Jack Ruby (Rubenstein) was a strip club owner in Dallas. He catered to police and city officials. I'm sure the Mafia had a piece of the action. His employees all said he would really take care of you if he liked you, and if he didn't he was likely to throw you out on your ear. He had a hot temper and frequently got into fights but within an hour was apologetic and even friendly.
Jack Ruby (Jacob Leon Rubenstein) was born March 25, 1911 in Chicago. His parents were both Polish born Orthodox Jews who emigrated to the US. Ruby grew up and was a teenager during the Al Capone controlled days of prohibition, speak-easys, and flappers. He was a juvenile delinquent and was frequently in trouble, spending some time in juvenile detention for skipping school. Ruby was a street brawler with a tough reputation. He scalped tickets and ran numbers for local mobsters.
In 1937, after selling tip-sheets at a Mob owned racetrack in San Francisco, Ruby moved back to Chicago. There he got a job as "union organizer" for the Junk Handlers and Scrap Iron union, although he was really the muscle for the real organizer Leon Cooke. Cooke was a lawyer who's purpose was to raise worker wages to a reasonable amount. In comes Johnny Martin, City of Chicago's Sanitary District Clerk. Martin was a Mobster who worked for Murray Humpreys, who controlled the Unions and skimmed $$ for the Chicago Syndicate. Martin took over the Union and appointed himself President. At the time Martin was being investigated by the Feds for tax evasion. Under Martin, Ruby became the bagman (collecting and delivering payments) for the Junk Handlers Union and the Mob.
Soon after that, Leon Cooke had some sort of confrontation with Martin in Martin's office. Martin shot Cooke 3 times in the back. Martin took the office secretary hostage and made a getaway. Soon, Martin turned himself in claiming self-defense. Martin was released by the DA even though circumstances proved it wasn't self-defense.
At first, Jack Ruby was a suspect in the shooting and was picked up and questioned by police for 2 hours. He was probably released after Martin turned himself in. Interestingly enough, in the late 50s Senator Robert Kennedy researched Jack Ruby's role in the Cooke shooting and found he wasn't involved.
In 1939, one of the Mafias chief labor racketeers, Paul Dorfman, was moved into the renamed Waste Handlers Union top position. The AFL-CIO called it "basically a shake-down operation". Ruby stayed on as bagman for Dorfman for a few months, then fell in with Benny Zuckerman - "Zuckie the Bookie". Zuckerman worked under Lawrence "Dago" Mangano. Mangano planned to move on Chicago Mob boss Paul Ricca, in order to take over the gambling rackets, but Ricca got word and made the first move, gunning down Mangano and Zuckerman in the streets. Hmmm, I wonder who the informant for Paul Ricca might have been?
In 1943, Ruby entered the US Army Airforces. He was trained as an aircraft mechanic and worked at US bases. He got an honorable discharge in 1946.
In 1946-47, Ruby followed his sister out to Dallas, TX, where she had opened up a club called the Singapore Supper Club, named after a mob hangout in Chicago. Ruby bought the place and renamed it the Silver Spur.
In Chicago, 1949, the Kefauver Committee (Congressional Committee to investigate organized crime) visited Chicago and, get this, Jack Ruby! met with the chief counsel Rudolph Halley. Halley reported to the Committee that Ruby is a Syndicate Lieutenant and was sent to Dallas to act as a connection for the Chicago Mob and that Ruby was the "payoff" man for the Dallas police department. Ruby failed to provide the Committee with any valuable information, which led Halley to suspect that Ruby was sent to stonewall them.
Acting Chicago boss Tony Accordo began to expand mob business nationwide, one of the cities being Dallas. Dallas already had an enormous gambling and prostitution racket mostly run by freelancers. He ordered Jack "Romie" Nappi and Paul Jones to Dallas to bribe Sheriff Steve Guthrie. Guthrie contacted George E. Butler who just joined the Dallas PD. Butler arranged for a meeting but had Guthrie wear a wire. Guthrie pretended to cooperate, and had several conversations with Jones and his asssociates while Butler listened in. The first thing Jones did was contact Ruby, because he was told that "he was with us" by other mobsters. Eventually Chicago mobsters Nappi and Paul Jones were charged with attempted bribery. Later, Guthrie would tell the Warren Commission that Jack Ruby had been named several times in conversations with the Chicago mobsters. He was apparently to take over the mob-run gambling club they were going to open in Dallas. Of course the mobsters denied it. TheWC chose to believe them over Sheriff Guthrie, the honest man who wouldn't take a bribe and helped to nail the mobsters at great personal risk. Paul Jones also tried to set up a drug smuggling racket. Jack Ruby's sister Eva Grant was personally involved somehow with mobster Paul Jones. Jones was caught smuggling dope in from Mexico and Jones did some time as a result.
