The Great Kentucky Scandal
by Bill Davidson
Look Magazine, October 24, 1961
 
 
Thomas J. Paisley arranged the meeting of Carinci and Ratterman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newport Detective Pat Ciafardini, who arrested George Ratterman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William J. Wise. Commonwealth Attorney for Campbell County

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Ratterman, in front of the Tropicana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tito Carinci, president and manager of the Tropicana, sitting next to Juanita Hodges, a.k.a. April Flowers, at the Ratterman trial.
 
 


 
At approximately 2:40 a.m. on May 9, three city detectives burst into room 314 of the Glenn Hotel in Newport, Ky., which occupies the same building as an illegal gambling casino and strip-tease joint called the Tropicana.  In the room, the three cops found and arrested a man they later said was clad only in shirt and socks, and a woman with nothing on but an imitation-leopard negligee.  The man was George Ratterman, the former Notre Dame and Cleveland Browns football star - and currently the reform candidate for sheriff of Campbell County, Ky., which includes Newport.  The woman was a 26 year old, long-legged strip-teaser named Juanita Hodges, who earns her living divesting herself of her clothing nightly in the Tropicana under the name April Flowers.

 That moment - 2:40 a.m. - was a turning point in the long wicked history of Newport, which for more than a hundred years has been labeled The Sin City of the south, The Gomorrah of America and other less attractive names.  When Newport City Detective Pat Ciafardini pushed Ratterman onto the bed and said "You're under arrest," he set in motion a chain reaction that is leading to the eradication of vice, big-time gambling and national-crime-syndicate operations in a city where previous clean-up efforts ad been futile.

 The drama in which Ratterman played an unwilling role (a court later found him innocent of any wrongdoing) had its beginnings more than a half century before he was born.  Newport became a sin city during the Civil War, when a garrison of Union troops was established there, just across the river from Cincinnati. The main theatre of the war was far away, the Yankee garrison had little to do, and ladies of easy virtue flooded into town to help separate the soldiers from their wages.  The establishment of prostitution was followed by illegal gambling casinos run by local racketeers - and both vices flourished on the business that poured across the river from Cincinnati, just a few minutes away.  

Cincinnati itself was plagued by crime and corrupt politicians for many years.  But in the 1920's, reform elements drove out the grafters, and the city won a reputation for good government.  During these years, Cincinnati became a leading city for conventions - and it still is.  One of its attractions is that wide-open vice is no more than a short taxicab ride away.

 In the 1940's the situation got worse in Newport and surrounding Campbell County.  In testimony before the Kefauver Committee in 1951, Alvin G. Sutton, Cleveland's Director of Public Safety, stated that the notorious Cleveland syndicate - headed by ex-bootleggers like Morris Kleinman, Lou Rothkopf, Moe Dalitz and Sam Tucker - was driven out of Ohio by the relentless pressure of the then Governor, Frank Lausche, and Cleveland's then Public Safety Director Eliot Ness of The Untouchables fame.  They took refuge across the river in Newport and neighboring Covington, in Kenton County.

 "There," reads Sutton's testimony, "they used local gamblers and a few of their lieutenants as fronts.  There again, they could enjoy official toleration in a place close to a rich metropolis.  There again, they could rake in their big slice of the money from a big center of industry and trade."

 An accountant who prepared its income-tax returns testified that the Cleveland mob owned and ran the plush Beverly Hills Club in Southgate, Ky., one of the most luxurious gambling casinos and night clubs in the United States).  It also reputedly had a substantial interest in the Yorkshire and the Merchant's Club in the heart of downtown Newport.

 So verdant were the vice fields of Newport and so malleable the local officials that the New York mob, headed by Frank Costello, also moved in.  At one time, it reputedly owned both the 633 Club and the Tropicana, the scene of George Ratterman's ordeal.

 Ratterman is a tall, lithe, athletic looking man with thinning blonde hair.  He is 34 years old.  He was born in Cincinnati of German-Irish parents (his father was a lawyer-accountant) and he was a brilliant student, as well as an outstanding football player.  He had a 93.4 average in high school and a straight B at Notre Dame.  While he played professional football for Buffalo, New York, Montreal and Cleveland, he went to five different law schools at night and during off season and after ten years earned his law degree.

