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ALFRED "JAKE" LINGLE
Chicago Tribune reporter who courted both sides of the Chicago mob and paid for it.
Alfred Philip 'Jake' Lingle was not really a reporter, but more what they called a 'leg man'. He would go from place to place finding crime stories, mostly gang related and phone them in to the Tribune where another reporter would write up the story in his place. Jake had made many friends and enemies in the underworld of Chicago.
What got him killed? Jake Lingle's friendship with Commissioner Russell got him privileged info on raids. Lingle had joint accounts with Russell in diverse investments. Russell would do favors for his old friend such as holding back raids against gambling establishements and booze offenses. Jake would take payola from the mobsters whom he promised could run their establishments hassle free. As Capone once said about Hymie Weiss and applied to Jake "His head has got too big for his hat". Jake got cocky demanding more and more from the mobsters stating that he decides what the going rate is for booze in Chicago. He assumed that his status as Russell's and Al Capone's friend and by being a reporter that no one would dare kill him.
1922, Alfred Lingle just married, went to Cuba with his wife. John Torrio and his wife accompanied them for the voyage.
Lingle was hobnobbing with top gangsters and that gave him the false sense of security that his being a reporter would make him immune to gang bullets.
He was right to a certain point. This rule no longer applied when his arrogance of failing to return $2,500 to Jack Zuta for an unfulfilled promise of opening a gang venture fell through. Jake was dealing with gangs and their rivals at the same time. This incensed Capone who refused to meet up with him after his release from the Philadelphia prison.
Well, he was wrong. The week before he was killed, Al no longer accepted calls from Jake. He began to finding out that Jake catered also to Capone's enemies. This left Jake in a panicky state. He had also double crossed some of the Northside faction by telling them they would have no problem from police in opening a gambling den and then right before opening night he forbade them from opening stating that unless more money was paid to him, then they would be raided. The Northsiders refused to pay more and Jake had them raided. June 9th 1930, Jake leaves his suite at The Stevens Hotel and has breakfast early lunch (Brunch) at the Hotel Sherman. He notices that he is followed. He lets one of his aquaintances know of this and decides to head off to the racetrack. (His hobby). He walks over to the Randolph street tunnel buys a racing form when he is waved at by two men in a car who yell to him "Play Hy Schneider!" at the racetrack. Jake waves back and yells "I got him!" as he enters the Illinois track tunnel. The wave was probably to put the finger on Jake so that the killer would know who he was. In the tunnel the man with grey gloves lifts the .38 to Jake's head just behind his ear and squeezes the trigger. Jake falls dead and all hell breaks loose as the killer runs in one direction and then doubles back jumping over the guard rail the fake priest that was in on the hit also runs away.
The whole hit was prepared and financed by Northside ally Jack Zuta. He was later gunned down in hiding in a roadhouse.
Jake Lingle's place of work. The Chicago Tribune building. Jake rarely made an appearance here and mostly called in his stories to the trib.
(Photo courtesy of Mark Kennedy)
On the way to the racetrack, Jake Lingle was shot behind the ear by a passerby wearing grey gloves. A priest on the scene was seen fleeing thus leading police to believe he was a mock priest in on the hit.This was odd because it would be more than normal for a priest to help a dying man. Jake still clenched a burning cigar in his mouth when help finally arrived.
Big crowds gather after Lingle is shot and police arrives.
Grey silk glove found near murder scene in tunnel.
Actual .38 caliber "Detective Special"model that was used to kill Jake Lingle.
Map showing how hit might have gone down.
Another view of how hit went down.
Patrolman Anthony Ruthy ran after one of the supposed killers. Ruthy had a series of problems remembering due to a serious head injury he suffered earlier in his police career. He was kept on the force and used to direct traffic not far from where Lingle was hit.
A big state funeral with bands and military and Naval were given to the heroic Lingle who supposedly died by just reporting the news.
It was later found out that there was much more involved. The public would find out they had been duped by a not so honest reporter who played all sides of the field with Chicago gangland.
Lingle Mass with military honors at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church.
Close up of Lingle's flag draped coffin.Thousands of people were lined up outside the church.
Jake Lingle's two children Alfred Jr. and Dolores. In back is Lingle's mother with his stepfather.
Jake Lingle's wife Helen Sullivan with his brother Ted Lingle.
Helen Sullivan Lingle's wife.
Jake Lingle's mother
Rewards offered by Tribune for identifying the Killer.
