Billy Skidmore was a hustler

   Otherwise, Billy Skidmore was a hustler. He ran gambling joints inside the Levee and was a regular visitor to Johnny Torrio's Four Deuces saloon at 2222 South Wabash. In 1917 Skidmore had been indicted with seven others including Chicago Chief of Police Charles Healy for operating a graft connection between police and gamblers. Healy lost his job but neither he nor Skidmore did any jail time. When Anton Cermak took over the Cook County Board, Skidmore entered the junk business and received a lucrative county contract to handle scrap iron. He opened a junkyard at 2840 South Kedzie which became Skidmore's new headquarters. Skidmore worked for Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzak as a contact man with city hall, the Kelly-Nash machine, and later to the state legislature. He aligned himself with Jake Zuta but still it was understood that Skidmore worked best for himself and made no pretenses that he could be trusted. In the early 1930s, he created a shakedown business where he approached the black policy kings like the Jones Brothers and assured them that for the paltry sum of $250 a week, the syndicate would not interfere in their operations. He would then go to the mob and offer them only half of the money he collected, keeping the rest for himself. By 1938, Skidmore had hundreds of deals in place with pimps, prostitutes, rogue cops and burglars.
   Skidmore ran his operation out of his junkyard, the Lawndale Scrap Iron and Metal Company. It was there that Skidmore dispensed the mob's graft to police and politicians and collected protection from pimps and loan sharks who worked the rackets that the mob chose to avoid. Skidmore's other office, when he needed to speak to customers working out in the county, was the personal lair of Herbert Burns, the Chief of Cook County's Highway Patrol. Burns owed Skidmore a small fortune for gambling debts.
   However, most of Billy's business was done at the junkyard, and it was here that newspaper reporters watched a Chicago police captain named Tom Harrison visit every Saturday morning for almost a year. Harrison said he went to buy fresh eggs for his family. Federal prosecutors said he owed Skidmore ten thousand dollars for gambling debts.
   In 1939 the Cook County Chief of Police, Lester Laird, "declared war" on gambling. Needless to say, reporters from the Chicago Tribune were surprised to find the chief visiting Skidmore at his junkyard/handbook operation the day after his declaration of war. As it turns out, the chief had been calling on Skidmore four to six times a month over a five year period. He was also a frequent visitor to
Skidmore's 260-acre estate in McHenry, Illinois. When confronted by reporters about his visits to the Skidmore place, the chief replied that he had gone to personally harass Skidmore into obeying the law. That same afternoon, reporters followed Laird to the Drake Hotel where he had dinner with Skidmore. When a photographer snapped a picture of the two of them together, Laird leaped up from his table and ran out of the hotel through the kitchen.
   He resigned the next day.
   On March 20, 1942, Skidmore was found guilty of tax evasion and sentenced to Terre Haute prison for two-and-a-half years, plus $5,000 in penalties. Skidmore's cellmates were Sam Giancana and black policy king Edward Jones. Skidmore convinced Jones to acquaint Giancana with the numbers racket on the mostly black south side. When Giancana was released from prison, he and the remnants of the old 42 Gang, invaded the south side and took over the policy racket, eventually banishing Jones to Mexico.
   As for Billy Skidmore, he never saw the light of another free day again. He died of cancer while still in prison in 1943.
   Green met Henrichsen at Skidmore's junkyard. He knew that Henrichsen had landed the job with Skidmore through Tubbo Gilbert's influence. In fact, years later Henrichsen's widow swore out a statement that Gilbert had actually ordered Skidmore to give Henrichsen the job.
   "He told me," Green recalled, "Tubbo Gilbert and Assistant States Attorney Crowley told me I had a choice of being a defendant or eating steaks at the States Attorney's expense. They said that if I ever got out of line they would indict me for kidnapping Factor and that I could get up there [on the stand] with Touhy and the others."
   Green pushed for more information and Henrichsen eventually admitted that he and Eddie Schwabauer had been paid off by John Factor to lie on the witness stand. He said that he went to the Sycamore jail, where Factor was temporarily held after the kidnap trial ended pending a decision on his immigration status, and "I would meet him on the stairs there, me and Eddie Schwabauer, and Factor would pay us."
   Green tried for the impossible. "Look, you know Touhy is innocent, I know Touhy's innocent on this thing, now why don't you do right by him and tell the truth about this to a judge?"
   Henrichsen laughed it off. "Look, I got a wife and four kids and I got to provide for them, and I'm not going to do nothing that gets on the wrong side of Tubbo [Gilbert]...look, I got a choice here, I mean I could have testified the way I did and eat steaks at the County's expense or I could have been a defendant. They, Tubbo and Crowley and them, they told me real, real clear, they said I would be indicted right along with Roger and those fellows if I didn't testify the way they wanted."


Prohibition ruled America in the 1920s. It produced a lawless decade and lawless citizens. In Chicago, Al Capone became not only the nation's leading bootlegger but a pioneer and kingpin in the union extortion racket, a golden source of easy money and power.