 When he retired as an active player with the Cleveland Browns in 1956, he returned to Cincinnati, where his brother, Father Patrick Ratterman, is Dean of Men at Xavier University.  He joined an investment firm and settled down in Fort Thomas, Ky., a wealthy suburban town that is an island of respectability in sinful Campbell County.

 Ratterman's wife Anne is a charming local girl whom he married in 1947.  They have four sons and four daughters, ranging from six months to twelve years.

 For five years after his return to his native heath, Ratterman paid little attention to local politics, except for what he heard from his two brothers-in-law, both attorneys, and his father-in-law, who is president of Newport National Bank.

 Early this year, Ratterman's in-laws were among the founders and movers of an organization of leading citizens who formed themselves into the so-called Committee of 500 - with the avowed purpose of cleaning up corruption and vice in Campbell County.

 At first, Ratterman remained aloof from his family's involvement in the reform movement.  There had been reform movements in Newport and Campbell County before, dating back to the turn of the century, and all had failed.  The county was so corrupt that for years local politicians used a different nomenclature from the rest of the United States.  For example, a "liberal" in Campbell County parlance is not a person known for his progressive social views, but one who is in favor of noninterference with vice and gambling.

 Although Campbell County office seekers run on the Democratic and Republican tickets, the populace pays little attention to these designations.  Usually, they identify a "bust-out joint" candidate running against a "clean operations" joint candidate.  The "bust-out joints" are those gambling houses that employ crooked dice and other stratagems to insure that a victim does not leave the premises until he is busted.  The "clean operation joints" are usually run by the out of state mobs, where honesty at the gaming tables is assured.  Since the "bust-out joints" and the "clean operation joints" are fairly evenly divided, this has led to some spirited campaigns in Newport and surrounding areas.

 For years, a succession of "liberals" has held office in Campbell County.  In 1951, Newport Police Chief George Gugel appeared before the Kefauver Committee.  He was represented by Charles E. Lester, the attorney for the Tropicana and the 633 Club.  The committee counsel, Rudolf Halley, asked Gugel to list the "notorious gambling houses" that had operated in the chief's jurisdiction, and Gugel named the Yorkshire, the Merchant's Club and several others.  When Halley asked Gugel if he had ever visited them, Gugel said he hadn't.  When Halley asked if Gugel knew that "the Cincinnati papers ran advertisements as to the gambling places open for business in Newport," Gugel replied, "I never read them."  When Halley asked if Gugel was "the only man in that entire vicinity who didn't know that any taxi driver could take you to a selection of five or six gambling joints," Gugel replied, "I never ride in a cab."  At the conclusion of Gugel's testimony, Kefauver remarked, "I just want to say Mr. Gugel, that this is a very, very poor showing of law enforcement, from the evidence that we have had.  It does not show much inclination to do much about it."  That was ten years ago.  Gugel stayed on as police chief of Newport until this August, when he finally retired.

 Another long-term official still in office is William J. Wise, the elected commonwealth attorney, whose job it is to prosecute criminal cases for the state in Campbell County.  When asked by the Kefauver Commission about what he had done to prosecute gamblers who run the Beverly Hills Club and other gambling casinos, Wise spoke about a handful of indictments, all of which ended with the defendants being acquitted or with the charges against them being reduced to misdemeanors with small fines.

 When the commission read into the record for Wise's benefit that the Beverly Hills Club showed net profits of $426,199 in 1948 and 1949, and then read off the exact amounts paid to the notorious Cleveland mobsters Morris Kleinman, Louis "Lou Roddy" Rothkopf,  Moe Dalitz, et. al., as owners of the club, Wise answered, "The only thing I can say is that the figures are to me fabulous, and the names of the individuals you have mentioned I have never heard of before." 

