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Alexander Irwin Rorke

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Alexander Irwin Rorke, the son of Alexander Rorke, a Manhattan district attorney, was born on 9th August 1926. After graduating from St. John's University he attended the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

During the Second World War Rorke served as a military intelligence specialist in the U.S. Army. He was responsible for the security of five German provinces and participated in the first postwar roundup of Communist agents in the Allied military zones of Germany.

After the war Rorke married Jacqueline Billingsley, the daughter of Sherman Billingsley, the owner of the New York Stork Club. Rorke became a freelance newsman.

According to a declassified FBI document, Rorke began working for the CIA in 1960. His contact officer was Commander Anderson of the United States Navy who was assigned to the CIA office in New York. Rorke later joined Frank Sturgis, in attempts to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro in Cuba.

On 19th December 1961, Rorke and Sturgis, who was known as Frank Fiorini at the time, were involved in a CIA operation that included dropping over 250,000 anti-Castro leaflets on Cuba. Rorke was later interviewed by the FBI about these anti-Castro activities. The FBI report on this interview stated: "Rorke advised that in the event Fiorini would be arrested for his anti-Castro activities, he, Rorke, having good connections with a well-known newspaper chain, will make plenty of trouble for those involved.For the information of the Bureau, the newspaper chain, will make plenty of trouble for those involved."

Rorke and Geoffrey Sullivan made several flights over Cuba, including a bombing raid on a refinery area near Havana on 25th April 1963.

Later that year Rorke began working for Luis Somoza, former president of Nicaragua. Jacqueline Rorke said her husband told her he was going to Mangua to see Somoza about opening an export-import business, but that he and Sullivan filed a flight plan in Fort Lauderdale for Panama. After refueling at Cozumel, they changed the flight plan to make Tegucigalpa, Honduras, their destination.

Rorke and Sullivan and a passenger identified as Enrique Molina Garcia, took off from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on 24th September, 1963. Later that day their aircraft disappeared while flying over Cuba. According to a statement released by Sherman Billingsley: "They were last seen when they were kidnapped or captured and are being held by the agents of an unfriendly government or, possibly, by that government itself."

Rorke was declared legally dead in 1968.

This interesting statement is to be found in a brief biography on the web by D C McJonathan-Swarm.

His plane, flown by commercial pilot Geoffery Sullivan, disappeared on 24 September 1963 enroute to Cuba just two months before the Kennedy assassination. His father-in-law, Sherman Billingsley, held a press conference at the Stork club offering a $25,000 reward for his return with that of his pilot. It was rumored that the CIA was involved because of his friendship with and allegiance to Kennedy. In 1975 the CIA described him a "former witting collaborator (relationship terminated)." J Edgar Hoover wrote "No. I do not want in any way to get involved in this....H" on papers pertaining to correspondence and inquires by Billingsley.

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Havana Journal (25th July, 2007)

An American woman has sued Cuban leader Fidel Castro, alleging he caused the wrongful death of her pilot father after he was shot down over Cuba and imprisoned in 1963 while on a covert mission.

Sherry Sullivan filed her lawsuit in May in Waldo County Superior Court, but the judge delayed action until last week while considering how to serve papers to the defendants, who also include Castro’s brother Raul, the Cuban army and the Republic of Cuba.

The judge decided to send a certified Spanish translation of the suit to Cuba by registered mail, but has yet to receive proof of its delivery to the parties named.

The lawsuit alleges that Geoffrey Francis Sullivan, who was 29 at the time, was captured after being shot down and that he died while being held in a Cuban jail for political prisoners. His daughter contends that Fidel Castro had “intentionally, unlawfully and with complete disregard for human life” caused Sullivan’s imprisonment and eventual death.

No formal record of the death was ever recorded. The Social Security Administration has declared that Sullivan is dead, and the Department of Veterans Affairs has listed him as missing in action.

“I don’t have any actual proof that my father was executed, but I believe he was,” Sullivan told the Bangor Daily News.

The lawsuit says Geoffrey Sullivan and New York newspaperman Alexander Irwin Rorke Jr., who was believed to be a CIA operative, took part in numerous anti-Castro operations in the three years leading up to their disappearance.

The last known sighting of the pair was when they took off from Mexico on Oct. 1, 1963, in a twin-engine Beechcraft. A month earlier, Sullivan and Rorke allegedly had taken part in a bombing run over Cuba, an act that received widespread news coverage and identified both men as being involved.

Sullivan, 52, said she has devoted her life to “uncovering the truth” about her father, but was stymied in her repeated attempts to gather information from government agencies. She has more than 100,000 pages of documents related to the case, she said.

Her suit states that she “has credible information from a variety of independent, identified, sources that her father was captured and held by Fidel Castro and the government of Cuba” in violation of international law.

The suit says Castro and his co-defendants are liable under a 1996 U.S. law that allows victims of states identified as sponsors of terrorism to sue for damages.

In recent years, Castro’s regime has been repeatedly sued in American courts. The damages are generally to be paid from Cuban assets frozen by the Kennedy administration.

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Rorke says his CIA contact was Commander Anderson of the U.S. Navy. I wonder if this was George Whelan Anderson:

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/gwanders.htm

Rorke takes off on Sept. 24, 1963 for Nicaragua and vanishes.

Then there's this Sept. 30, 1963 document that

"Has been removed and placed in the Special File of Records Branch."

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...amp;relPageId=2

I'd also point out that Adml. George Whelan Anderson, Jr.,

suspected as being the "Commander Anderson" in the Sturgis/Rorke file," was also "president of the Metropolitan Club in Washington D.C."

According to Gregory Douglas, in his book Regicide, the Metropolitan Club in Washington was one of the places where the JFK assassination conspirators met for lunch and to plan Operation Zipper.

http://www.metroclub.org/default.aspx?

p=DynamicModule&pageid=235855&ssid=89149&vnf=1&ns=true

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Rorke says his CIA contact was Commander Anderson of the U.S. Navy. I wonder if this was George Whelan Anderson:

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/gwanders.htm

Rorke takes off on Sept. 24, 1963 for Nicaragua and vanishes.

Then there's this Sept. 30, 1963 document that

"Has been removed and placed in the Special File of Records Branch."

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...amp;relPageId=2

I'd also point out that Adml. George Whelan Anderson, Jr.,

suspected as being the "Commander Anderson" in the Sturgis/Rorke file," was also "president of the Metropolitan Club in Washington D.C."