   But there was another major crime figure in the Windy City as well, a gangster who emerged from the poverty-drenched Irish slum section known as "the Valley." His name was Roger Touhy, the son of an honest Chicago policeman and the youngest of the six so-called "Terrible Touhy" brothers. Together the six brothers ruled a small but widely-feared criminal empire on the city's outskirts. The gang manufactured and distributed beer, controlled unions and supported their war against the Capones' criminal syndicate through a series of lucrative robberies of the U.S. mail.
   This is the story of Roger Touhy's turbulent life.
   A career criminal whose underworld deeds were as darkly sensational as Capone's or Luciano's, Touhy evaded both the law and the many attempts on his life by his rivals. However in 1933 he was sentenced to ninety-nine years in prison for a crime he never committed: the kidnapping of international confidence man John "Jake the Barber" Factor.
   Factor, the black sheep brother of the cosmetics king, Max Factor, was an illegal immigrant in America, who had fled England to avoid a long jail term for engineering one of the largest stock frauds in the history of the British Empire. In a desperate attempt to save himself from extradition, Factor, working with the Capone organization, had himself kidnapped and, with the connivance of some of Touhy's men, accused Roger Touhy of the crime. After two sensational trials, held in the shadow of the national outrage over the Lindburgh baby kidnapping, Roger was convicted.
   After serving eleven years in prison and being denied a hearing for parole, Touhy and a band of convicts shot their way out of Stateville Penitentiary only to be recaptured in a sensational gun battle with the FBI.
   Sentenced to an additional ninety-nine years for abetting the escape, Touhy began the long and arduous process of re-opening his case before the federal bench. Finally, seventeen years later, thanks to the efforts of a rumpled private detective and an eccentric lawyer, Roger Touhy won his freedom. A federal judge determined that John Factor had engineered his own kidnapping to avoid extradition.
   Freed in 1959, Touhy intended to enter a multi- million-dollar lawsuit against the state of Illinois. After his release from jail he was gunned down on the doorstep of his sister's home. He had been free for twenty-eight days.
   John Factor, Touhy's nemesis, was luckier. Over the years he manipulated the legal system through the use of his vast fortune. He managed to remain in the United States but continued to be a pawn for the Chicago mob. In 1955 he ran the incredibly successful Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas, representing the mob and in 1962, just the day before his extradition was ordered, he received a full presidential pardon from John F. Kennedy. He was allowed to remain in the United States, safe from the British courts which had long pursued him.


 I began work on this book while I still was an undergraduate student in the Criminal Justice Program at the University of New Haven in 1975. The book grew out of class assignment, given to us by Dr. Henry Lee who later came to some fame as an expert witness during the sensational O.J. Simpson murder trial.
   Dr. Lee assigned each of us in the class to investigate and write about a case of a miscarriage of American justice.
   I had heard a few, vague facts about the Roger Touhy case from my father, who had heard about it from his father, who had known Roger Touhy. After some initial research, I placed a call to Betty Brennan, the widow of Touhy's ghost writer on his autobiography, The Stolen Years.
   Betty was a wealth of insightful, important information and she encouraged me to follow up on the case, which I did, not realizing then that the investigation into the true facts behind the Roger Touhy case would take up almost twenty-six years of my life and propel me across the United States, from
Washington to Las Vegas and Los Angeles to Miami and back again, in search of the truth. I interviewed several hundred people and pored over thousands of pages of documents that relate to the case.
   After all of that, I am only certain of one thing; no one except Roger Touhy and John Factor really knows the full truth behind this case. However, after tens of thousands of hours of research, there are some aspects of the story which I am certain are true but can't prove. As a result, they have not been included in the main text of this book.
   I am certain that Touhy and Factor knew each other before the kidnapping occurred, that Factor probably didn't completely understand that he would never be freed of the Mafia's iron-clad grasp on his life and that Sam Giancana was one of the wheelmen for Touhy's assassins on that frigid December night when the Capone mob killed Touhy.
   Which brings us to the title of this book. Although A1 Capone had been dead for twelve years by the time Touhy was shot to death, and although the intention of the murder was to silence Touhy forever and was carried out with chilling business-like efficiency, Roger Touhy's murder was personal. His killers had been members of the old 42 Gang and had fought Touhy in Capone's name twenty-six years earlier. The same holds true for the mob bosses who ordered the killing. They had watched as Touhy's Irish gunmen shot their way across the Windy City, murdering their childhood friends, cousins, business partners, and brothers.
   I also want to take this opportunity to share my concerns about the secretive and powerful role of the United States Pardon Attorney, which, officially anyway, falls under the Office of the Attorney General of the United States.
   In my quest for the truth about President Kennedy's very suspicious twelfth-hour pardon of John Factor, the Pardons Attorney's Office went out of its way to derail my research. Pardon records that I requested as part of this investigation were moved around the country making access difficult, sometimes impossible. On several occasions, records were hidden from me. I was lied to several times regarding the existence of some pardon records and members of my staff were questioned about my personal life.
   Still, even with this interference, I uncovered a total of 500 pardons granted by Presidents Truman and Kennedy, which, at the least, can be considered highly questionable. For this reason, I have come to the conclusion that John Factor's presidential pardon was granted as part of the federal government's tangled and illegal dealings with the Mafia during the Kennedy administration.