The Reformers Lose

 Through his in-laws, George Ratterman gradually learned about all this past history.  In 1950, after neighboring Kenton County and the city of Covington had been cleaned up by local-action groups, and the then governor, Lawrence Wetherby, a reform slate of officials had been elected to the Newport City Council.  However, the mob was too strong and too clever for them.

 First, a local clergyman allied with the reformers was drugged and photographed in his shorts with a scantily clad girl on his lap.  This resulted in his leaving town.  Next, a well-known floozie walked into a hearing room in which Police Chief Gugel was being tried for nonfeasance in office, and immediately greeted reform City Manager Malcolm Rhoads as though he were an old friend.  Gugel was later given a 28-day suspension for "insubordination."  Finally, when the reformers would order a raid on a gambling casino, the police also often raided a bingo game at a Roman Catholic church.  Newport has a large Catholic population.  The reform group was voted out of office when it stood for re-election in 1952.

 Prominent Citizens Act

 Last winter, Ratterman, a Roman Catholic, became incensed enough to join the Committee of 500, which had begun as a fund-raising arm for a vice-fighting group of Protestant clergymen called the Newport Ministerial Association.  Ever since the failure of the 1950-51 reform movement, the ministers had militantly but futilely raided houses of prostitution and gambling in Newport and had partitioned the state government to remove inept and corrupt officials from office.

 At the suggestion of Kentucky's Gov. Bert T. Combs, a former justice of the state's highest court, the Committee of 500 was formed as a separate political-action group, though still closely allied with the ministers.  They attracted the cream of the Campbell County citizenry - wealthy businessmen like Henry J. Hosea, Claude W. Johnson, Jr., and Edwin J. Hengelbrok, Jr. (one of Ratterman's brothers-in-law), and crusading lawyers like Henry Cook, the former U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

 Last March, they prevailed on their new member, Ratterman, ti run for office as an independent candidate for sheriff, the first step in the Committee of 500's campaign to clean up official corruption in Campbell County.  For the first time in the modern history of Newport, the Protestant clergymen of the Newport Ministerial Association gave their backing to a Catholic, Ratterman.  This was followed by published letter from the local Roman Catholic bishop, the Most Rev. Richard H. Ackerman, which also was a first.

 In stating the Catholic Church's position against vice, prostitution and illicit gambling, Bishop Ackerman wrote, I have been asked to comment on the stand of the Church in regard to public officers who failed to fulfill the oath of their particular office.  That is easy.  Turn them out…They are useless, dishonorable servants . . . But only the people can bring this about.  And it can and will be accomplished, if statesmen are nominated for public office, and the people - all the people - vote as men and woman of conscious of their duty to God and their country."

 On April 4, after long discussions with his wife Anne, who was against the idea, Ratterman announced his candidacy for sheriff.  In his speech to the Committee of 500 accepting their nomination, he said "I am told that if I run for sheriff, I will be the victim of all sorts of personal slanderous attacks, especially when it becomes apparent that I am sincere, and when our opponents find they cannot buy me off.  If this is the price that one must pay to run for office as your candidate, so be it.  But I say to our opponents, let the attacks start now, if they must.  Let the battle be joined now."

 The battle was joined sooner than he expected.

 Carinci contacts Paisley

 On the afternoon of April 5, according to Thomas J. Paisley of Medina, Ohio, near Cleveland, a man named Tito Carinci made a telephone call from Newport to him.  Carinci, a stocky man in his early thirties, had once been an outstanding football player at Xavier University.  He is now the president and manger of the Tropicana nightclub and gambling casino and of the Glenn Hotel.  Carinci had known Ratterman for some years.  Ratterman, a few years before, had gone so see him as a prospective customer for stocks and bonds.

 Paisley is the owner of a firm in Medina that packages food and gifts.  A sports fan, he has made a practice of hiring top professional athletes in the off season.  That is how Ratterman and Carinci got to know him.  Ratterman is now a stockholder and director of Paisley's company.

 In their brief telephone conversation on April 5, the day after Ratterman filed for sheriff of Campbell County, Carinci told Paisley that he was going to be in Cleveland and would phone him when he arrived.

