Fain Named in Vice Quiz as Resort Visitor

by Archivist on October 26, 2016

Mayor James G. Woodward (left), leaving Grand Jury room after testifying in vice probe; Thomas B. Felder (middle), who exonerates Beavers of graft charges but declares war on Lanford; Carl Hutcheson (right), who gave Grand Jury list of "houses in our midst."

Mayor James G. Woodward (left), leaving Grand Jury room after testifying in vice probe; Thomas B. Felder (middle), who exonerates Beavers of graft charges but declares war on Lanford; Carl Hutcheson (right), who gave Grand Jury list of “houses in our midst.”

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, June 4th, 1913

Police Commissioner Accused Before Grand Jury of Brawl in Disorderly House.

As a climax of revelations made before the Grand Jury in its probe of vice conditions in Atlanta, Police Commissioner William F. Fain was named as the central figure in a carousal said to have been held in a house on Ivy Street some months ago, according to evidence presented at the Wednesday afternoon session.

Mr. Fain was also accused of brutally treating one of the women in the party. When the police answered the woman’s screams and raided the place, it was said that Fain was arrested, but was immediately released by order of a man high up in police circles.

This startling information was given the Grand Jury by a real estate operator and friend of Fain’s who was summoned by the tribunal to give testimony.

Whisky For Resorts.

Before the witness left the hearing, it is declared that he laid bare one of the most sensational stories of vice ever brought to light in this city. That the Grand Jury will probably probe to the bottom of it, and that its veracity will be given the acid test before any action is taken is assured.

Another witness at the afternoon hearing was J. E. Skags, agent for the Southern Express Company. Mr. Skags was asked to testify as to shipments of whisky and other liquors into Atlanta to places of ill-fame.

Chief Beavers also was called before the Grand Jury during the afternoon session. The police official is declared to have told the jurors that to his knowledge Atlanta was better morally at this time than ever before. The chief will be called again later in the investigation.

Chief Beavers Cleared.

Elimination of Chief of Police Beavers from all charges of graft and corruption in the Police Department, made by Colonel Thomas B. Felder, marked the second day’s probe by the Fulton County Grand Jury.

Colonel Felder made this distinction to Chief Beavers personally, and in so doing renewed his accusations against Chief of Detectives Newport A. Lanford.

At the same time it was said evidence of corruption money being paid to the police had been given the Grand Jury.

There was a dramatic situation in the ante-room to the Grand Jury room when Felder, Beavers and Lanford confronted each other. Many hot words were flung back and forth.

“I want to say to you right here,” declared Felder to the police chief, “that I have never made one single charge of graft against you. I do accuse the other chief at the police station of protecting vice, and I have a superabundance of evidence to prove it. I will prove it”

Bribery To Be Probed.

Another unexpected turn in the investigation was revealed at the morning session when it became known that the Grand Jury will take up immediately the bribery charges made against Colonel Felder by the Police Department and counter-accusations growing out of their dictograph episode.

Colonel Felder appeared before the tribunal at its morning session and demanded that the dictograph conspiracy be probed to bed rock. The attorney based his demand upon his own desire for exoneration of the sensational accusations. He declared to the jurymen that the charges were absolutely false and the result of an attempt to blacken his reputation; that justice to himself called for a speedy investigation; that participants in the affair be summoned and the matter settled.

Mr. Felder declared that the investigation Thursday would follow his own charges that the police had altered the dictograph record alleged to have been taken of his conversation with Colyar and Febuary at the Williams House.

The attorney has made the assertion that the record was elaborated by police officials from the chief of detectives’ office and that in swearing to the truth of the conversation perjury had been committed. Mr. Felder averred that strenuous prosecution of this phase of the controversy would be made.

Call Colyar and Febuary.

As a result of the attorney’s demands, the Grand Jury issued summonses for A. S. Colyar, Jr., author of the dictograph conspiracy, and G. C. Febuary, secretary to Detective Chief Lanford, who was alleged to have been offered bribe money by Felder, to appear Thursday.

Also to be heard on this subject at that time will be Chief Beavers and Chief Lanford. Documentary evidence will be introduced by the disputants and the matter of bribery decided upon by the Grand Jury before the vice investigation shall continue.

At Wednesday morning’s session Colonel Felder was the only witness. Mr. Felder appeared before the Grand Jury with a large portfolio of papers pertaining to his allegations of corruption.

Felder Before Jury an Hour.

He went over the situation thoroughly before the Grand Jury, taking more than an hour in which to present his case. While the evidence which he placed before the hearing was not revealed, Colonel Felder intimated that it included affidavits from persons who have paid corruption money to the police in substantiation of the Hutcheson list of resorts now in operation.

Just preceding the opening of the morning session of the Grand Jury, Chief Beavers, Solicitor Dorsey and Detective Chief Lanford were closeted in conference. It was at the beginning of this that Mr. Felder declared himself regarding his charges. The attorney intercepted Chief Beavers as he was entering the Solicitor’s private office.

“My accusations do not touch you, chief,” said Mr. Felder. “I know that you are not mixed up in the shameful conditions which exist in Atlanta.

“My evidence points at another man the other chief at the police station. I have the proof against him and I am going to lay it bare at this investigation.”

Near Open Clash.

At this moment Chief of Detectives Newport Lanford, the other chief at the police station, entered the room.

A silence pregnant with expectancy fell upon those present. Lanford walked directly over to where Felder was standing and took his seat. He was accompanied by Detective Black.

An encounter seemed imminent. Friends of both men declared later that they were keyed up to a dangerous pitch. Then the situation was relieved by the sudden appearance of Solicitor Dorsey and the conference between himself and the two chiefs was called.

A great many of the women whose names appeared as conducting the “houses in our midst,” or hotel proprietors whom the young attorney alleged were paying for police protection, were served with subpenas as soon as Foreman L. H. Beck could arrange with the Solicitor’s office for the service. This list still is in the hands of the foreman. On it also are the names of persons whom it is alleged will make affidavits, or testify, that the allegations of the attorney are true. These, it is understood, may be summoned during the day.

Promises Thorough Probe.

Foreman Beck, who is conducting the probe independently of the State’s prosecuting attorney, intimated before going into the executive session Wednesday morning that the probe would be one of the most extensive a Fulton grand jury ever has conducted.

He said the true conditions would be found out and the public acquainted with them at the proper time. He would not say whether the probe had progressed sufficiently to warrant returning indictments, but made it pretty plain that the jury would conclude its work when it completed the investigation and that the indictments, if any, would be brought at the request of the Solicitor, who would be made acquainted with the conditions.

“More than likely,” he said, “we will embody the result of our investigation in the presentment and return it to Judge W. D. Ellis, who charged us so specifically to investigate vice conditions. Then if the people, or the officers, want to carry the matter further, it can take the customary course through the police or State officers.

Chief Lanford, Chief Beavers, Detective Black and Febuary were among the first arrivals Wednesday. Chief Beavers was anxious to go before the jury and tell what he knew of the vice conditions.

“Conditions are better in Atlanta to-day than they have ever been,” he said, “and I am quite sure the Grand Jury will find it out. But if I am mistaken about it, I want to put my men to work. I am quite sure, however, it will be found the condition has been exaggerated. Of course nothing will come of the charges of corruption in my department.”

Mrs. Nina [sic] Fo[r]mby, the only witness wanted for the Grand Jury Tuesday, it is understood, was telephoned and told to remain away until Wednesday. The idea of her having left the city was ridiculed by the Solicitor’s office.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, June 4th 1913, “Fain Named in Vice Quiz as Resort Visitor,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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