   However, this is the stuff for another researcher and another writer for another book, but the undis- putable fact remains that if details of the Factor pardon have not been released, the fault lies squarely with the U.S. Pardons Attorney's Office.

-John William Tuohy Washington D.C.
March 2001

The Appeal

At age seventy-three, John Barnes had a reputation as a stern but fair jurist. He was tall, waspy, bearded and withdrawn, with a deep imposing voice to match. It seemed like Barnes had been sent to the bench by Hollywood's Central Casting. Barnes was appointed to the Federal bench on February 27, 1931 and gained national attention in March of 1936 when he held that Roosevelt's National Recovery Act (NRA) was unconstitutional.
   He was eventually overruled by the United States Supreme Court, but the move earned the judge a reputation in Washington and Chicago as an oddball who wouldn't go along with the program.
   Odd-ball or not, the Chicago Crime Commission called Barnes the most reliably honest judge in the state. That was a powerful statement. Barnes' actual personality was a far cry from his kindly old grandfather image. Robert Johnstone's request for the FBI's records on Roger Touhy was rejected by the FBI; a subpoena was issued to the FBI's special agent in charge of the Chicago office, Robert McSwain. Called to the witness stand on June 2, 1949, Barnes asked Agent McSwain, "Have you produced the documents in response to the subpoena given you?"
   "No, sir, I have not."
   "Will you produce them?"
   "I must respectfully advise the court that under instruction to me by the Attorney General...."
   Barnes interrupted, "Then I hold you in contempt of court, and order you be held in my jail until you or your superiors have reconsidered this stance. The bailiff will disarm and escort Special Agent McSwain from the court room."
   McSwain was released two days later when the Chief Judge held that an employee of the federal government could not be held liable for following orders of that government in relation to its refusal to release documents and data it considered sensitive. It turned out that the only thing that the FBI documents would have revealed was that back in 1933, Special Agent Melvin Purvis had been aware that the States Attorney's office had Roger Touhy's lawyer's phone bugged during both Factor kidnap trials: information that he never revealed to the presiding judge, which as an attorney he was obligated to so do.

The Film

   Several months after Touhy's return to prison, 20th-Century Fox began production of Roger Touhy, Last of the Gangsters which was released in 1948 as Roger Touhy-Gangster.
   The syndicate couldn't get the movie done quickly enough. Touhy's escape was a godsend. He had dug his own hole and through their enormous influence in the film industry, they were going to provide the celluloid coffin for him.
   The film's producer would be Bryan Foy, and like some people associated with the film industry then, he was a man with a past. From a creative standpoint, he was a logical choice because he specialized in gritty realistic film noir, but he wasn't, as he so often said, "married to the higher concept of film as art." Foy would and did shoot whatever would turn a dollar from PT 109 to Women's Prison.
   Foy's actual standing was somewhere in between important films and "B" films. In fact, by 1935 Foy had produced so many "B" films that he was known as the king of "B" pictures. He often joked that he made the same film 100 times using different locations and different actors. Still, almost every one of Foy's low-budget movies were box-office money makers.
   Foy is still considered one of the most prolific film producers in Hollywood's history. He had helped to bring the industry into the sound age while he was at Warner Brothers, then nothing more then a collection of buildings and second-hand film equipment. Foy produced the first all talkie for Warners in 1928, Lights of New York and became popular for turning out program films.
   A Chicagoan, Bryan Foy was the eldest son of vaudeville comedian Eddie Foy whose seven children became the traveling stage act "The Seven Little Foys." Bryan moved to Los Angeles in 1922 and grew up with the film industry, eventually becoming a film producer, sometimes producing as many as thirty films a year
   Like anyone else who grew up in show business at the time, Foy learned early on that it was to his best advantage to rub shoulders with the hoods who dominated the industry and night clubs across the country. As a result, Foy's Beverly Hills houseguests would often include Chicago's political boss Ed Kelly or Allen Smiley, a shadowy L.A. figure whose fingers were in a dozen different pies. As an FBI informant working inside Hollywood reported to Washington, "Foy has a reputation within the industry for hiring ex-convicts or hoodlums who come out to Hollywood in search of work."
   "Brynie," said a friend, "was always close to people who lived on the edge of right and wrong."
   Interestingly, John Factor and Foy had been friends for years and Factor had once been a house- guest at Foy's estate. There he met a young actor named Ronald Reagan, whose films Foy produced at Warners. Over the years, Foy's younger brother Eddie Jr. was featured in three of Reagan's movies. "I soon learned," Reagan wrote, "that I could go in to Brynie and tell him that I had been laid off, but couldn't take it at the moment because of all my expenses. He would pick up the phone, call a couple of henchmen and actually get the picture going on four or five days notice-just to put me back on salary."
   Foy left Warner Brothers after a dispute with Jack Warner. After his stint with Warner he was named president of Eagle-Lion Studios, a British- based film production company. One of Foy's first acts as boss was to hire Johnny Rosselli-Chicago's west coast contact-as a producer. This happened as Rosselli was released from Atlanta federal prison where he had served only two years of a six-year sentence.