According to Gregory Douglas, in his book Regicide, the Metropolitan Club in Washington was one of the places where the JFK assassination conspirators met for lunch and to plan Operation Zipper.

http://www.metroclub.org/default.aspx?

p=DynamicModule&pageid=235855&ssid=89149&vnf=1&ns=true

This seems to me that this is an important development. George Whelan Anderson, Jr was Chief of Naval Operations in charge of the US blockade of Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, viewed Anderson's behavior during the crisis as one of "mutiny". JFK agreed with McNamara and he brought an end to a service career that many had believed would lead to his appointment as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. JFK forced him from office and then appointed him as Ambassador to Portugal.

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This seems to me that this is an important development. George Whelan Anderson, Jr was Chief of Naval Operations in charge of the US blockade of Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, viewed Anderson's behavior during the crisis as one of "mutiny". JFK agreed with McNamara and he brought an end to a service career that many had believed would lead to his appointment as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. JFK forced him from office and then appointed him as Ambassador to Portugal.

According to David Kaiser's book, Ameican Tragedy: “The Secretary of Defense (McNarmara) was having a difficult spring, but seemed to be riding higher than ever. He was struggling from Congress over his refusal to authorize a new manned bomber, and his award of the contract to build the TFX fighter plane to General Dynamics instead of Boeing had become the subject of a congressional investigation. He had just secured the President’s agreement to relieve Admiral George Anderson as chief of naval operations, apparently because Anderson refused to tailor his TFX testimony to McNarmara’s specifications, and to reappoint Air Force Chief of Staff LeMay for just one year. According to Anderson, McNamara had stated that the TFX dispute was the greatest crisis of his career, and that he had to be proven right, no matter what happened.” (page 201)

Kaiser argues that: “Anderson convincingly argued (in his JFK oral history testimony) that events during the Cuban missile crisis were not the reason he was relieved. According to McGeorge Bundy’s recollection, McNamara wanted to remove both Anderson and LeMay, but had to choose between them.” (page 525)

See the following thread for the connections between the TFX Scandal and the assassination of JFK:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=6250

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Finally struck me. The Light Dawns on Marblehead. There was a very distinct link between Frank Sturgis and Charles Willoughby which

I should have noticed many years ago but I did not realize that there was such a strong relationship between Rorke and Sturgis even

though they were both active in South Florida anti-Castro intrigues. And Rorke's work on Charles Willoughby's Anti-Communist Liaison - Committee of Correspondence is easy to overlook or forget because he was the least important of the leadership there. Damn. The fact that

Rorke was missing or dead before the JFK hit also made me cross him off some lists or ignore him. People used to ask me where was the

link between this high level Morris and Willoughby crowd and the South Florida Soldiers of Fortune and I always drew blanks. Oh well.

No one is perfekt.

Alexander Rorke was one of the handful of people heading up Charles Willoughby's Anti-Communist Liaison - Committee of Correspondence along with Rev. Billy James Hargis, Edward Hunter ("Brainwashing") and that White House correspondent, a woman, whose name escapes me now... Sarah McClendon perhaps? She actually approached me during a Washington, DC JFK conference when Al Gore, Jr. was speaking at the same hotel, with someone who attended the Providence conference when I presented on Willoughby: "Looking for Hate in all the Right Places."

Another story on Willoughby was later printed in HighTimes Magazine under a smokescreen. (Pun intended.) He steered her in my direction. (No pun intended.) And she then quizzed me over lunch about why I thought Willoughby was a principal in the JFK plot. I had no idea who she really was at that time and I just gave her the standard published story lines including the Dick Russell informant's reference. She was just on an intelligence gathering mission, I concluded a few years later when I read her obituary. She was known for her long rants and difficult

questions at White House Press Corps news conferences. She was basically a right-wing wacko and nutball who had to be humored for decades by various Presidents. JFK stopped calling on her because of her wacked-out and embarrassing questions and she hated him for it apparently.

She worked for some small dry gulch tumbleweed-swept right wing Texas newspaper and met Willoughby and Morris through the Dallas John Birch Socieity apparently. Why they picked her for their Anti-Communist Liaison - Committee of Correspondence is beyond me. Any ideas?

Does she deserve a distinct thread on Spartacus? She is on Wikipedia, I think. Can't say for sure.

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Report from TF in Florida, on a court's ruling that Rorke's partner's daughter wins the case because it was ignored by Cuba. But read down to the last response, by Peter Tabor, son of the legendary Robert B. Tabor. And Frog, that wasn't an eagle, that was a Predator Drone taking your picture - BK

One of our ‘South Florida Research Group’ members has been successful in suing the Cuban Government, and now will await the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

This has been an ordeal for Ms. Sullivan. Her dad was honored by the Governor of Maine a few years ago, when he designated Geoffrey Sullivan special recognition, and conducted a full Military Honor Ceremony with Native American Music and Traditional Honor Guards with rifle salutes. I was proud to be a part of the audience, where an American Bald Eagle flew over the ceremony, adding to the emotional mood of the day. Only one Bangor TV Station recorded the event, however.

Frog

Miami Herald 21 August 2009

BLOG: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/cuban_colad...arded-21m-.html

Daughter of missing flyer is awarded $21M

A Maine court has found the Cuban government responsible for the death of a U.S. Air Force veteran whose plane may have been shot down over the island in 1963 while carrying out a covert mission, The Bangor Daily News reported Thursday.

Maine Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm awarded Sherry Sullivan, the daughter of Geoffrey Sullivan, $21 million in damages, plus interest.

Geoffrey F. Sullivan was 29 when he disappeared after taking off in a twin-engine Beechcraft from Cozumel, Mexico, on Sept. 24, 1963, with a man believed to have been a CIA operative and gun runner for anti-Castro activists. At the time, there were rumors that Sullivan was captured when the plane crashed in Cuba and that he was imprisoned for some time thereafter.

Sullivan's daughter sued the Castro brothers and Cuba in May 2007. According to Hjelm, "the government of Cuba failed and refused to provide any information." Last week, Hjelm issued a default judgment in favor of the daughter. To read The Daily News' account, click here.

---Renato Pérez Pizarro.

************************************************************************

8/20/09

Maine woman wins lawsuit against Cuba

$21 million awarded in death of father

By Walter Griffin

BDN Staff

BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY LINDA COAN O'KRESIK

Sherry Sullivan looks through some government documents about her father, Geoffrey Sullivan, who disappeared on September 24, 1963 during a flight to Honduras.

BELFAST, Maine — A Maine court has found the Republic of Cuba guilty of the wrongful death of an American veteran believed to have been shot down while on a covert mission over the island decades ago.

