Charles Frederick Lindauer (1836-1921) in Report and proceedings of the Senate committee appointed to investigate the police department of the city of New York, 1895, pages 3276-3280
By Mr. Goff:
Q. Now, we have heard something about policy here, and yet I think it would be interesting to the committee to hear and to have placed upon the record how the policy business is conducted as between the writers or the backers of the game, and the persons who play policy?
A. Well, you want a description of how the game is run?
Q. I do?
A. Well, in the first place these drawings are supposed to be drawn in Covington and Frankfort.
Q. Two lotteries?
A. Yes; it is legalized there; two lotteries, one in Covington and one in Frankfort; this is supposed to come by cipher, by the Western Union Telegraph Company; that is the cipher it comes in; that is supposed to be 26 numbers at night, and 24 in the morning; that is 13 words (indicating paper); I do not understand them, and they do not, and only one man knows them, E. J. Conlon, in Jersey City, is the man.
Q. What is his right name?
A. That is not his right name; nobody knows; I do not know that he does himself.
Q. Is he a distinguished man in the society?
A. He is the secret man; there are three other secret men; they sell these drawings to the backers in New York, and these three men control the business only; this Conlon does all of their private confidential work; probably they do not know his name.
Q. Do you know the names of those three men?
A. No, sir; I do not; and nobody else, I guess, but themselves; none of these people go under their right name; one of the names I think he went by, I think is by the name of Hughes, one of them.
Q. Now, you say that two messages come over the Western Union wires every day?
A. One at one o'clock in the afternoon and one at six in the evening.
Q. And each letter represents a certain number?
A. They probably represent more than one; there are two lotteries, and each one of them contains 12 figures, and there is 13 words there; I cannot tell you what that meant, I can not decipher them, or anybody else, and even the backers can not do it, in New York city; this Conlon is the only one can do it. Q This telegram is dated Cincinnati, Ohio?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. "To P. J. Conlon, Jersey City; Window Dear, Harvest, Lattice, Buggy, Signal, Emptiness, Welcome, Fortune, Legacy, Consent; Bank, Post?"
A. No signature.
Q. No signature?
A. No signature, never; Cincinnati is right opposite Covington, and across the river, and they are carried across and sent by telegram.
Q. Now, there are different words used upon each telegram?
A. Every day the words are different; in case the drawings should be detained-now, say, there is a common running slip there; in case they shall draw the same numbers next week, those words would be different.
Q. They are, generally every day?
A. Every day. Q You hand me what is called a running slip?
A. Yes, sir; there are lots of them there; there are some plays in that too.
Q. What are those letters in those different columns?
A. Those are the figures; those are the numbers that are drawn.
Q. Now, let us understand, when this telegraph message is received in Jersey City from Kentucky, then the cipher is transcribed, and the numbers given out by this Conlon, is that it?
A. Yes, sir; and sent over the telephone to all the main backers; that is, over the telephone to Jersey City, and they send it all over the telephone to the policy shops in the city; and the policy shop have prints and stamps, and they print it; that is not official; if you are hit you are not satisfied to pay off on that; there is an official print.
Q. This is an official print?
A. That is what they pay off by.
Q. How are those official prints gotten up in a short time?
A. They have a place they can do what they want to.
Q. A printing office?
A. Yes, their own private printing offices.
Q. And these printed slips are the official ones?
A. They are official to protect the writers, each one gets one of them, that is all.
Q. You said, Mr. Carney, that but one man, this Conlon, in Jersey City, that he has got the power, and the means of giving out the numbers for the successful or winning policies?
A. Yes, sir; he has got full power.
Q. And all the drawings of policies in this city or in Brooklyn and the neighborhood are dependent upon the numbers that this one man gives out?
A. Yes, sir; he has charge of all the surrounding country until you reach Albany; there is another man in Albany; there is two of these cipher messages come, one to Conlon and one to this man in Albany; he has charge of Syracuse and Troy and all that part of the district
Q. The man in Albany?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. There must be considerable telephoning and telegraphic work?
A. Each one of these backers have a long distance telephone in their office, in their private headquarters, a long distance telephone; they have their names in the telephone book, but there is also a fictitious name-a real estate office, may be, or something of that kind.