 On April 7, Carinci phoned Paisley from the Cleveland airport, and Paisley came out to meet him.  According to Paisley, Carinci suggested that he and Paisley, and Ratterman should get togther.  Paisley says Carinci told him he wanted to open a legitimate restaurant in New York.  He thought Ratterman could help him get clear of the mob.  Paisley said he would arrange the meeting, and Carinci invited him to come down to Newport to a party on April 14th or 15th.  Paisley said he would, but he never kept the date.

 Withrow Enters the Case

 At about 4 p.m. on the afternoon of April 14, the phone rang in the office of a commercial photographer named Thomas Withrow, who lives in Highland Heights, a town near Newport.  Withrow's wife's grandmother, Mrs. Nancy Hay, answered the phone.

 A man's voice asked for Withrow, and when Mrs. Hay told him that the photographer wasn't home, he left a message for Mr. Withrow to call him as soon as possible.  He gave his name as Mr. Lester.  Withrow came home at 5 p.m. and returned the call.  It was to Charles Lester, attorny for the Tropicana.

In sworn testimony about his conversation with Lester, Withrow described it as follows: "First of all, he says, 'I didn't know you were taking pictures," and I said 'Yeah, about eight years,' and he said that I was to go down to the Glenn Hotel and see a fellow name of Marty, and I said, 'But what for?' he said, "Well, to take some pictures." And then he went on to say, "You will be paid very well for doing this,' and I sent ahead and said, 'OK." And then he said 'I got your name from Bill Wise, the commonwealth attorney for Campbell county'…I had done work for Bill Wise because I'm also a photographer for the Fiscal Court in this county."

 Withrow says Lester ordered him to drive to the hotel-night-club-gambling-casino immediately, which he did.  He arrived about 5:15 p.m. and asked for Marty.

 A man, later identified as Edward Anthony Buccieri (an owner of the Tropicana and the Glenn Hotel, who goes by the name of Marty), came out of the bar to meet him.  He took Withrow into a back room that the photographer identified as the hotel's old casino.

 Withrow testified: "Well, he started talking like I knew exactly what was going on.  I guess he figured Lester had set this up already.  I don't know, but he says, "Now we want you to take this picture.  It'll be of a man and a woman." He didn't mention no names.  I said. 'Well, do you want one or two taken?' I always take two regardless of how many they want.  He said 'Only take one . . .' I said, 'What will it be in?' He said, 'It will be in a room. Now, we'll open the door, you take the picture and jump out. We will protect you.' So then I got a little scared.  I thought, 'What the hell am I getting myself into here?' and he said, ''Now, don't worry, you'll be well taken care of,' so I said, 'Well, O.K.' Five bucks is well taken care of with me.  So I took out a card, and it's a new card out at the new address, and I circled my night number, and said, ''Now you can get a hold of me here…" Then I got in the car, and the minute I got outside, I said to myself, 'Well, hell, I don't want anything to do with this place.' I went on home."

 Three days after this incident, on April 17, Paisley arrived belatedly from Medina to see Ratterman.  He had dinner at the Ratterman house and told Ratterman of Carinci's desire to see him about his impending reformation.  Ratterman agreed to talk to Carinci on Paisley's next trip to Newport.  When Paisley left the Ratterman home, he went to the Tropicana to deliver the message to Carinci.  Ratterman more or less forgot about it.  He was busy with his campaign for sheriff.  Since he had agreed to run, the Committee of 500 had grown to more than 2500 members.

 They Went to See Carinci

 Paisley's next trip to Newport was on May 8.  He met Ratterman in downtown Cincinnati, and they had several cocktails and dinner.  Then they drove across the river to see Carinci.  When I later asked Ratterman why he wanted to see Carinci, he said, "For two reasons, first, if he really wanted to get himself straightened out, I felt I could help him.  Besides, we're both Catholics, and the fact that Carinci was in the rackets was embarrassing to my brother, who was Carinci's dean at the university, and to a Catholic Bishop in Steubenville, Ohio, a very good friend of mine, who had sponsored Carinci and helped him go to Xavier.  The second reason was that I was curious.  Carinci didn't know Paisley too well, and when he approached him about seeing me, I thought he might make a bribe offer that I could expose and turn to my advantage.  I guess I had been watching The Untouchables too much on TV."

