residents of Jackson County or acquaintances of the same were allowed to take part. Truman comments on this saying, "I say to this Senate, Mr.

Date: 
1938

Commitment in the trial of Criminal Case No. 7742: United States vs. Joe Berbiglia, defendant. The document notes that Joe Berbiglia was found guilty of the four counts of Prohibition Act violation with which he was charged, and received a prison sentence of 60 days in the Clay County Jail and a fine of $100. Berbiglia was delivered to the jailer of the Clay County Jail on November 9, 1927.

Date: 
December 1st 1927

Order for the Dismissal of Criminal Case No. 6470: United States vs. Elton Apt, Arthur L. Curran, Ray Kirk, Isaac E. Martin, Harvey Storms, Manning Wilcox, defendants. The document, signed by District Judge Albert L. Reeves, also orders dismissed eighteen additional cases involving the same defendants, all Federal Prohibition Agents. Eight more cases involving other defendants were also dismissed by this order.

Date: 
November 30th 1927

Order in Criminal Case No. 8647: United States vs. Frank "Chee Chee" DeMayo, Abe Schneider, Jack Clarkson, Joe Maniscalao (alias Joe Mancello), and Joe Deblume, defendants. Judge Albert L. Reeves orders the case be dismissed.

Date: 
January 23rd 1931

Order of probation in Criminal Case #9129, United States vs. Joe DiGiovanna, defendant. The order notes that the defendant entered a plea of guilty to the charge of possessing an unregistered whiskey still and sentences him to two years of probation with a $1,000 bond. Dr. Max Goldman is named as his probation officer.

Date: 
March 18th 1929

Commitment in Criminal Case No. 9761: United States vs. Joe DiGiovanna, defendants. The document reports that DiGiovanna was charged with violating the Prohibition Act, and sentenced to serve sixty days at the Clay County Jail in Liberty, Missouri. DiGiovanna was delivered to the jailer on November 8, 1930.

Date: 
November 6th 1930

Order in Criminal Case No. 8991: United States vs. Frank "Chee Chee" DeMayo, Joe Tutaro, Frank Fischman, Veto DeRoun, Meyer Esthman, Joseph Aroitto, and Sam Greenburg, defendants. Judge Albert L. Reeves orders the case be dismissed.

Date: 
January 23rd 1931

Order in Criminal Case No. 11769: United States vs. Pat Noonan, Joe School, Charles Binaggio, Milan Redis, Glen White, Eddie Moran, Link Moran, Silas Counts, and Frank Hart, defendants. Judge Albert L. Reeves orders the case be dismissed.

Date: 
February 6th 1934

Judgments and sentence in Criminal Case No. 13739: United States vs. George Arnold, Gene Riley, Irene Irvin, Robert Strohm, and Thomas Audley, defendants. A motion for new trial was overruled. The documents also reports that Arnold entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced to two years in the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, suspected for two years of probation, and a fine of $100 for each of two counts. Riley, Irvin, Strohm, and Audley were tried by a jury and found guilty. Riley was sentenced to two years at the U.S.

Date: 
June 2nd 1937

Order in Criminal Case No. 13387: United States vs. Buster Balestrere, defendant. The order, signed by Judge Albert L. Reeves, orders Balestrere's sentence of probation be shortened due to good behavior. Balestrere entered a plea of guilty to his charges and ended up spending two and a half years on probation rather than his original sentence of five years.

Date: 
December 26th 1939

Memorandum opinion and orders dealing with demurrers and motions to squash, pleas in abatement and motions to strike such pleas in abatement in Criminal Cases Nos. 13646, 13648, and 13650. Due to the similarities of the cases, only No. 13646 is addressed in detail. The demurrers and motions to squash argue about what and how voters' rights are violated when counts are switched from the intended candidate to another vs.

Date: 
February 10th 1937

Judgment in Criminal Case No. 14652: United States vs. Matthew S. Murray, defendant. Judge Albert L. Reeves' statement addresses the issue of whether certain payments are to be considered gifts, as the defendant claims, or compensation, which would be taxable, says that the deciding factor between the two is the intention of the parties involved, and suggests further inquiry into that question is required. Those payments were made by John J. Pryor, E. L. Schneider, and T. J.

Date: 
March 13th 1940

Sentencing in Criminal Case No. 14652: United States vs. Matthew S. Murray, defendant. Judge Albert L. Reeves notes that Murray was a successful man of good reputation, who permitted himself "to be drawn into an atmosphere and an environment of low standards" and "forsook the people it was his duty to faithfully serve." He sentences Murray to two years in a penitentiary "of the type of that at Leavenworth, Kansas" in each of the five counts, but orders that the sentences all run concurrently for a total of two years' imprisonment.

Date: 
March 18th 1940

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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.