According to a couple informants, Jack Rubenstein was in Florida for a while in the late 40s and early 50s, organizing gun-running from Miami to Castro's rebels in Cuba. Of course the others involved denied it. Ruby was a trained aircraft mechanic. Perhaps he used his skills and connections in small airplane gun running and drug smuggling?
In Dallas 1956, according to a local pimp, Ruby tried to convince him to join a drug smuggling operation bringing narcotics from Mexico. Why would a local pimp consult with Ruby if he had nothing to do with the mob and prostitution?
In 1958, one of Jack Ruby's gambling associates, Lewis J McWillie, from Dallas became manager of the mob-owned Tropicana Hotel in Havana, Cuba. The same year another of Ruby's Dallas associates, Russell Douglas Matthews, convicted drug smuggler, opened a bar in Havana. Ruby smuggled guns to Cuba through McWillie. Mary Lou Thompson and her daughter saw a bunch of guns in the trunk of Ruby's car while on vacation in Florida and he said he was smuggling them into Cuba.
Ruby wrote a letter to the State Depts Office of Munitions Controls asking permission to buy guns from Italy. Another aquaintance of Ruby, pilot Donald Edward Browder, was arrested for running guns to Cuba around this time. Ruby and the other Mafia gun-runners were trading guns to the Communist rebels in Cuba for narcotics to sell back in the US.
In 1959, Castro defeated Batista, took over Havana, arrested Santo Trafficanti (Mafia boss in Cuba), and booted out all the mobsters.
Jack Ruby contacted Robert McKeown (convicted gun-runner) and asked him to write a letter to Fidel Castro. Ruby offered to provide jeeps and equipment to Castro for the release of Trafficante. On April 27, 1959, Castro visited McKeown in Houston, TX. Ruby was called in for questioning by the FBI several times beginning on April 28, the day after Castro's visit to Houston. John Wilson was imprisoned in the same place as Santo Trafficante and he said a mobster-type by the name of Ruby visited Trafficante there.
The evidence is pretty overwhelming that Jack Ruby was a Mob gun-runner/drug smuggler as well as strip club owner. His sisters and brothers had many Mob connections, but they never got caught. There are way too many connections and incidents to claim that "there is no evidence" that Jack Ruby was involved in organized crime. Ruby's Carousel Club was a favorite hang out for the Dallas Police. They were treated to free drinks and female companionship. I don't know if Ruby actually paid off the Police for the Dallas mob, but he certainly had knowledge that would embarass police from their attendance at his club. He probably bribed some and those who wouldn't take a bribe, he threatened to expose their behavior in the Carousel Club.
Nov. 21st, 1963, the day before the Kennedy shooting, Ruby goes to Joe Campisi's restaurant, the Egyptian.
Nov. 22, 1963, in the evening, after Kennedy is assassinated and Oswald is in custody, Jack leaves the Carousel Club. At 8pm that evening, he is recorded in the Dallas PD hallway waiting while Oswald is being identified in a police lineup. At 11:20pm he is photographed posing as a reporter in the press conference for Lee Oswald. He looks more like a reporter and is wearing glasses (perhaps to disguise himself a little?). He even corrects a police officer about a bit of information as if he were part of the press. He says he was overcome with emotion. Does it look like he's overcome with emotion in these photos?
Nov 23, 1963, Ruby supposedly sees the memorial wreaths on the grass at Dealey Plaza and later says that he became very emotional. Ruby waits at Police headquarters. Oswald was scheduled to be transferred at 4pm, but it never happens.
Sunday, Nov 24, 1963, 11am. Oswald was scheduled to be transferred from the Dallas Police Station to the County Jail at 10am, but they are running about an hour behind. In the meantime, Jack Ruby is wiring some money to one of his strippers at the Western Union office just a block away. He has parked his car close to the Western Union office. He left his beloved dog, Sheba, in the car. He puts his wallet in the trunk along with $900 cash. He shuts the trunk keys in his glove box and leaves the doors unlocked. This would be something someone would do if they were going to have someone else pick up the car. Police decided to load Oswald into the transfer vehicle in the basement. Ruby walks to the Police Station and somehow gets into the basement. The ramp is blocked by an armored truck and guards are posted on the ramp. The guard at the ramp swears that "no one" came down that ramp. If that's true, then Ruby had to be let into a locked door in the alley by someone inside. Jack Ruby gets in among the crowd of reporters waiting at the bottom of the ramp. When Oswald is led out, Ruby pulls a gun and jumps in front of him just before he enters the vehicle, firing point blank in his gut. He moves so quick the police have no time to react. They wrestle Ruby to the ground and take his gun away, but Oswald has already been fatally wounded. Oswald is rushed to Parkland Hospital where he dies at 1:07pm.