Q. Now, could you tell us how many of those backers are in the city of New York?
A. I can name them off for you.
Q. Name them, if you can?
A. Al Adams, Jake Shipsey
Q. Why do you put Al Adams first?
A. Al has the most number of sheets, and he is the biggest man, and has the most money, and has the biggest pile.
Q. He is called the king of the policy dealers, isn't he?
A. Yes; and there is Jake Shipsey; he is another big man; Cornelius P. Parker, and Billy Meyers, and Ed. Hogan, and Charlie Lindauer, Dick Gammon; how many is that; (the stenographer states the number); Morton-Billy Morton, Murray -if I seen the names I could tell you.
Q. If they occur to you again, all right?
A. Yes; all right.
Q. Now, can you state of these 14 or 15 policybackers in this city, if they have the city divided up into districts?
A. Oh, yes; they, some of them, join together; now, they all work rather together, except Parker; he, as Parker says, he has to buck against the whole lot of them.
Q. You are acquainted with all of those men?
A. Oh, yes; Parker, he has to buck against the whole lot of them; Al Adams, Billy Meyer, and Shipsey, and Morton, and all those fellows work together.
Q. On a sort of combine?
A. Yes; Jake Shipsey takes all the "put-off play" that these backers are afraid to back; a gig, for $1,000 for one of these backers, he may be afraid to take it, and he puts it on for Jake Shipsey; Shipsey takes most of the "put-off play;" that is, the big play; he has got plenty of money, Jake has.
Q. What class of people mostly indulge in this policy business?
A. It differs; sometimes the prosperous people; down town, it is the poor class, the Jewish people, and up town, it is the negroes, and go up town in Little Italy, they are Italians, and some places of business men; on the other side are lots of brokers around in places.
Q. What amounts are generally risked upon these plays?
A. That depends upon the people, you know; go down around Eldridge and Stanton streets, they play penny and two-cent gigs; you go up town and they play from 15 to 25-cents, and sometimes $1, and you go to Little Italy, and they play all sorts; and you come down where the brokers play, they put down $100 or $50, and they play according to their means; just the same as any other men do in their gambling. By Senator Bradley:
Q. They would go as low as two cents?
A. Oh, a penny; come in and beg you to trust a penny.
Q. Are there not many women who play?
A. Lots of them, and come in with children on their arms, and babies on their arms.
Q. Do children play?
A. Lots of them; school children come in with books on their arms.
Q. Is there any attempt at concealment?
A. Some places; there is places there where they call the safe ward, Captain Seibert's precinct, in Madison street; there used to be a place over a blacksmith's shop, and they used to go in from school after 12 o'clock with their mother's play with books on their arms and the copper used to watch at the door for us.
By Chairman Lexow:
Q. Who, a policeman?
A. Yes; sure; with a big beard. By Senator Bradley:
Q. So that the children would not get hurt?
A. So that we would not get hurt, I guess.
By Chairman Lexow:
Q. They were not protecting the children, were they?
A. No, sir, we do not think so. Iy Mr. Goff:
Q. You have written in a good many shops in this city?
A. Lots of them, all over this city. B.
Q. So you are thoroughly familiar with the game and all its workings.
Q. Now, I ask you about whether or no these backers divided up certain portions of the city, and you have not answered my question yet upon that point, as I would like you to?
A. Well, to a certain extent; now, Gammon, he has mostly down about South and Broad streets; they come up a little further; and Lindauer has a new place; he is a small fry backer; you come up, and Billy Meyers is a backer on the east side, around the Hebrew district, and up about as far as Sixth street; and you get up above that, then Morton and Murray have a good many places, and Hogan; and up above Fourteenth street Parker's places up to Harlem, Ninety-eighth street and One Hundredth street, and along around there.
Q. That is the east side?
A. Yes; Al Adams has from Fourteenth street up on the west side mostly; nobody else can go in there, it is impossible; and down below that Hogan, and Murray and Meyers, and all the rest of them have them on the west side.
By Mr. Goff:
Q. By what means do those backers divide up the city between them; for instance, Al Adams has the territory from Fourteenth Street to Harlem river; how can he have that territory for himself?
A. I don't know; if you wanted to do the: same thing, I suppose, and went over there and fixed the captain not to let any other place run, he would not let anyone else there.