   Foy liked Rosselli. They were both tough talking, street smart and savvy. Foy thought Rosselli was a handsome man, always dapper, who appreciated fine restaurants and chic Hollywood parties and like Foy was a devoted and knowledgeable fan of the film business. Sure, Rosselli was a tough gangster. Foy knew that of course, but it was a side of his friend that he had never seen displayed.
   Foy remained close to Rosselli throughout most of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Rosselli spent weekends at Foy's house and whenever he could, Foy put him on the books in one no-show position after another. "They were like the Rover boys," Foy's niece said. "They went everywhere together."
   Despite Foy's financial success at Eagle-Lion studios, his brash confrontational style irritated the studio brass so when Foy's three-year contract expired in 1950 he was released. He bounced back to Warner Brothers but couldn't take Rosselli with him since the studio had barred him from the lot. But Foy and Rosselli stayed in close contact. In fact, Foy introduced Rosselli to one of his favorite contract players at Warner, Bill Campbell, who lived in the same neighborhood as Rosselli. In turn Bill Campbell introduced Rosselli to his young wife, actress Judy Campbell, who would later have affairs with Rosselli's boss, Sam Giancana, Frank Sinatra and President John F. Kennedy among many others.
   When Foy's wife Vivian was suffering with cancer in 1949, Rosselli all but moved into the house. Foy's daughter, Madeline Foy O'Donnell recalled that, "Brynie happened to be out of the house for a while, and I guess the kids were somewhere else in the house, but Johnny was sitting with Vivian when she died. He closed her eyes."
   Eventually Foy and Rosselli had a falling out when in 1954, Foy crossed one of Rosselli's brothers in a business deal. Rosselli confronted Foy but he refused to back down causing Rosselli to slug the producer, knocking him to the ground. It would be ten years before the two men would talk to each other again.
   There was another mob connection to the film as well.
   One of the law firms representing 20th-Century Fox was owned by Sidney Korshak, an alleged associate of the underworld. Korshak's brother was a partner with Tony Accardo in a casino run out of a storefront on Rush Street in Chicago. It was one of the most profitable casinos in the country. Korshak's firm had also represented George Browne, Willie Bioff, Paul Ricca, Tony Accardo and a slew of other Chicago- and L.A.- based hoods over the years.
   The film script about Touhy's escape was written in less than thirty days. It was written while Touhy was still at large, so the writers centered the plot of the film on the escape and not its aftermath. Foy said that the script was still being written when Touhy was recaptured. Fox purchased the concept and ordered it rewritten by Crane Wilbur and Jerry Cady, both veteran Hollywood writers and directors.
   Afterward, Fox sent the executive producer, Lee Marcus, and the director, Robert Florey to Chicago in January of 1943 just a few days after the capture to photograph actual locations for the scenes.
   Years later, when questioned about the rush to get the film made, Fox executives associated with the film said they wanted to capitalize on the headlines. Fox wanted the picture rushed through production before the public forgot about Touhy.
   Robert Florey recalls, “The shooting at 1254-56 Leland Avenue had taken place just a few days before and the place was a mess. For a week at Joliet the warden allowed us to shoot many scenes and places inside and in the courtyard using trustees as doubles and producing the escape scene in long shots. The Mayor and the Chief of Police helped him in every way and he was allowed to interview Touhy and the others.”
The film was completed in a remarkable thirty-three days back on the sound stages.
   For the most part, the script refrained from using any real names except for the syndicate's enemies, Roger Touhy and Basil Banghart, and yet Fox was threatened by a lawsuit from Jake the Barber.
   Then, to Hollywood's surprise, Roger Touhy sued Fox Studios and its distributors on the grounds that the film defamed him. Suit or no suit, the film previewed at Stateville prison on July 12, 1943. Over one thousand state officials watched in the prison's main yard.
   Jacob Arvey, Cook County Chairman and a "close personal friend" of Jake the Barber and Tubbo Gilbert, had a front row seat. Roger Touhy, who refused to attend, sat in his darkened cell where he could hear the echo from the film's dialogue which he believed ridiculed him.
   No one had ever seen anything like this film before. It was the pioneer of the quasi-documentary technique that two years later would become the trademark of semi-factual exposes. The mise-en- scene of the film was groundbreaking. The escape scene was shot entirely in long-shot. This technique made the film look more like a newsreel than the feature films that people were used to. Finally, the film concludes with an on-camera speech by Statesville Warden Joseph Ragan.
   Illinois state officials loved every second of the film. On the other hand, when the FBI saw it, they hated it. In fact, J. Edgar Hoover objected to the film before he saw it. Upon seeing it, Hoover objected to several scenes in which local police were given credit for FBI work. He was also generally displeased with being mentioned in the film at all. Hoover wanted the public to forget Touhy. The Hamm trial was still an ugly stench. In fact, when Hoover allowed the official story of the FBI-The FBI Story and later The FBI Nobody Knows-to be written, there was no mention of the Hamm case or Roger Touhy. Despite the fact that the FBI took credit for the capture, the agency demanded that a disclaimer be included to alert the public that the portrayal of agents in a movie did not constitute an endorsement of the film and should not be construed as a seal of approval. At that point, Fox considered shelving the picture. More than a year later they finally released it. By that time the escape was all but forgotten. Even after waiting a year to release the film, the studio did so with caution. The producer's press book came complete with a statement that read, "We wouldn't be justified in making a picture about Touhy except that he is representative of the era and happily, a passing of it."