Bank deposits show that Lingle a $65 dollar a week reporter
was making way more than he should. He was also wearing a $I50 diamond studded belt buckle given to him by none other than Al Capone.It was reported that Jake favored Al many times in his Tribune stories leaving Al in a nice view towards readers.He also tipped off Al of any police raids through his friendship with Commissioner Russell.
This is one of the actual diamond studded belt buckles given by Capone to friends such as Jake Lingle.
William F. Russell lost not only his reporter friend, but also his job due to the underworld dealings of Jake. All of their financial dealings together went down the tubes when the stock market crashed in '29.
$25,000 home near Michigan City that belong to Jake Lingle. Jake had a home in Chicago for his wife and kids and lived himself at The Stevens hotel on Michigan Boulevard.These various homes and lodgings were hardly affordable for the regular reporter.
Convicted of the Jake Lingle murder Leo Vincent Brothers aka Vincent Bader was used as scapegoat. Brothers got eight years and said after the verdict "I can do that standing on my head".
Interesting note, Brothers was once a manager/bouncer at the famous Green Mill in Chicago.
Frank "Frankie" Foster, also known as Frost. Often erroneously referred as being named Citro or Bruna. Foster was of Roumanian Jewish heritage. He was part of the early Northside mob and later switched to the Capone gang. He wasn't the only gangster to change alligiance. Many Northside gangsters such as Ted Newberry was known also for leaving to join Capone's outfit. While suspected, he was found not guilty of killing Lingle, Foster was only traced to the gun used on Lingle. He had purchased it along with other guns at Peter Von Frantzius's sporting goods store. Frost will return to California and be involved in gambling. He will die there in the late 1960's.
On July 1, 1930, Frank Foster is picked up and jailed by police in Los Angeles. They were alerted by Chicago Detectives. He is picked up on suspicion of furnishing the gun that killed reporter Alfred 'Jake' Lingle. Foster was known in Chicago as the 'keeper of the arsenal' for the Moran mob.
Pasqualino "Patsy" Tardi, Jake Lingle's real killer.
Lingle's Death was due to betrayal and greed.
(Photo donated by the kindness of Mr. Mark Taylor)
It's important to understand why Lingle ended up at this stage before his death. He was a $35 a week reporter living lavishly. He had homes, lived in apts, hotel rooms, loved to travel and loved to gamble. All this cost money. To get the maximum money to support his lifestyle, he sold police info to the mob and mob info to rival gangs. His thinking that even if they got sore, no one would dare kill a reporter, especially a reporter with dirt on them. That thinking was his death knell.
There were two competing dog tracks, one named the Hawthorne (Capone), and the other The Fairview Kennels (Northsiders). Jake went into business with the Northsiders to open another dog track that was soon to be opened on the Westside. It was a place called The Stadium. Jake promised that for $2500 he could get it opened and unmolested from the law. Lingle took the money, but then reneged his promise and the deal fell through. To add insult to injury, Lingle never got around to giving back the $2,500 to Jack Zuta. Lingle said he would not pay a cent back. Angry at being snubbed, Zuta immediately financed Lingle's murder. When the original hitman declined to whack Jake, an ex 42 member, now Zuta henchman Pasqualino "Patsy" Tardi stepped in to shoot Lingle behind the head in the underground tunnel. Patsy had to step in after his choice chickened out. The hit was going to be simple enough. A couple of men were sent in to run in all directions to commit a smokescreen confusing the onlookers when Lingle was shot. All involved will be eventually killed (Zuta, Aiello). As for Tardi, he will be killed a several months later Polk and Miller streets in Chicago. Capone gangster Sam Hunt was first a suspect when officials tried to pin the Lingle murder on the Capone mob. Hunt had a solid alibi when it was uncovered that he was in Detroit during the week of Lingle's murder. Capone at that time was sore at Lingle for double crossing him by using his friendship and info from him to side with the Moran mob, especially since an agreement was reached in Atlantic City by all the gangsters not to open any new horse or dog tracks in Chicago. While only sore at Lingle, Capone did not want Jake dead. Zuta on the other hand, was too vengeful and took immediate action. After the dust settles, Leo Vincent Brothers, will be the scapegoat that goes to prison for the Jake Lingle murder. This was for a payday or for a pass at a past gambling debt he owed the outfit. This gesture was also done to appease the public, police and the warring gangsters.
Zuta gang member Patsy Tardi is paid back by the Capone mob for his killing of Jake Lingle .
First Posted March 2004