 Ratterman and Paisley arrived at the Tropicana at about 11 p.m.  Ratterman waited outside, because he didn't want to be seen in the gambling joint, and Paisley went in.  He was informed that Carinci was dining in the Terrace Hilton Hotel in Cincinnati and would like to meet them there.  Ratterman left his car in Newport, and they drove back together in Paisley's car.  They found Carinci in a little bar outside the Gourmet Room and sat down to talk.  Ratterman remembers having only one drink there.  After that, everything became a blur.

 Ratterman told me, "I don't remember being in a car, but suddenly I was aware that someone was giving directions to park a car in extremely close quarters.  The next thing I remember is being in someone's apartment and that I probably was eating because there was a knife and a fork in my hands.  I remember going to the bathroom through a bedroom and feeling so weak that I wanted to lie down on the bed, and I knew I shouldn't, but finally I couldn't help it anymore, and I did.  The next thing I remember was a ruckus, and some men in the room and a female form in a red dress and someone pulling at my clothes."

 Later events proved that the apartment in which Ratterman found himself was Carinci's, Room 314 at the Glenn Hotel.  Carinci said that while drinking in the anteroom of the Gourmet Room in Cincinnati, Paisley and Ratterman had both insisted "on going across the river to find girls," and that he had driven them to his apartment, after stopping off for several drinks in another Cincinnati bar called the Caucus Room.  Carinci later testified that they arrived at the Tropicana at 1:30 a.m.  Rita Desmond, a stripper in the Tropicana floor show, confirmed this by testifying that Carinci asked her to come to his apartment "to have a drink with some men" shortly after she finished her act, which began at 1:30.  A second stripper, Juanita Hodges, was called to the apartment by Carinci shortly thereafter.

 At 1:35, five minutes after Ratterman arrived at the Tropicana, the telephone rang in the apartment of photographer Thomas Withrow.  His wife answered the phone.  Mrs. Withrow says, "He asked for Tom Withrow.  Tom was not at home.  He said he needed tom right away… He said he wanted a picture taken and how soon could I reach him.  I said that it would be approximately ten minutes before I could reach him.  I asked him who was calling and he hesitated and said, 'This is Marty.  Have him call Marty at the Glenn Hotel,' and he said he would wait for the call." Mrs. Withrow hung up.  She made no attempt to contact her husband, because he had told her he didn't want to have anything to do with the job.  Ten minutes later, the phone rang again, and Mrs. Withrow didn't answer.  The phone rang intermittently, every few minutes, until 3 a.m.

 At exactly 2:32 a.m., Desk Sergeant Robert McSorley at the Newport police headquarters got a call.  A voice asked if Detective Pat Ciafardini was there.  McSorley said, "He's not on duty tonight, but he just happens to be here."  He put Ciafardini on the phone.  Ciafardini listened for a minute, hung up, and said to McSorley, "There's a run-in for Car 2.  Prostitution. Room 314, Glenn Hotel, Ratterman involved."  McSorley asked Ciafardini if he would make the run with the detectives and he agreed.

 According to the police blotter, Squad Car 2 left the station at 2:34 a.m.  Ciafardini went along, with Detectives Upshire White and Joseph Quitter.  All three detectives say they made the run to the Glenn Hotel in four or five minutes, battled with Carinci in front of the elevator when he attempted to prevent them from going upstairs, burst into the room, and found Ratterman and Miss Hodges both nearly undressed and in bed.  They claim there was a prolonged scuffle with Ratterman as they attempted to get him to put his trousers on.  Ciafardini testified, 'I picked up his trousers and throwed them in his lap, and I says, 'Put them on.'"