   Foy said that his inspiration for the film was not the sudden flush of money that came out of cash- strapped Fox, but rather that "it was the dragnet for him [Touhy]; it was the most expensive in the history of the city and when the FBI made it a nationwide manhunt it became the most expansive manhunt in history for an escaped prisoner, and with nothing but bad news coming from the war front in those days it [the escape] was like a return to the old days of a decade before."
   The Hays Office (Hollywood's self-censorship organization) demanded and received a cut in the film. They wanted one entire reel cut on the grounds of extreme violence. They felt it was "bad for the general public," said Florey.
   Preston Foster, fresh off of a string of profitable films, portrayed Roger Touhy not as a hero or a villain, but as a cardboard character who lacked any appeal in any manner. Preston's version of Touhy is as a petty, mean, calculating little man. The film portrayed him as a "two-bit ugly little punk robbed of any sympathy," as one reviewer put it.
   When the film flopped at theaters under the title Roger Touhy-Gangster!, it was renamed Roger Touhy, Last of the Gangsters, which was actually the first title Foy had given to the film before production started. But the film failed at the box office for more than just its title. It failed for the same reason Touhy's escape from Statesville failed: it failed to rally the people to his cause.
   The film attempted to define Roger Touhy as an astrology buff who began the day of his prison break by reading a Scorpio horoscope, "A new door opens for you, the future is assured."
   "I won't let them forget me," he says, assuring one and all of his Napoleonic complex.
   On August 4, 1943, Roger Touhy managed to get a temporary restriction on showing the film which, he argued, portrayed him "as a vicious violator and gangster." But on August 7, 1943 Fox Studios managed to have the ban lifted. Oddly enough Touhy never made a public mention of the film or his troubles with Hollywood nor did he note it in his autobiography The Stolen Years.
   In 1948, Touhy won an out of court settlement with Fox and its distributors. Touhy accepted a settlement of $10,000 for defamation of character and an agreement by Fox to destroy the film. Within a week, Touhy's lawyers had his $10,000 and Fox started to redistribute the film overseas.

Factor on the stand

To have a trial, the prosecution would need a victim, so with the assistance of States Attorney Courtney, U.S. Secretary of State Cordull Hull and the Justice Department, Jake Factor's deportation hearing was postponed since he would be needed as a witness for the prosecution. After the hearing was postponed, Factor's image in the press changed for the better, literally, overnight. Reporter Milton Mayer recalled being surprised to read in his paper that Factor was now "John Factor, wealthy speculator. "
   "I kept filing the story as Jake the Barber but it kept coming out John Factor, wealthy speculator." Mayer went to see his editor who said that "States Attorney Courtney was up here and he's asked the papers to use the expression 'John Factor, wealthy speculator' so as not to prejudice prospective jurors in the Touhy trial."
   Touhy's image in the newspapers suffered. "The stories in the Chicago papers irked me a little," he said. "The news stories now were calling me 'Black Roger' and 'Terrible Touhy.' I discovered that I was a machine gunner, a bomber, a probable murderer and a few other things about myself I didn't know." The trial was presided over by Michael Feinberg, who had earned a reputation as one of Chicago's least qualified judges. In 1932, Feinberg ran in the Republican primary against John Swansa for the position of chief judge, but the Chicago Bar Association refused to endorse him, stating "He has used his judicial position to further his campaign for state's attorney. In this he has shown a lack of appreciation of obligations of judicial office." The Chicago Tribune went a step further and flatly advised the public against voting for Feinberg at all.
   After he lost the primary, Feinberg resigned from the Bar Association and ordered a special grand jury to look into fraud in the elections. The grand jury was disbanded by the Illinois Supreme Court who wrote that Feinberg had no such right to call the jury in the first place and that "he has demonstrated a lack of qualifications essential to the holding of judicial office."
   In as far as the Touhy case was concerned Feinberg saw it as a waste of the taxpayers' money. Touhy was, in Feinberg's eyes, guilty of something; if it wasn't kidnapping John Factor, then it was something else. As Roger wrote, "Feinberg wanted a trial right now-or sooner, if possible. There would be no delays, which left us little time to locate witnesses or prepare a defense."
   Several days before the trial began Touhy wrote that "an emissary came to me in the jail with a proposition. A message had been sent to him that [we] would go free for a pay-off of $25,000 to a politician. I said the hell with it. I was innocent and no politician was going to get fat off of me."
   Years later, Roger told newsman Ray Brennan that the politician who wanted the kickback was actually Judge Feinberg, and that the reason he refused to pay was that his own sources in City Hall told him that Feinberg had already shaken down Jake Factor for $25,000 assuring him of a conviction.