At first, Ruby says that he felt sorry for Jackie Kennedy and wanted to spare her the stress of a long murder trial.
Nov. 30, 1963, Joe Campisi and his wife visit Ruby in jail and speak to him for about 10 minutes.
Ruby is represented by attorneys Melvin Belli and Joe Tonahill. Tonahill prepares to present the shooting as "murder without malice", in other words, it was an sudden impulse and wasn't premeditated which could get as little as 2 years. But Melvin Belli wants to get full acquittal by claiming temporary insanity. Belli was known as the King of Torts, a specialist in multiple party lawsuits against large corporations, and he was very rich and powerful. He represented Jack Ruby for no charge. Probably for the publicity. Joe Tonahill was a local lawyer who worked with Belli. Tonahill's strategy would have gotten Ruby off with 2 years, but Belli went ahead with the temporary insanity and .....
March 14, 1964, Ruby is found guilty of murder with malice and sentenced to death.
June, 1964. Members of the Warren Commission, Chief Justice Earl Warren and Gerald Ford, visit Dallas to interview Ruby. Ruby pleads for them to take him to Washington to talk directly to President Johnson. He claims to be in danger in Dallas. He says that his motives have been distorted and that he doesn't want antisemitic groups to use his actions in order to discredit Jews. Remember that in 1949, Jack Ruby was called back from Dallas to go before the Kaufauver Committee on organized crime in order to stonewall them.... he had done this before.
During Ruby's incarceration he supposedly tried to commit suicide 3 times. He would throw tantrums making noise and yelling. I don't think this is out of character for Ruby. He was always prone to fits of sudden violence punctuated by periods of calm. The suicide "attempts" seemed more like a cry for attention. His lawyer said he tried to put his finger in a light socket, he ran his head into the wall and he was caught making a noose. These type of suicide attempts would not be an effective way to kill yourself. These were to express his anger and desperation more than to really kill himself.
With the help of Joe Tonahill, famous reporter Dorothy Kilgallen interviewed Jack Ruby in a small room in the courthouse. Guards and others waited outside the room. She had collected a huge file on JFK and said she was going to blow the lid off the case. She never revealed the content of her interview.... because she was murdered soon after and her files went missing! More on her later.
Sept, 1965. In an arranged interview, Ruby said "I'm the only person in the background that knows the truth pertaining to everything relating to my circumstances.... The world will never know the true facts of what occured...my motives....... People have had so much to gain, and had such an ulterior motive to put me in the position I'm in. Will never let the true facts come above board to the world"
1966, Ruby's murder conviction is overturned on a technicality. As soon as he gets the new trial venue, Ruby plans to plead guilty to murder without malice. and walk with time served. But, incredibly, Ruby has terminal lung cancer and is admitted to Parkland hospital. He dies within 3 weeks.
In the 70s, the House Assassinations Committee concludes that Ruby was probably ordered to kill Oswald by organized crime figures. Gerald Posner in his book, Case Closed, claimed that Ruby acted impulsively and killed Oswald on the spur of the moment. But that conclusion is not supported by Ruby's presence in the Police Station several times before the assassination. Ruby shut down his nightclub and impersonated a reporter in order to see what was happening with Oswald. This is not an impulsive act. It was well planned and executed. The police transfer was kept secret and original plans were changed. How did Ruby know to be exactly in the right spot at the right time? Coincidence? No, Ruby had police informants who kept him posted. I even think its possible that the transfer was delayed in order to wait for Ruby to get in place. Remember Ruby had most of the Dallas Police in his pocket and it would only take a couple of high-placed Policemen to hold up the transfer. Ruby played the witless boob very well. Nobody would believe the mob would trust Ruby with this kind of assignment. But they trusted him to stonewall the Kefauver Committee. His brother said he was very smart.
Notice again in the TV footage that Captain Fritz doesn't immediately react to a gunshot just feet away from him. You'd think a trained policeman would jump, jerk or turn quickly...but Fritz just steps back and slowly turns his head. To be fair, he had just been involved in the biggest crime investigation of the century and he was probably exhausted, but the absence of some kind of reaction makes me suspicious that he might have expected the shot.