In finding in favor of Stockton Springs resident Sherry Sullivan, Waldo County Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm granted her damages of $21 million plus interest. Sullivan is the daughter of Geoffrey Sullivan, whose plane is believed to have disappeared over Cuba in October 1963.

“I’m just overwhelmed,” Sullivan said Wednesday. “It was never about money; it was to find out what happened to my father. The answer to finding my father is not what I got.”

Sullivan filed her suit against Cuba in May 2007. Also named were former President Fidel Castro, President Raul Castro and the Cuban army. Those names were dismissed without prejudice by Hjelm because it could not be determined whether they were ever served the documents. The Swiss Embassy in Havana served a copy of the suit to the Cuba Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sept. 22, 2008. Cuba never responded to the suit leading Justice Hjelm to issue his default judgment on Aug. 10.

Justice Hjelm ordered that a pre-judgment annual interest rate of 5.99 percent be added to the $21 million along with a post-judgment interest rate of 6.40 percent for every year the Cuban government fails to pay the damages.

Damages have been paid to other litigants from Cuban assets frozen by the U.S. government shortly after the Castro revolution in 1959. According to The Associated Press, at the end of 2005, approximately $270 million in Cuban assets were frozen in U.S. bank accounts.

Hjelm found that Sullivan suffered through years of uncertainty, not really knowing what happened to her father and not knowing whether he was alive or dead. He found that Cuba repeatedly ignored her requests for information.

“This uncertainty has devastated Ms. Sullivan’s life,” Hjelm wrote.

Geoffrey Francis Sullivan was 29 years old when he disappeared. He was an Air Force veteran and held a commercial pilot’s license. He also served in the Army National Guard where he met Alexander Irwin Rorke Jr., a New York newspaperman, who was believed to be an operative of the Central Intelligence Agency who ran guns to Cuba.

The last known sighting of Geoffrey Sullivan was when he took off from Mexico in a twin-engine plane accompanied by Rorke.

A month earlier, Sullivan and Rorke had allegedly taken part in a bombing run over Cuba in a refurbished B-25 bomber. That daring act received widespread newspaper coverage at the time, and both men were identified as being involved.

The official story was that their plane disappeared somewhere over Central America, but Sullivan believes he was held in a Cuban jail for at least a decade and later executed as a spy. She was 5 years old when her father disappeared and has been investigating his fate for decades. The Department of Veterans Affairs has listed Sullivan as “missing in action.”

Her father was an ardent Cold War warrior, and Sullivan over the years has gathered thousands of pages of documents from that era, many of which were submitted with her suit.

In his ruling, Justice Hjelm cited reports of witnesses that seemed to place Sullivan in Cuba. Included was one from the U.S. State Department of “rumors” from Cuban refugees that Rorke and Sullivan crashed in Cuba and that one died. In addition, an American detained in Cuba in 1969 told authorities he heard Sullivan’s name mentioned by Cuban military police. Another American imprisoned in Cuba reported that he was detained in a cell next to Sullivan.

Hjelm found that despite those documents and many other requests filed by Sullivan over the years, “The government of Cuba has failed and refused to provide any information.” He also found that Maine and federal law provided him with the authority to rule on the suit against a foreign government.

Sullivan said similar suits filed by victims of the Cuban Revolution under anti-terrorism statutes have proved successful in courts in Florida and elsewhere. She said she was unsure when she would collect her award, but that it had taken others up to three years to collect frozen Cuban assets. If she does receive the money, she said, it will be used to help her daughters and grandchildren and to keep searching for the truth of what happened to her father.

In the meantime, Sullivan will continue to press the U.S. and Cuban governments for information about her father.

“I never, never once asked for money. I was in court asking for information, either from this government or the Cuban government, and I just can’t get it done. I’m still determined to get to the truth,” she said. “The money will surely make life easier for everybody. It will give me more funds to travel and interview people. I’ve done this investigation on a dime all these years.”

*************************************************************************

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Comments

17 comments on this item

This is just discusting. You attack another country, and you disappear and they pay you cash for your mercenary acts. It is just like maine to continue to give away other peoples money. No physical evidence just rumors and inuendo. No wonder every person with their hand out comes to Maine. That away judge. If after 46 years the US government wont release any documents if there ever was any to release you just gave the cash away.

On 8/20/09 at 7:35 AM, quink2495 wrote: R

the infoman apparently information isn't your strong suit, since if you READ the article the lady never asked for any money, the judge decided to award her some anyway. She wanted INFORMATION which she still hasn't gotten. Yes, the U.S. would probably not give information to the families of people who attacked it covertly, or would at least give it out sparingly, but it has been long enough that most of it should be. The law grants judges leeway to dispatch a case how they see fit, and all Cuba had to do was say "Hey, that guy attacked us, we imprisoned him, he died" and that would have probably been close to the end of it.

On 8/20/09 at 7:48 AM, JoePlum wrote:

Well, judges don't make awards that aren't asked for, so even if money wasn't a priority for Ms. Sullivan, her lawyers must have included a request for money damages in the original complaint. To me, the more interesting question, which was not discussed in the article, is whether Ms. Sullivan has some sense of interconnectedness and compassion for Cubans' dilemmas, in addition to her own understandable sense of loss.

On 8/20/09 at 7:53 AM, Telefunkinu47 wrote: \

Got to agree, quite the BS here..

So what the hell difference does it make if this guy went missing in Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever. Take your pick! OMFG! Only in America!!

On 8/20/09 at 8:39 AM, theinfoman wrote:

I see that Quint 2495 does not know the law. You don't get what you don't ask for. It was court shopping through and through. When someone says its not about the money then they should imediately make a motion to the court that the judgement is satisfied. But we all know how the cash really feels. Well we will use it for this and that. Oh and here is another one for you Quint 2495. Never has the freezing of assets against a government hurt the government it has always and will always hurt the people who paid the taxes to put it there. Almost forgot lawyers who make the best lobster feed might try to tell you they did it for the cause (which i am waiting to hear next) but they will take the cash too seeing as it was awarded. 8 million for thier 40 percent and all of their costs after they get t heir fee. Its all about cash.

On 8/20/09 at 8:53 AM, jersk9 wrote:

I have to agree with infoman. What kind of precedence is this. Now, theoretically, every person who is caught spying can have a lawsuit claim. They knew what they were doing and getting into. You play the game you pay the price.