 Ratterman got home at 3:30

 Finally, the detectives wapped him in a bedspread and took him and Mis Hidges to the police station to be booked.  They were booked at 2:49 a.m., or exactly 15 minuts after the squad car left the station.  Ratterman was released on bail by his attorney, Henry Cook, and returned home at 3:30 a.m.  His trousers were badly torn at the top.  He was incoherent and his wife put him to bed.  She later said, "I wasn't upset at George having done anything wrong.  I've lived in Campbell County too long, and I know too much about the pattern of what the mob does to reformers.  Up until that moment, I had been against George's running for sheriff.  Now I'm 100 per cent for it."

 In the morning, Mrs. Ratterman called their family physician, Dr. Carl Anderson, because Ratterman was still groggy and incoherent.  Dr. Anderson examined Ratterman's eyes and reflexes and rushed him to St. Luke's Hospital to take samples of his blood and urine.  He sent to samples to Dr Frank Cleveland, director of research at the Kettering Laboratory and pathologist for the coroner both in Cincinnati and Newport.  Dr. Cleveland - as he later testified - found one-half gram of chloral hydrate (knockout drops) in Ratterman's blood.

 Dr. Cleveland testified that Ratterman still had one-half gram in his blood at 9:15 of the morning after it had been ingested.  Assuming it had been taken about eight hours before, he believed the original dosage exceeded the normal sedative dosage of one gram.  Dr. Cleveland also testified that chloral hydrate is a depressant that induces sleep and can cause a certain amount of confusion and lack of clear judgment.

 Juanita Hodges, alias April Flowers, went on trial on May 16.  Because no one had seen her accept money or perform an act of intimacy with Ratterman, the charges against her were reduced from prostitution to breach of the peace.  Ratterman's trial began on May 17. (There was such a huge crowd for both trials that the proceedings had to be moved from the police court to a more capacious courtroom.) All the principals in the case testified, and during the time the three detectives were on the stand, it was observed that several FBI men in the room paid rapt attention and took notes.

 The cross examination of Detective Ciafardini by Ratterman's lawyer, Henry Cook, was interesting.  When asked how he just happened to be in police headquarters when the tip-off came in, since he was off duty, Ciafardini explained that he had just returned from attending the Fraternal Order of Police at Bowling Green.  He then added that he didn't go directly to police headquarters, but dropped in at the Tropicana "for maybe fifteen, twenty minutes or so," to have a drink and watch the strippers.

 Ciafardini admitted that he knew the place "had a reputation for being a gambling establishment and a house of prostitution," but provoked laughter from the audience by saying that he had never seen gambling there.  He admitted that he had then gone to the Embassy Bar and "had five or six bottle of beer." (The Embassy Bar is owned by one Saul Polinsky, who was named by the Kefauver Committee hearings as a bookie receiving an illegal horse-race wire in his establishment.  Polinsky is an associate member of the Newport Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police and generally is a convivial guest at their parties.)

 The Case Collapses

 After leaving the Embassy Bar, said Ciafardini, he went to police headquarters about 2 a.m. to transfer his luggage to his car from that of another policeman.  That is how he happened to be there when the call came in.

 The case against Ratterman began to collapse when Dr. Cleveland testified that chloral hydrate had been administered to him.  It collapsed completely when Cook brought photographer Withrow, his wife, and his wife's grandmother to testify about phone calls from Attorney Lester (who represented April Flowers and Tito Carinci in this trial) and Mary Buccieri.  At the end of Mrs. Withrow's testimony, at 1:40 p.m. on May 20, the city prosecutor, Thomas Hirschfield, rose and, as a dramatic silence fell over the courtroom, said, "I've always practiced law honestly, and never a word can be said about my integrity in court.  I've known Tom Withrow for a number of years, and I'm inclined to believe his testimony . . . I’d like to move to dismiss this case."  Judge Joseph Rolf looked up, then, pounding his gavel, he said, "Let the case be dismissed."  The strange ordeal of George Ratterman was over.

 The aftermath, however, will be felt for some time to come.

 In an exclusive interview at the Governor's Mansion in Frankfort, Ky., Gov. Bert Combs told me, 'The results of the Ratterman case have convince me that it's time for the state to move against those gamblers who are so solidly entrenched in Newport and Campbell County.  The crisis has been reached there.  Public sentiment is now on the side of law and order, and we’re going to clean up this mess once and for all.