Q. Is that the means by which these backers obtain exclusive business in a certain district?
A. So far as I or anybody else is concerned, it is.
Q. You know the business thoroughly from top to bottom?
A. Yes, sir.
By Chairman Lexow:
Q. When you said, as you did a moment ago, did you state an inference that you would draw from your observation, or did you state a fact within your knowledge
A. No observation.
Q. You stated a fact within your knowledge?
A. Yes; can give you an instance.
By Mr. Goff:
Q. Let us have instance?
A. Billy Mceyers' man was going to open a place fir him in T-w ntj — in h street; he says, "Carney, we will have to go.and see the captain;" I said there is a place across the street, but he is doing no business; I think we can run him out; "We will have to see the captain;" the captain said we could not open there; he said, it was too near; -' ou must not take the living out of that man's mouth;" that is the Twenty-first precinct, Captain Martens; and he said he Stcu Captain Martens, and he said he could not open there, it was too close to t 't othll place,;nd oullI not open in that precinct; he wanted me to upen iii even'.e Lh street, Meyers wanted me to; he wanted me to open the place in Seventeenth street; and I don't remember the captain over there now, what precinct it is in; anyhow it was between Seventh And Eight Avenue; a friend of mine opened the house there and wanted to rent me a floor in it to open, and I told these people and they said, "Well, we will see the captain," and he seen the captain; he said. I could open whenever I got ready; I said, "How is that, Dick:" that is the head man's name; "that you can open there at all:" I said. "I thought Al Adams had that:" "Al Adams and 1 are good friends:" he said. "And we went down and he saw the captain for me."
Q. Do you know Al Adams?
A. Not personally.
Q. In these two conversations you have given, did you personally have any conversation with any of the captains?
A. No, sir; we would not be allowed to do that.
Q. The backer is the only one to do that?
A. The backer or his head men. or his manager.
Q. Did you in any of these cases see the backer go to the precinct station-house?
A. I went over to the west side one night with the backer to see this captain; whether he went over I don't know; I left him at the place I was.going to open; he said he would go around and see the captain; I did not see him any more that night; I could not swear he went into the station-house.
Q. Do you know from your knowledge of the business whether or no these backers paid money to the police?
A. Why, certainly; they can not help themselves.
Q. They can not help themselves?
A. They could not open if they did not; they would not be open 12 hours in a ward without having the coppers on them if the~ did not pay them.
Q. Do you know of any cases where the policy shops were open where they refused to pay, or had forgotten to pay?
A. Oh, no; they know better.
Q. Is it a recognized system and rule among the policy dealers in this city to go to the police and arrange for the paying of the police before it can be opened?
Q. Is there a specific sum agreed upon for each place?
A. Well, I suppose some districts; they may pay more; now up in the Twenty-first precinct, Captain Marten's precinct, there is a middle-man there named Richard Dore. and when this Parkhurst crusade was around last winter, if you remember, which they closed up so many places, or in the spring or winter, the captain told him to close: he could not open; and he refused to pay his money - that month's money; and so they bothered him; I was working for him at that time, and they bothered him very much. and chased him around. and chase you out on the street and out of the place; and consequently, he says to me one day or he says, in my presence to a friend in there. I heard him - he says, there is no wonder they are bothering me; they are bothering me to the devil: I haven't paid my $35 this month, and I do not propose to until I open; he says, I am $70 in on this month. and he owned two places, and they wouldn't let him open.
Q. Now, is there any arrangement entered into between the backers and the policy writers, as to their proportionate share of this payment to the police?
A. No. sir.
Q. How is that arranged?
A. All the backers pay everything; the backers pay everything.
Q. Well, it depends on how you are writing your book; if you are writing your book on interest and commission, you get 12 1-2 per cent. commission of the gross proceeds, and 25 per cent. of the earnings at the end of the month; if you are simply writing on commission, you only get 12 1-2 per cent.; but if you are writing on commission and earnings, 25 per cent. at the end of the month, the money that is paid out for all expenses is deducted. then you get your 25 per cent. of the earnings that is left.
Q. I notice here upon this printed slip - this is what they call the ccl'l slip?
A. Yes, sir.
*Source: Report and proceedings of the Senate committee appointed to investigate the police department of the city of New York, 1895, pages 3276-3280