   Jake the Barber was the first witness called to the stand. One of the questions Crowley asked him was if he was allowed to use the bathroom while he was being held captive by Roger Touhy. Factor said that he was.
   "And how many times," Crowley asked, "while you were in the basement, did you use the lavatory?"
   "Very often, that night," Jake replied.
   At that point, Chicken McFadden leaned over to Touhy and said in a voice loud enough for the jury to hear, "He's trying to get it across that Jake had the shit scared out of him."
   Factor said that right after he was kidnapped, he was blindfolded and tied, brought to a house and walked down to a basement where he was tied to a wooden chair. He said he could sense "several men around me, a single light bulb burning over my head."
   He said that the kidnappers demanded that he give them the name of a person he could trust as a contact and Factor said he suggested Joe Silvers or Sam Hare, owners of The Dells, where Factor had been gambling just before he was kidnapped.
   But Joe Silvers would never get to testify and Factor probably knew that when he gave his name from the witness stand. Silvers was facing federal charges for mail robbery and decided to turn informant rather than do time. Perhaps fearing that he would tell what he knew about the Factor disappearance, Murray Humpreys' boys had followed Silvers down to Florida, kidnapped him, took him out on a boat, shot him and threw him overboard.
   Silvers' partner in The Dells, Sam Hare, wouldn't fare much better. Somebody pulled up alongside his car as he was driving along on a Chicago highway and shot him.
   Factor went on to say that right after he gave their names as contacts, he was left alone with two men whom he dubbed "the good man" and "the bad man. " The bad man was the one who slapped him around, robbed him of his rings and watch and threatened to cut off his ears "and send them to your wife as souvenirs."
   However, when he complained that the blindfold around his head was too tight, Factor said that the "good man" removed it from his eyes, cut it into pieces and then pasted it back over his eyes with adhesive tape.
   Factor said that while his eyes were uncovered he looked up and saw Roger Touhy whom he now identified as the "bad man."
   Factor said that the next day he was told by the bad man "You're going for a ride," and assumed that meant he was going to be killed and wept for his life.
   Factor claimed that at this point he was driven to another house. There he was forced to write a ransom note while someone held a machine gun to the back of his head. The ever astute Stewart asked Factor "How did you know it was a machine gun? Do you have eyes in the back of your head?"
   Crowley objected to the question and the objection was upheld by Judge Feinberg. "Crowley objected to every question asked of Factor," Touhy said, "and Judge Feinberg upheld the prosecution most of the time."
   Despite the judge's apparent predisposition toward the prosecution, Stewart's cross-examination of Factor was brutal and relentless. Though he managed to cause Factor to confuse his story, it was clear he was fighting an uphill battle.

Escape From the Big House

   Roger never accepted his conviction for kidnapping John Factor.
   After seven years in prison, he became a jail- house lawyer, pouring over his court transcripts, and as a result became something of an expert in the writ of habeas corpus.5 He wrote his own appeals to the governor but after a while they were returned unopened.
   Of his frustration Touhy wrote, “denied without a hearing...denied without a hearing... denied without a hearing....How could I get justice if no court would listen to me? I was nailed in a box and I had no hammer to batter my way out.”
   Then, in the latter part of August, 1942, Touhy decided to escape from prison for a somewhat peculiar reason.
  “I stayed awake until dawn in my cell, thinking. I was without hope. I was buried alive in prison and I would die there. I couldn't see a light ahead anywhere. Nothing but darkness and loneliness and desperation. The world had forgotten me after eight years. I was a nothing. Well, there was one way I could focus public attention on my misery. I could escape. I would be caught of course but the break would show my terrible situation. What cockeyed thinking that mental attitude was a mess, I later came to realize”.
   The inmate who came to him with the idea of escaping was Gene O'Connor, who had probably known Roger on the outside, since O'Connor had been the business agent of the Chicago Awning and Tent Makers Union-or at least he was until he was arrested for intimidation after firing a shot at a union member who opposed him in a race.
   Now, O'Connor was serving a life sentence for a May 1932 robbery in which a Chicago policeman had been gunned down in cold blood.
   Escaping for O'Connor was a way of life. In 1936 he escaped from Statesville after he found his way into the central electric room, pulled the main power switch and then scaled the walls to freedom. He was captured and escaped again a year later only to be caught within a week.
   The time seemed ripe again for escape. The war had taken away the younger guards, leaving mostly older men, some coming out of retirement to resume duty. Since they were paid starvation wages, O'Connor had primed the escape by bribing the tower guards with items lifted from prison kitchen storehouses where Touhy worked. These foods were almost impossible to get during wartime rationing: 100 pound sacks of sugar, bags of coffee, slabs of bacon and quarter sides of beef all of which could be resold on the outside for big money. Adding to the plan's credibility was the fact that E.H. Stubenfield, an old time political hack, was now warden. He had replaced the far better qualified Joseph Ragen, who had resigned in protest against political meddling inside the prison. As a result, the prison's once tight security had gone lax.
