By Rudolph H. Hartmann
The lengthy reign of Kansas urban political boss Thomas J. Pendergast got here to an lead to 1939, after an research led through precise Agent Rudolph Hartmann of the U.S. division of the Treasury led to Pendergast's conviction for source of revenue tax evasion. In 1942, Hartmann's account used to be submitted to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., in whose papers it remained for the earlier fifty-six years unbeknownst to historians. whereas studying the kin among Pendergast and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Robert H. Ferrell stumbled on Hartmann's landmark report—the basically firsthand account of the research that introduced down the best political laptop of its time, potentially one of many maximum in all of yank history.
Reading like a "whodunit," The Kansas urban Investigation lines Pendergast's political profession from its beginnings to its finish. As certainly one of America's significant urban bosses, Pendergast used to be on the peak of his impression in 1935-1936 while his strength reached now not in simple terms to each ward and precinct in Kansas urban but additionally to the statehouse in Jefferson urban and Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. It used to be in this time that the boss took a major bribe—$315,000—from 137 nationwide hearth insurance firms working inside Missouri, starting him to assault by means of his enemies.
Early in 1938, an legit within the Washington headquarters of the Bureau of inner profit, a former Missourian, give up his task to simply accept deepest employment, yet no longer with out first tipping off a reporter from the Kansas urban Star approximately Pendergast's bribe. The reporter instantly phoned Lloyd C. Stark, the governor of Missouri and a identified enemy of Pendergast. Stark then went to Washington to notify President Roosevelt. even if the president were a supporter of Pendergast, he now thought of Stark a extra vital political best friend. Roosevelt requested the Treasury division to enquire Pendergast's source of revenue taxes. The intelligence unit of the Treasury division positioned Hartmann, its top operative, at the case. inside a 12 months, after the main minute of inquiries into checkbooks, serial numbers on forex, a safe-deposit field, and a telegraphed move of $10,000, Hartmann and his brokers chanced on sufficient facts to convict Boss Tom.
More than an easy account of what the Roosevelt management did to reason the cave in of the Pendergast desktop, The Kansas urban Investigation takes the reader throughout the ups and downs, twists and turns, of this interesting research, all from an insider's point of view. extra vital, Hartmann's file presents historians and readers alike the chance to judge the computer period in American political history—an period that, in keeping with the research, "proved the previous axiom that fact is stranger than fiction.'"
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Additional info for The Kansas City Investigation: Pendergast’s Downfall, 1938-1939
Street. Several suitcases were produced from the vaults, and upon opening one of them all the canceled checks of Charles R. Street as far back as the year 1928, 46 The Kansas City Investigation with the exception of the year 1936, which has been mentioned previously, were found. A transcript was made of all these checks. Walter Eckert, an attorney, was interviewed, and he stated that these checks had been sent to him for analysis by the administrator of the estate since he was the attorney who represented Street prior to his death.
It was later learned that some of the fire insurance companies were slow in remitting their 5 percent allotment, making it necessary for Street to borrow the money. In order for the bank to cash such a large amount of checks, it was necessary for them to obtain additional money from the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago. From the Federal Reserve Bank it was learned that the bills were all of $100 denominations and the serial numbers of these bills were obtained, but since these bills were $100 Federal Reserve notes it did not appear at that time that this evidence would be of any value.
The governor agreed to this disapproval, stating that since he was an attorney himself he could see flaws in the document. Park then returned to the governor’s mansion and two hours later signed and approved the compromise, later admitting that, after he had returned to the mansion, he had communicated by telephone with Thomas Pendergast of Kansas City. The offer in compromise was presented to the three-judge federal court of Kansas City, where it was held pending action by any intervenor. Street had a clause inserted in the compromise agreement that no accounting of this 30 percent fund could be demanded.
The Kansas City Investigation: Pendergast’s Downfall, 1938-1939 by Rudolph H. Hartmann