On 8/20/09 at 9:54 AM, tabitham84 wrote:

Wow. I am all for this woman searchng for information about her dad, but.. he was serving in the military.. if she can be awarded this money, (which doesnt get awarded unless it was asked for b/c it needs to be put into court documents), what is stopping any other family out there for the wrongful death of their husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives, daughters, and etc, from sueing the pants off Iraq, and Afganistan. I think it's just a little greedy, and a reason for Cuba to retaliate and want to attack America for freezing their accounts. Kinda stupid in my opinion for this woman to be awarded any money. If she does get the, how about she give up the search for information, donate the money to a VERY needy cause, and let her father rest in peace. He served our country, and she should be damn proud and remember him as a soldier who did his job.

On 8/20/09 at 10:27 AM, berquis wrote:

A person can sue Cuba if their family member, who was millitary personnel and knew that they could get killed, died there? Honestly?

On 8/20/09 at 12:15 PM, DavidReed wrote:

Sounds like most of these comments are made by people who are just peeved they didn't think of it first.

I hope Ms. Sullivan finds what she's looking for.

-David

On 8/20/09 at 12:20 PM, JonAlbrecht wrote:

I appreciate the woman's sufferring, but ....Every one here makes a lot of assumptions. The only facts appear to be that people saw him take off from Mexico and that he previously bombed Cuba in violation of how many laws. No one know whether he flew to Cuba or somewhere else. They just know he didn't land in Mexico. This case should have been thrown out.

On 8/20/09 at 12:21 PM, ralphmcdevitts wrote:

jeolousy is ugly.

On 8/20/09 at 12:41 PM, Telefunkinu47 wrote:

Class envy???? LOL......

Only in America.

On 8/20/09 at 2:46 PM, ronaldo82k wrote:

Lets sue the Germans for WWII, the Russians from the cold war and the Bermuda Triangle for all the planes and ships that have disappeared over the years. All that money can fix our economy.

On 8/20/09 at 3:43 PM, blueskiesaboveme wrote:

Does this have anything to do with the Bay of Pigs?

On 8/20/09 at 5:34 PM, PeterTaber wrote:

While I can empathize with Ms. Sullivan in her distress over the unanswered question of her father's fate, it's hard to make much sense of Justice Hjelm's ruling. I have as personal an axe to grind as she but I hardly think I deserve to profit monetarily. In 1963, my father, the eminent guerrilla warfare expert and partisan of the Cuban Revolution, Robert B. Taber, was in Oriente Province witnessing the misery that people like Mr. Sullivan visited upon the Cuban people. (Two years earlier at the Bay of Pigs he was severely wounded when mercenaries like Mr. Sullivan took part in in a now-legendary fiasco of an invasion that ended in their humiliating and well deserved defeat.) In Oriente Province, people like Mr. Sullivan carried out bombing raids upon innocent civilians and dropped weapons and other military supplies to U.S.-supported thugs on the ground. It was there also that people like Mr. Sullivan conducted biological warfare operations from the air intended to wipe out Cuba's swine in order to deprive its people of much needed protein. These were covert activities involving the very same kind of non-military actors that our government today refers to as terrorists. These were international war crimes for which the United States has never been brought to justice. Indeed, much of the relationship of Cuba with respect to the United States has been that of a victim to a bully. In 1898 the U.S. stepped in and robbed the Cuban people just as they were emancipating themselves from Spain. For the next six decades our country exploited the Cuban people at every turn, taking their land, dominating their economy, imposing a constitution that allowed American forces to invade at will, turning Havana into a brothel and putting in place some of the most ruthless dictators the Western Hemisphere has ever seen. How ironic that when people our government today calls terrorists -- people like Mr. Sullivan -- are captured, it imprisons them at Guantanamo, a prime piece of Cuban real estate the U.S. saw fit in 1898 to help itself to for all time. Justice Hjelm's absurd monetary award ruling is just more of the same.

Peter Taber

Searsport

On 8/20/09 at 8:40 PM, daniels wrote:

I guess I need to vent...these comments are made by the same 20 (maybe) people, sitting in their subsidized housing, smoking thier Pall Mall cigarettes that I help buy, and don't have a clue. When you start producing, not consuming, then start passing judgement.

Edited by William Kelly

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Report from TF in Florida, on a court's ruling that Rorke's partner's daughter wins the case because it was ignored by Cuba. But read down to the last response, by Peter Tabor, son of the legendary Robert B. Tabor. And Frog, that wasn't an eagle, that was a Predator Drone taking your picture - BK

One of our ‘South Florida Research Group’ members has been successful in suing the Cuban Government, and now will await the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

This has been an ordeal for Ms. Sullivan. Her dad was honored by the Governor of Maine a few years ago, when he designated Geoffrey Sullivan special recognition, and conducted a full Military Honor Ceremony with Native American Music and Traditional Honor Guards with rifle salutes. I was proud to be a part of the audience, where an American Bald Eagle flew over the ceremony, adding to the emotional mood of the day. Only one Bangor TV Station recorded the event, however.

Frog

Miami Herald 21 August 2009

BLOG: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/cuban_colad...arded-21m-.html

Daughter of missing flyer is awarded $21M

A Maine court has found the Cuban government responsible for the death of a U.S. Air Force veteran whose plane may have been shot down over the island in 1963 while carrying out a covert mission, The Bangor Daily News reported Thursday.

Maine Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm awarded Sherry Sullivan, the daughter of Geoffrey Sullivan, $21 million in damages, plus interest.

Geoffrey F. Sullivan was 29 when he disappeared after taking off in a twin-engine Beechcraft from Cozumel, Mexico, on Sept. 24, 1963, with a man believed to have been a CIA operative and gun runner for anti-Castro activists. At the time, there were rumors that Sullivan was captured when the plane crashed in Cuba and that he was imprisoned for some time thereafter.

Sullivan's daughter sued the Castro brothers and Cuba in May 2007. According to Hjelm, "the government of Cuba failed and refused to provide any information." Last week, Hjelm issued a default judgment in favor of the daughter. To read The Daily News' account, click here.

---Renato Pérez Pizarro.

************************************************************************

8/20/09

Maine woman wins lawsuit against Cuba

$21 million awarded in death of father

By Walter Griffin

BDN Staff

BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY LINDA COAN O'KRESIK

Sherry Sullivan looks through some government documents about her father, Geoffrey Sullivan, who disappeared on September 24, 1963 during a flight to Honduras.

BELFAST, Maine — A Maine court has found the Republic of Cuba guilty of the wrongful death of an American veteran believed to have been shot down while on a covert mission over the island decades ago.

In finding in favor of Stockton Springs resident Sherry Sullivan, Waldo County Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm granted her damages of $21 million plus interest. Sullivan is the daughter of Geoffrey Sullivan, whose plane is believed to have disappeared over Cuba in October 1963.