   The keys to the escape were guns. Two pistols were left at the base of the prison's flagpole by the brother of another inmate, Eddie Darlak, who was in on the break. A trustee had brought two guns into the prison, carried inside wrapped in the American flag which he lowered each evening outside the prison walls.
   On October 9, 1942, Roger stood at the prison bakery door with an enormous pair of scissors stolen from the tailor shop, hidden inside of his blue prison-issue shirt. Several minutes later, driver Jack Cito, a convict with mob connections,6 pulled the prison laundry truck up to the door and Roger leaped up onto the driver's door and yanked Cito out on to the ground and screamed for the keys. When Cito moved too slowly, Touhy cut him with the scissors, yelling "Give me the Goddamn keys!"
   Cito told Touhy the keys were in the ignition and Roger leaped into the truck and drove to the mechanic shop where the other escapees, O'Connor, Mclnerney, Darlak, Stewart and Nelson were waiting.
   Touhy leaped out of the truck and O'Connor handed him a .45 caliber automatic. He rushed into the mechanic shop where he was confronted by a guard, Lieutenant Samuel Johnston, who asked Touhy "Why are you here, what are you doing here?"
   Roger didn't answer but began snapping the prison telephone wires with his long scissors. As Johnston was about to club Touhy into submission, Basil Banghart came through the window with a pistol at ready and ordered Johnston to unlock a set of ladders. At that same moment, guard George Cotter arrived on the scene and was overpowered and beaten to the floor.
   Placing the guards' white hats on their heads, they pushed Cotter and Johnston outside and forced them to load the ladders on to the back of the truck and ordered them to sit on the ladders to keep them from falling off. Then Roger shouted, "Ok, go, go go!" at Stewart, who was behind the wheel, but the truck stalled.
   Touhy leaped off the back of the vehicle, pulled Stewart out of the driver's seat and tried to get the truck started but couldn't. Deciding to jump start the truck, Roger looked over to the 300 inmates crowding around to watch the excitement. Roger yelled for the convicts to push the truck, which they did. The motor turned over with a roar.
   They sped across the yard, driving to Tower Three in the northwest corner. At the base of the tower they forced guard Johnston to help them put the ladders together. When he refused, they beat him, tore his shirt off and took him up the ladder with them. Roger looked up into the tower and could see one of the guards who they had bribed7 standing to one side of the tower, at the end of the walkway. "He wasn't holding a gun but he didn't have far to reach for one, " Touhy said.
   Roger fired a single shot which blew out the guardhouse window, striking the guard in the forehead with flying glass and knocking him to the floor. When they were all inside the tower, Darlak took the guard's car keys. Though it was against prison regulations, the car was parked at the base of the prison wall, just feet away from the tower.
   Before leaving, the convicts took two high-powered prison-issue rifles, a pistol and 115 to 120 rounds for each gun. They then walked calmly down the tower stairs, into Krause's car, and roared away toward Chicago.

Morrie Green

  Despite his conviction, Touhy was not giving up his fight. From prison, in 1938, Roger retained Thomas Marshall as counsel with his last $50,000. Marshall was one of the nation's leading criminal lawyers. After sifting through the evidence, Marshall was convinced of Roger's innocence, but decided that what was needed was a complete reinvestigation of the case. With Touhy's approval, Marshal brought in a private detective named Morrie Green, a disbarred lawyer who had once represented most of the Chicago underworld, including the Moran Gang's leader, Schemer Drucci.
   Green had also been the lawyer for super pimp and political pay-off expert Jake Zuta. In fact in that case, Green may have overstepped the fine line between lawyer and partner when Green's signature was found on several checks written from Jake Zuta to himself, and then signed over to a judge Joseph Schulman of the municipal bench. The judge said that he had business dealings with Morrie Green and that was why Zuta had the checks. Disbarred, Green spent the last part of his career as a private detective.
   An interesting note on Green-in 1959, long after the Touhy case, he would make the newspapers again when the underworld murdered Fred Evans. Evans and Murray Humpreys had started their criminal careers together back in the Roaring Twenties and by 1959 both of them were powerful men. Evans' loan-sharking operation eventually put him in touch with Lou Greenberg, a lowlife character who ran Capone's Manhattan brewery and the Roosevelt Finance Company at 3159 Roosevelt Road. Greenberg had his life snuffed out after he cheated Frank Nitti's adopted son out of his inheritance which Greenberg had been entrusted to hold until the boy came of age. Eventually Evans and Greenberg's widow, Esther, would become partners in a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills. Coincidentally, it was at that hotel in 1951 that wise guys from Chicago and St. Paul planned the execution of a Los Angeles reform mayor. Eventually the two made enough money to reinvest their profits into another hotel just inside Beverly Hills.
   By 1959 Evans was a rich man. His fortune was at least eleven million dollars in cash. Most of that was made in the early 1940s when Evans worked the inroads that Humpreys and Teddy Newberry had made in their brokerage firm shakedown schemes in the late 1930s. With Humpreys' muscle behind him, Evans ended up with part ownership of a discount brokerage corporation at 100 North La Salle Street in Chicago. By now Evans was considered to be the brains behind Humpreys' financial success and was widely thought to be the fiscal genius behind Frank Nitti's ability to wash the extortion money from Hollywood's Bioff scandal.