 A Five-pronged Attack

 Governor Combs revealed to me that he has instituted a five-pronged attacked against the gamblers.  First, he is sending his Alcoholic Beverage Control investigators to make unceasing raids against the gambling casinos for liquor violations.  (At least three casinos, the Yorkshire, the 633 Club and the Snax Bar, have arrogantly been selling drinks without liquor licenses for years.)

 Second, the Governor is sending in his state fire marshals to close up the casinos for any infraction of the strict Kentucky fire laws. (This is the method used by former Governor Lausche [of Ohio] in eliminating the casinos that once flourished in Steubenville, Ohio.)

Third, the Governor has instituted ouster proceedings against four top Campbell County law enforcement officials, including Newport's police chief, George Gugel, who has since retired.  The governor will add others to this list, as petitions against them are filed with him.

 Fourth, he will start injunction proceedings by the attorney general to close up gambling joints that continue to operate without liquor licenses.

 Fifth, and most important, the Governor has declared a state of emergency in Campbell County and sent the state police in to find witnesses and serve them with subpoenas.  Before he took this action, the Governor told me, "This is a serious step, and I will only take it as a last resort, but if these people continue to be contemptuous of state agencies and openly defy the orders of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and the fire marshals, I will not hesitate to put the county under emergency law with the state police.

 Governor Combs gave me an unqualified endorsement of George Ratterman's candidacy for sheriff.  He said, "I think the Committee of 500 and their counsel, Henry Cook, are sound, and I will co-operate with them.  If Ratterman wins in November, it will be a tremendous boost for law enforcement.  If he loses, it will be a tremendous setback."

 Ratterman himself is fighting mad.  Tito Carinci and Thomas Paisley went to trail in Newport on June 19 on a charge of conspiracy to frame Ratterman.  Ratterman had already spoken publicly in Paisley's defense, insisting that Paisley had been duped and doped just as he had been.  The case was tried before Circuit Judge Ray Murphy and was prosecuted by Commonwealth Attorney William J. Wise.  When Paisley's attorney moved to dismiss the charges against his client, Judge Murphy dismissed the case against both defendants, since the charge of conspiracy had not been established.

 Ratterman told me, "If I'm elected, the meaning of the word 'liberal' will disappear around here.  There are statutes on the books, which I'll enforce, that give me the power to arrest people who are merely patrons of the gambling casinos and horse parlors.  They can get fines of up to $100 and 30 days ion jail - which ought to be a deterrent.  Also, there's a statute, which I'll use, that enables me to commission and arm as many deputy sheriffs as I want - just like in the Old West.  If necessary, I'll deputize a hundred armed men to close down the casinos and houses of prostitution."

 US Attorney General Robert Kennedy is fighting mad too.  An old admirer of Ratterman from his football-playing days, Kennedy specifically singled out the Newport situation in his request to Congress for new legislation to enable the justice department to fight big-time mobsters who operate across state lines.  Ever since the Ratterman incident, Kennedy has had FBI men and other government investigators swarming all over the Newport area, looking for evidence that Ratterman may have been kidnapped across a state line or that his civil rights might have been violated by the police.

 Besides all this, a Campbell County grand jury, in September, indicted almost the entire Newport city government.  It charged that 133 officials had conspired to obstruct justice by permitting widespread vice.  Named in the indictments were the mayor, the city manager, three city commissioners, George Gugel, retired police chief, a retired detective and six policemen.  Included among the policemen were Edward Gugel, Upshire White and Pat Ciafardini.

 The grand jury also recommended that the October grand jury continue the probe.  Special Circuit Judge Edward G. Hill directed the next jury to carry out this recommendation.

 And so one of the last and oldest of America's sin cities may soon go the way of Phenix City, Ala., and many others.  It is another stirring example of what can happen when an outraged citizenry acts.  It proves that the mob is not unbeatable.
 

 
 
from Look Magazine, October 24, 1961