“I’m just overwhelmed,” Sullivan said Wednesday. “It was never about money; it was to find out what happened to my father. The answer to finding my father is not what I got.”

Sullivan filed her suit against Cuba in May 2007. Also named were former President Fidel Castro, President Raul Castro and the Cuban army. Those names were dismissed without prejudice by Hjelm because it could not be determined whether they were ever served the documents. The Swiss Embassy in Havana served a copy of the suit to the Cuba Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sept. 22, 2008. Cuba never responded to the suit leading Justice Hjelm to issue his default judgment on Aug. 10.

Justice Hjelm ordered that a pre-judgment annual interest rate of 5.99 percent be added to the $21 million along with a post-judgment interest rate of 6.40 percent for every year the Cuban government fails to pay the damages.

Damages have been paid to other litigants from Cuban assets frozen by the U.S. government shortly after the Castro revolution in 1959. According to The Associated Press, at the end of 2005, approximately $270 million in Cuban assets were frozen in U.S. bank accounts.

Hjelm found that Sullivan suffered through years of uncertainty, not really knowing what happened to her father and not knowing whether he was alive or dead. He found that Cuba repeatedly ignored her requests for information.

“This uncertainty has devastated Ms. Sullivan’s life,” Hjelm wrote.

Geoffrey Francis Sullivan was 29 years old when he disappeared. He was an Air Force veteran and held a commercial pilot’s license. He also served in the Army National Guard where he met Alexander Irwin Rorke Jr., a New York newspaperman, who was believed to be an operative of the Central Intelligence Agency who ran guns to Cuba.

The last known sighting of Geoffrey Sullivan was when he took off from Mexico in a twin-engine plane accompanied by Rorke.

A month earlier, Sullivan and Rorke had allegedly taken part in a bombing run over Cuba in a refurbished B-25 bomber. That daring act received widespread newspaper coverage at the time, and both men were identified as being involved.

The official story was that their plane disappeared somewhere over Central America, but Sullivan believes he was held in a Cuban jail for at least a decade and later executed as a spy. She was 5 years old when her father disappeared and has been investigating his fate for decades. The Department of Veterans Affairs has listed Sullivan as “missing in action.”

Her father was an ardent Cold War warrior, and Sullivan over the years has gathered thousands of pages of documents from that era, many of which were submitted with her suit.

In his ruling, Justice Hjelm cited reports of witnesses that seemed to place Sullivan in Cuba. Included was one from the U.S. State Department of “rumors” from Cuban refugees that Rorke and Sullivan crashed in Cuba and that one died. In addition, an American detained in Cuba in 1969 told authorities he heard Sullivan’s name mentioned by Cuban military police. Another American imprisoned in Cuba reported that he was detained in a cell next to Sullivan.

Hjelm found that despite those documents and many other requests filed by Sullivan over the years, “The government of Cuba has failed and refused to provide any information.” He also found that Maine and federal law provided him with the authority to rule on the suit against a foreign government.

Sullivan said similar suits filed by victims of the Cuban Revolution under anti-terrorism statutes have proved successful in courts in Florida and elsewhere. She said she was unsure when she would collect her award, but that it had taken others up to three years to collect frozen Cuban assets. If she does receive the money, she said, it will be used to help her daughters and grandchildren and to keep searching for the truth of what happened to her father.

In the meantime, Sullivan will continue to press the U.S. and Cuban governments for information about her father.

“I never, never once asked for money. I was in court asking for information, either from this government or the Cuban government, and I just can’t get it done. I’m still determined to get to the truth,” she said. “The money will surely make life easier for everybody. It will give me more funds to travel and interview people. I’ve done this investigation on a dime all these years.”

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Comments

17 comments on this item

This is just discusting. You attack another country, and you disappear and they pay you cash for your mercenary acts. It is just like maine to continue to give away other peoples money. No physical evidence just rumors and inuendo. No wonder every person with their hand out comes to Maine. That away judge. If after 46 years the US government wont release any documents if there ever was any to release you just gave the cash away.

On 8/20/09 at 7:35 AM, quink2495 wrote: R

the infoman apparently information isn't your strong suit, since if you READ the article the lady never asked for any money, the judge decided to award her some anyway. She wanted INFORMATION which she still hasn't gotten. Yes, the U.S. would probably not give information to the families of people who attacked it covertly, or would at least give it out sparingly, but it has been long enough that most of it should be. The law grants judges leeway to dispatch a case how they see fit, and all Cuba had to do was say "Hey, that guy attacked us, we imprisoned him, he died" and that would have probably been close to the end of it.

On 8/20/09 at 7:48 AM, JoePlum wrote:

Well, judges don't make awards that aren't asked for, so even if money wasn't a priority for Ms. Sullivan, her lawyers must have included a request for money damages in the original complaint. To me, the more interesting question, which was not discussed in the article, is whether Ms. Sullivan has some sense of interconnectedness and compassion for Cubans' dilemmas, in addition to her own understandable sense of loss.

On 8/20/09 at 7:53 AM, Telefunkinu47 wrote: \

Got to agree, quite the BS here..

So what the hell difference does it make if this guy went missing in Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever. Take your pick! OMFG! Only in America!!

On 8/20/09 at 8:39 AM, theinfoman wrote:

I see that Quint 2495 does not know the law. You don't get what you don't ask for. It was court shopping through and through. When someone says its not about the money then they should imediately make a motion to the court that the judgement is satisfied. But we all know how the cash really feels. Well we will use it for this and that. Oh and here is another one for you Quint 2495. Never has the freezing of assets against a government hurt the government it has always and will always hurt the people who paid the taxes to put it there. Almost forgot lawyers who make the best lobster feed might try to tell you they did it for the cause (which i am waiting to hear next) but they will take the cash too seeing as it was awarded. 8 million for thier 40 percent and all of their costs after they get t heir fee. Its all about cash.

On 8/20/09 at 8:53 AM, jersk9 wrote:

I have to agree with infoman. What kind of precedence is this. Now, theoretically, every person who is caught spying can have a lawsuit claim. They knew what they were doing and getting into. You play the game you pay the price.

On 8/20/09 at 9:54 AM, tabitham84 wrote:

Wow. I am all for this woman searchng for information about her dad, but.. he was serving in the military.. if she can be awarded this money, (which doesnt get awarded unless it was asked for b/c it needs to be put into court documents), what is stopping any other family out there for the wrongful death of their husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives, daughters, and etc, from sueing the pants off Iraq, and Afganistan. I think it's just a little greedy, and a reason for Cuba to retaliate and want to attack America for freezing their accounts. Kinda stupid in my opinion for this woman to be awarded any money. If she does get the, how about she give up the search for information, donate the money to a VERY needy cause, and let her father rest in peace. He served our country, and she should be damn proud and remember him as a soldier who did his job.