   The FBI made a customary stop at Evans' office and briefly interviewed him. He consented to answer questions, but was guarded in his conversation. While speaking with Evans, the agents weeded through a pile of useless information to find out that Morrie Green was a front for Humpreys in the Superior Laundry and Linen Supply Company which he owned lock, stock and barrel.
   It seemed, to Evans anyway, to be a fairly worthless piece of information-most law enforcement people and wise guys in Chicago already understood the relationship between Humpreys and Greenberg. However the FBI didn't know it. In fact in 1959 the FBI knew very little about organized crime.
   The agents took what they learned from Evans and confronted Morrie Green with the information and its source. Word got back to Ricca and Accardo and Giancana that Evans had talked to the federal government.
   The bosses sat in judgement with the evidence before them and decided that Evans had to be eliminated. It didn't matter what he had said; the fact was that he had communicated with the FBI. As a courtesy to Humpreys, since he and Evans went back so far, the boys asked if the Hump could come up with a reason not to kill Evans. Humpreys shrugged and said he had nothing to say on the subject. That sealed Evans' fate.
   Twenty-one days later, on August 22, 1959, Fred Evans finished up work at his desk. He had been going over his assets. Closing his books he scribbled "total resources eleven million dollars" on a paper which he left in the middle of his desk. He turned off his desk lights and left the office, walked to 5409 West Lake Drive, where his Cadillac was parked at a lot. As Evans walked across the lot, Mrs. Alice Griesemer of 328 North Lotus Avenue, saw a young man wearing a heavy winter coat, buttoned to the
neck, who had been sitting on a step for over an hour on an extremely muggy Chicago evening. As Evans strolled in front of Mrs. Griesemer's line of vision the young man in the winter coat leaped to his feet and ran across the street into the parking lot towards Evans. At the same time, another man holding a handkerchief across the lower part of his face ran out of an alley toward Evans. It took Evans and Mrs. Griesemer only a few seconds to see that both of the men had pistols in their hands. Evans stopped in his tracks and covered his face and yelled "No, don't!"
   The two men slammed Evans against a wall, searched him quickly and snatched an envelope from his back trouser pocket. Leaping backward they shot him twice in the head and twice in the throat. The shots in the throat were to let the underworld know that they suspected Evans of being a stool pigeon.
   The assailants leaped into a blue Chevrolet and vanished.
   Evans staggered a few feet back to his car and collapsed across the front seat. The witness, Mrs. Griesemer, on North Lotus Avenue, said "It was like watching a movie or a television show."
   When the police arrived they found Evans' body lying on an envelope that held a $5000 government bond. Further investigation of the contents on Evans' desk showed that he held about $500,000 in cash, jewelry, stocks and bonds and part ownership of two apartment buildings. In the end he paid the ultimate price for committing the underworld's one mortal sin-talking to the feds. It didn't matter that the information he divulged about Morrie Green's relationship with Murray Humpreys was old news to most; Evans sealed his fate by talking at all.
   In the last months of 1938, before becoming embroiled in the Evans shooting, Morrie Green was working as a private investigator for Roger Touhy. There's no doubt that the two men had known each other on the outside. Chicago's underworld was too small for them not to have known each other. "Morris," Roger said, "seemed a bit cynical when he first came to see me. He sat across the visitor's table in the long, narrow room where fifty or more convicts can talk with their lawyers or with their relatives on approved visiting days. I could see that Green wasn't happy with his mission." However, "Green surprised me," Roger said. "He was a jewel, a really rich prize....Morrie turned out not to be really a cynic. He was a kind, considerate, conscientious man...who had bitter disappointments in his life, and he had an understanding for informants like me. People expect to be bled white by private detectives. Although my legal expenses had been enormous, I still had about $50,000 which my family had salvaged from my ruined beer business. But Green charged only reasonable fees and he didn't pad his expense account."
   The first thing Green did was visit Buck Henrichsen, Touhy's former bodyguard. With Touhy in prison, Henrichsen found full time work for himself with Chicago's gambling czar, Billy Skidmore, at the mob's Bon Aire Country Club. The Bon Aire wasn't actually a country club at all. It was a posh casino owned by the underworld-mostly by Tony Accardo-and run by Skidmore, the syndicate's favorite front man. Each weekend buses owned by the mob delivered hundreds of gamblers to the club. Somehow, despite the casino's high profile, it was never raided.
   The fact that Henrichsen was working for Billy Skidmore was no small thing either. Roger had known Skidmore from his childhood when Skidmore ran a notorious saloon on West Lake and North Robey streets4 only a few doors down from the house where Roger had been born. Confidence men and petty criminals gathered at the saloon to divide their spoils, and gamblers and pimps arrived to pay their protection money. The place also served as headquarters for Valley pickpockets, sneak thieves and shoplifters of all sorts. Skidmore sold bail bonds to them all. But what Skidmore did best was to act as a go-between-firming up deals between gangsters and politicians-ultimately serving as the bag man when a deal was worked out.