On 8/20/09 at 10:27 AM, berquis wrote:

A person can sue Cuba if their family member, who was millitary personnel and knew that they could get killed, died there? Honestly?

On 8/20/09 at 12:15 PM, DavidReed wrote:

Sounds like most of these comments are made by people who are just peeved they didn't think of it first.

I hope Ms. Sullivan finds what she's looking for.

-David

On 8/20/09 at 12:20 PM, JonAlbrecht wrote:

I appreciate the woman's sufferring, but ....Every one here makes a lot of assumptions. The only facts appear to be that people saw him take off from Mexico and that he previously bombed Cuba in violation of how many laws. No one know whether he flew to Cuba or somewhere else. They just know he didn't land in Mexico. This case should have been thrown out.

On 8/20/09 at 12:21 PM, ralphmcdevitts wrote:

jeolousy is ugly.

On 8/20/09 at 12:41 PM, Telefunkinu47 wrote:

Class envy???? LOL......

Only in America.

On 8/20/09 at 2:46 PM, ronaldo82k wrote:

Lets sue the Germans for WWII, the Russians from the cold war and the Bermuda Triangle for all the planes and ships that have disappeared over the years. All that money can fix our economy.

On 8/20/09 at 3:43 PM, blueskiesaboveme wrote:

Does this have anything to do with the Bay of Pigs?

On 8/20/09 at 5:34 PM, PeterTaber wrote:

While I can empathize with Ms. Sullivan in her distress over the unanswered question of her father's fate, it's hard to make much sense of Justice Hjelm's ruling. I have as personal an axe to grind as she but I hardly think I deserve to profit monetarily. In 1963, my father, the eminent guerrilla warfare expert and partisan of the Cuban Revolution, Robert B. Taber, was in Oriente Province witnessing the misery that people like Mr. Sullivan visited upon the Cuban people. (Two years earlier at the Bay of Pigs he was severely wounded when mercenaries like Mr. Sullivan took part in in a now-legendary fiasco of an invasion that ended in their humiliating and well deserved defeat.) In Oriente Province, people like Mr. Sullivan carried out bombing raids upon innocent civilians and dropped weapons and other military supplies to U.S.-supported thugs on the ground. It was there also that people like Mr. Sullivan conducted biological warfare operations from the air intended to wipe out Cuba's swine in order to deprive its people of much needed protein. These were covert activities involving the very same kind of non-military actors that our government today refers to as terrorists. These were international war crimes for which the United States has never been brought to justice. Indeed, much of the relationship of Cuba with respect to the United States has been that of a victim to a bully. In 1898 the U.S. stepped in and robbed the Cuban people just as they were emancipating themselves from Spain. For the next six decades our country exploited the Cuban people at every turn, taking their land, dominating their economy, imposing a constitution that allowed American forces to invade at will, turning Havana into a brothel and putting in place some of the most ruthless dictators the Western Hemisphere has ever seen. How ironic that when people our government today calls terrorists -- people like Mr. Sullivan -- are captured, it imprisons them at Guantanamo, a prime piece of Cuban real estate the U.S. saw fit in 1898 to help itself to for all time. Justice Hjelm's absurd monetary award ruling is just more of the same.

Peter Taber

Searsport

On 8/20/09 at 8:40 PM, daniels wrote:

I guess I need to vent...these comments are made by the same 20 (maybe) people, sitting in their subsidized housing, smoking thier Pall Mall cigarettes that I help buy, and don't have a clue. When you start producing, not consuming, then start passing judgement.

Hey, good news for Sherry on both scores. I spoke with her in the mid 1990's about other possibilities leading to the deaths of her father and Rorke, but they were just speculations.

One theory of mine was that Frank Sturgis took some of the hollow cinder blocks forming the "fence" separating our house from his little Cuban exile "safe house" in Grapeland Heights

in Miami, then stuffed them with explosives and gave them to Sullivan and Rorke to be used as homemade "bombs over Havana". I caught Sturgis stealing cinder blocks twice and

the 2nd time I gave him nasty bastidge hell, and threatened to call the police if any more cinder blocks disappeared. And I was only about 15-16 at the time but yelling from inside my

bedroom castigating him through an open window, so I could pretend that I was anyone I wanted to be. My voice was pretty deep for a teeny bopper when I wanted it to be. Called

him every Spanish cuss word I knew from "pinga" to "maricón" and everything else in between. He just quietly and angrily put the cinder blocks back without even looking up at me.

My thought was that whenever 2 of those cinder filled blocks were knocked against each other, sparks were generated and flew a few feet at night. If a load of these were in the

plane and they toppled over or banged into each other, the homemade explosives might have ignited and caused the plane to burn, or explode then crash on Cuban soil. Sherry was

willing to consider that possibility instead of Cuban artillery gunners being so good that they could shoot a plane out of the sky without help from Russian technology. Either way

her father apparently survived and was in Cuban prisons for an extended period. Hope she gets her funds from the $270 million plus interest of frozen Cuban funds.

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This is Sherry Sullivan, daughter to Geoffrey Sullivan who disappeared with Alexander Rorke in 1963. My father and Alex had a secret meeting by driving from Waterbury Connecticut to somewhere along the coast, perhaps New Haven area. This occurred in the summer of 1963. They first drove to a mansion with guarded gates, went inside, then were escorted onto a boat for a secret meeting at sea. I've done some researching on who may have owned this type of property at that time. It must have been someone high up in the ranks. Any thoughts on this subject would be appreciated. My new email is sassully@roadrunner.com

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This is Sherry Sullivan, daughter to Geoffrey Sullivan who disappeared with Alexander Rorke in 1963. My father and Alex had a secret meeting by driving from Waterbury Connecticut to somewhere along the coast, perhaps New Haven area. This occurred in the summer of 1963. They first drove to a mansion with guarded gates, went inside, then were escorted onto a boat for a secret meeting at sea. I've done some researching on who may have owned this type of property at that time. It must have been someone high up in the ranks. Any thoughts on this subject would be appreciated. My new email is sassully@roadrunner.com

Hi Sherry,

Good to see you on this forum. The person who comes to mind who was living on or near the coast in Connecticut at that time is none other

than William F. Buckley, Jr. the founder of Young Americans for Freedom and a member of one of the first American families ever to call on the

U.S. military to bail them out of a sticky situation when their properties had been seized by a foreign power. In his case, Pantapec Oil was seized by

the Mexican government when Pancho Villa was very active in that region and Gen. John J. Pershing went after them with a full expeditionary force.

I have actually traced the history of the following persons and their involvement in that infamous Pancho Villa campaign which set the standard for various

military interventions in the ensuing years.

1) Major General Charles A. Willoughby as a young Army officer who later made his immense fortune by using his knowledge about the start of the ending

Korean War to profit immensely on the international soybean futures market. He and H. L. Hunt had cornered the soybean market just weeks or months

in advance of the Korean War then Willoughby dressed a company of South Korean regulars in North Korean uniforms on some ruse and had them shot dead

in order to use that as justification for the outbreak of the Korean War. All this is documented in The Origins of the Korean War Volumes I and II by a professor

from Northwester whose name escapes me now. (Prof. Bruce Cumings, is the spelling I think with one M.)

2) William F. Buckley Jr.'s father William F. Buckley, Sr. who lost millions when Pantapec Oil was expropriated. Richard Condon wrote about Buckley by

referencing: "...that fascinating young man who wrote about man and God at Yale." In fact the title was God and Man at Yale. Condon really meant:

"...that FASCIST bastidge, William F. Buckley, Jr. from Yale."

3) George Otis Draper, the cousin of Wickliffe Preston Draper who lived in nearby Hopedale, MA

(Wickliffe was also the 1st cousin of Andrew Preston who started The Boston Fruit Company which

later became United Fruit which had holdings not only in Cuba but throughout Central America and

the Caribbean islands.) United Fruit originated the concept of "The Banana Wars" which resulted in

at least 5 military interventions after World War One. Both the Forbes, the Drapers, the Prestons,

the Cabots and the Dulles brothers were MAJOR stockholders in United Fruit of course and when

Castro took over Cuba United Fruit lost millions of dollars worth of properties.

Regards,

John

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This is Sherry Sullivan, daughter to Geoffrey Sullivan who disappeared with Alexander Rorke in 1963. My father and Alex had a secret meeting by driving from Waterbury Connecticut to somewhere along the coast, perhaps New Haven area. This occurred in the summer of 1963. They first drove to a mansion with guarded gates, went inside, then were escorted onto a boat for a secret meeting at sea. I've done some researching on who may have owned this type of property at that time. It must have been someone high up in the ranks. Any thoughts on this subject would be appreciated. My new email is sassully@roadrunner.com

Hi Sherry,

Good to see you on this forum. The person who comes to mind who was living on or near the coast in Connecticut at that time is none other

than William F. Buckley, Jr. the founder of Young Americans for Freedom and a member of one of the first American families ever to call on the

U.S. military to bail them out of a sticky situation when their properties had been seized by a foreign power. In his case, Pantapec Oil was seized by

the Mexican government when Pancho Villa was very active in that region and Gen. John J. Pershing went after them with a full expeditionary force.

I have actually traced the history of the following persons and their involvement in that infamous Pancho Villa campaign which set the standard for various

military interventions in the ensuing years.

1) Major General Charles A. Willoughby as a young Army officer who later made his immense fortune by using his knowledge about the start of the ending

Korean War to profit immensely on the international soybean futures market. He and H. L. Hunt had cornered the soybean market just weeks or months

in advance of the Korean War then Willoughby dressed a company of South Korean regulars in North Korean uniforms on some ruse and had them shot dead

in order to use that as justification for the outbreak of the Korean War. All this is documented in The Origins of the Korean War Volumes I and II by a professor

from Northwester whose name escapes me now. (Prof. Bruce Cumings, is the spelling I think with one M.)

2) William F. Buckley Jr.'s father William F. Buckley, Sr. who lost millions when Pantapec Oil was expropriated. Richard Condon wrote about Buckley by

referencing: "...that fascinating young man who wrote about man and God at Yale." In fact the title was God and Man at Yale. Condon really meant:

"...that FASCIST bastidge, William F. Buckley, Jr. from Yale."

3) George Otis Draper, the cousin of Wickliffe Preston Draper who lived in nearby Hopedale, MA

(Wickliffe was also the 1st cousin of Andrew Preston who started The Boston Fruit Company which

later became United Fruit which had holdings not only in Cuba but throughout Central America and

the Caribbean islands.) United Fruit originated the concept of "The Banana Wars" which resulted in

at least 5 military interventions after World War One. Both the Forbes, the Drapers, the Prestons,

the Cabots and the Dulles brothers were MAJOR stockholders in United Fruit of course and when

Castro took over Cuba United Fruit lost millions of dollars worth of properties.

Regards,

John

Of course, there was always Sherman Billingsley, who was Alexander Rorke's father in law as I recall. He owned The Stork Club

in Manhattan but lived on the shore in Connecticut as well as far as I can determine. The Buckley's were from Darien which had miles of beachfront

property. Could have been either one of them your father visited or even someone else. More likely to have been Billingsley but

it could have been that Fascist bastidge Buckley, too.

http://www.acontinuouslean.com/2009/03/02/...club/#more-6452

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This is Sherry Sullivan, daughter to Geoffrey Sullivan who disappeared with Alexander Rorke in 1963. My father and Alex had a secret meeting by driving from Waterbury Connecticut to somewhere along the coast, perhaps New Haven area. This occurred in the summer of 1963. They first drove to a mansion with guarded gates, went inside, then were escorted onto a boat for a secret meeting at sea. I've done some researching on who may have owned this type of property at that time. It must have been someone high up in the ranks. Any thoughts on this subject would be appreciated. My new email is sassully@roadrunner.com

Hi Sherry,

May I suggest you check out Wilbur Baldinger?

James

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This is Sherry Sullivan, daughter to Geoffrey Sullivan who disappeared with Alexander Rorke in 1963. My father and Alex had a secret meeting by driving from Waterbury Connecticut to somewhere along the coast, perhaps New Haven area. This occurred in the summer of 1963. They first drove to a mansion with guarded gates, went inside, then were escorted onto a boat for a secret meeting at sea. I've done some researching on who may have owned this type of property at that time. It must have been someone high up in the ranks. Any thoughts on this subject would be appreciated. My new email is sassully@roadrunner.com

Hi Sherry,

May I suggest you check out Wilbur Baldinger?

James

Hi James,

Long time no hear. Or long time no here, either. Would you please send Sherry an eMail to sassully@roadrunner.com with your contact information? She has some really old photos with some unidentified suspects and/or perps which she would like you to review and then circulate through back channels as privately as possible among some of your contacts and friends.

Can you tell us more about this Wilbur Baldinger character you mentioned? Turns out that Sherman Billingsley used to pay Sherry's

father in cash for his piloting duties, and the Billingsley Connecticut home was somewhere between Darien and New Haven on the

Connecticut coast. Billingsley owned The Stork Club in Manhattan but lived in Connecticut apparently. I am still trying to track down

the address of his former residence. He apparently owned a yacht as well. There is an actor named Billingsley still alive today also from Connecticut who might be Sherman's son. Sherry thinks that it is pretty likely that Sherman Billingsley's home and yacht were the

usual destination of both Alexander Rorke, Billingsley's son-in-law, and Geoffrey Sullivan on their Connecticut road trips.

Thanks,

John B

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The Stork Club's owner and operator, John Sherman Billingsley, is even more closely identified with the speakeasy era and his story is that of a Horatio Alger with a twist. As sometimes happens, the owner is far more colorful than the club itself.

Sherm, as his intimates know him, was born in the back room of a grocery store at a former whistle stop called Enid, Oklahoma ("Dine" spelled backwards, he explains)—one of a family of nine children. He has been identified with the liquor business, one way or another, since (the story goes) he started selling booze to the Indians at the age of 7.

This future arbiter of New York's cafe society quit school at the fifth grade and started on an adventurous career that brought him via Detroit to New York in the middle of the Prohibition period. He sold Bronx real estate, operated a drugstore and dispensed liquor (on prescription). Until he opened his first speakeasy in 1926 his nearest approach to being a restaurateur was as a sandwich counterman. His first Stork Club (he still can't remember just what suggested the name) at 152 W. 58th St. was demolished by prohibition agents. The one next was the New Stork Club at 51 1/2 E. 51st St. The third and current club of that name was started in 1934, about a year after repeal, at 3 E. 53rd St.

Originally popular only with theatrical and professional people, the STORK was taken up by the debutantes and youthful collegiate set largely because of a class magazine article by then society columnist Inez Robb. The youngsters, most of them from our "better" families, lent glamor to the place and they in turn loved it because "good, old Sherm" never let them pay a check. And the STORK CLUB'S vast popularity with newspaper people, it must be confessed, has been due mostly to Sherm's largesse.

Billingsley's giveaways—a surefire bid for patronage —have included raffles; gay "balloon nites," with many balloons containing $100 bills; free champagne and perfume (N.B. Sherm owns the perfume company)—and cost as high as $250,000 a year. Sherm's generosity with his clientele included gifts of suspenders and neckties to the gentlemen, gold compacts for the ladies and even diamond-studded bracelets to certain of his favorites. All this paid off in free publicity (Sherm 34 frowns on conventional advertising) and started the STORK CLUB on the road to success.

The STORK expanded many times within the 8-story building owned by Billingsley and is now a series of rooms on several floors. The famous Cub Room, of limited capacity, is the hardest to get into and that could be its chief attraction. The main room lost some of its popularity with dancers because Sherm, who doesn't dance, insists on the bands playing his choice of tempo instead of that preferred by them.

Sherm himself is something of a paradox. His blue eyes, ruddy cheeks, sandy hair, shy, soft-spoken manner and conservative dress suggest an English country squire. But his placid appearance is misleading. Actually, Sherm is more temperamental than a grand opera tenor, with a flamboyant imagination and a positively Machiavellian gift for intrigue, with the imbalance of a total lack of humor.

Barring customers from his club for real or fancied grievances—sometimes for nothing more offensive than having been photographed in a rival restaurant or carrying matches other than the STORK CLUB'S—is part of his stock in trade. (Some suspect it is another way of milking the press for publicity.) His written memoranda to his employees are collector's items and the stories about the alleged espionage and counter-espionage that goes on behind the scenes at the STORK-tapped telephones, hidden tape recorders, etc.—are hilarious, though to some extent fictional. Actually,only the important areas—check room, entrance way to the Cub Room, main room, kitchen, etc.—were wired for sound, a push-button system enabling Billingsley to eavesdrop at any time from his office up-stairs.

Although not a restaurateur, per se, Billingsley does know the restaurant business. He is a perfectionist, as any employee—or former employee—can attest.

Firing help, for no apparent reason, seems to have been a favorite indoor sport of the STORK CLUB'S boss and many a rival restaurant, staffed by STORK-trained former employees, prospers because of it. Fired with-out notice, after a 24 years' association with Billingsley, was Frank Harris, now manager of the highly successful EDEN Roc.

Other STORK CLUB alumni at EDEN Roc are Gregory (22 years with Sherm) ; Jack Spooner, Leo Spitzel, Jimmy Coulias, Andrew—Ole Anderson (20 years apiece), and Red Cronin (6.) Ed Wynne of the HARWYN CLUB served his apprenticeship at the STORK and so did Maurice D'Euphemia, who now has his own place, MAURICE. Scatti of the MONT D'oR was with Billingsley about a dozen years, and Jack Entratter, who later went from the COPACABANA to make a great name for himself at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas.

This is only a partial list; actually enough employees have been fired from the STORK to staff a half dozen other clubs. One waiter was summarily discharged for presenting gardenias to dames whom Sherm didn't fancy; a bartender was dropped merely for getting his name in a Broadway column. However, none would deny the value of his training under the most unpredictable man in the restaurant business.

Several years ago Billingsley launched a television program from the STORK with himself as star, using his cafe society customers as window dressing. But close-ups revealed Sherm as something less than the polished personality that he had been reputed to be. In fact he pulled so many verbal boners that he became known as the "Sam Goldwyn of TV." This type of public exposure for a club that had always played up its exclusiveness was probably a mistake in the first place. Many people who had watched the show on TV found they couldn't get into the Club itself, so the publicity backfired.

For several years now there has been a picket line outside the STORK due to some union trouble and this, too, has somewhat dimmed the popularity of Billingsley's boite. But those who know Sherm best predict eventual vindication and victory for his side of the argument. Anyone who could survive the gangster wars of the bootlegging era would have to be courageous, tenacious and tough. Sherman Billingsley is all three.

Prices are actually not too high and a visit to the STORK is indicated for out-of-town visitors, for the sake of curiosity if nothing more. They may get their feelings hurt to find the velvet rope up, but that should be considered part of the experience. Many of our best people enjoy the distinction of having been barred at the STORK.

Billingsley's restaurant at 94 Park Ave. is operated by Fred Billingsley, one of Sham's brothers, but is in no way connected with the STORK CLUB.

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