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David Yaras

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I have always considered Dave Yaras an important figure in the assassination of JFK. As a young man he became friendly with Jack Ruby. Yaras later worked as a hit man for Mafia boss Sam Giancana. Yaras was also a close associate of Jimmy Hoffa, president of the Teamsters Union and helped establish Teamster Local 320 in Miami.

After the Second World War Yaras worked for the Mafia in Cuba. According to a federal narcotics officer, Yaras "ran a number of gambling operations on the island". After the fall of Fulgencio Batista, Yaras was the "Chicago mob's liaison to the Cuban exile community".

Yaras, considered to be the prime suspect in several gangland killings, was arrested 14 times by the police. In 1947 he was arrested for the murder of James M. Ragen, the national manager of the Continental Press Service, an organization that was in conflict with Mafia leader, Carlos Marcello. As G. Robert Blakey and Richard Billings have pointed out in their book, The Plot to Kill the President: "Four witnesses identified Lenny Patrick, Dave Yarras, and William Block as the gunmen, but after one witness was murdered, two recanted, and another fled, the indictment was dropped." Yaras was released and no charges were ever brought against him for the killing. When the Kefauver Senate Committee later investigated the murder of Ragen, something they regarded as a landmark syndicate event, another key witness in the case was murdered.

In their book, Deadly Secrets (1992), Warren Hinckle and William Turner argue that the McClellan Senate Rackets Committee "credited" Yaras with playing a significant mob role in Havana. The historian, David Kaiser, pointed out in The Road to Dallas (2008) that Yaras was linked to Sam Giancana: "Bugs and phone taps revealed his associations with hit men Lenny Patrick and David Yaras of Chicago (both childhood friends of Jack Ruby)."

In 1962 an electronic eavesdropping device installed in a Mafia hangout by the FBI picked up a conversation where Jackie Cerone commissioned Yaras to murder Frank Esposito. Yaras said on the tape: "Leave it to us. As soon as he walks in the door. Boom! We'll hit him with an ax or something. He won't get away from us." According to a FBI informant, Yaras and Lenny Patrick were responsible for the killing of City Alderman, Benjamin F. Lewis on 13th February, 1963. One official report stated that Yaras was one of "more than a score of top-rated exterminators who work strictly on contracts for the board of directors."

The night before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Yaras telephoned another hit man, Robert Barney Baker. A few days earlier, Jack Ruby also received a 17 minute telephone-call from Baker. Yaras was interviewed by the FBI and admitted that he had known Ruby for about 15 years in Chicago. However, as Bernard Fensterwald has pointed out: "The FBI never asked Yaras about his own Mafia connections, but did ask him whether he thought Ruby was connected with the syndicate. Yaras, as one might guess, stated that he doubted that Ruby had such connections."

Jack Ruby's sister, Eva Rubinstein Grant, told the Warren Commission that Yarras and Lenny Patrick, were two of his closest friends in Chicago. This evidence was ignored and General Counsel J. Lee Rankin told Commission members that Ruby only had links to "the minor underworld".

According to Peter Dale Scott, the Warren Commission covered-up Ruby's connections with Yaras. In his book Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993) he wrote: "The Commission did not receive an important interview with Luis Kutner, a Chicago lawyer who had just told the press (correctly) about Ruby's connections to Chicago mobsters Lennie Patrick and Dave Yaras. All the FBI transmitted was a meaningless follow-up interview in which Kutner merely said he had no additional information. Apparently the FBI also failed to transmit a teletype revealing that Yaras, a national hit man for the Chicago syndicate who had grown up with Ruby, and who had been telephoned by one of Ruby's Teamster contacts on the eve of the assassination, was about to attend a 'hoodlum meeting' of top East and West Coast syndicate representatives, including some from the 'family' of the former Havana crime lord Santos Trafficante."

Dave Yaras was murdered in 1974. Lenny Patrick gave a deposition in 1978. He claimed he did not have any relevant information on Jack Ruby. However, he did accept that his friend, Yaras, "was closer to Ruby than he was".


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  • 1 year later...

Santo Trafficante and David Yaras.


From the Did You Know Department

Chicago Tribune (IL) - January 06, 1974


Deceased Name: David Yaras

David Yaras, beloved husband of Pat; nee Pozucek; dear father of Ronald (Sandra) and Leonard (Dyaan) Yaras; grandfather of five; fond brother of Rose Stayton and Louise Wolff. Services Monday 10 a.m. at the Blasberg Funeral Chapel, 720 71st St. Miami Beach, Fla. Entombment Woodlawn Memorial Park.

Name: David Yaras

Residence: Chicago Ward 16, Cook, Illinois

Estimated Birth Year: 1913

Age: 7

Birthplace: Illinois

Relationship to Head of Household: Son

Gender: Male

Race: White

Marital Status: Single

Father's Birthplace:

Mother's Birthplace:

Film Number: 1820327

Digital Folder Number: 4300478

Image Number: 01080

Sheet Number: 2

Household Gender Age

Parent Abe Yaras M 47y

Parent Calea Yaras F 44y

Samuel Yaras M 22y

Fannie Yaras F 18y

Louisa Yaras F 12y

Rose Yaras F 9y

David Yaras M

Name: Sam Yaras

Death Date: 16 Mar 1956

Death Place: Dallas, Dallas, Texas

Gender: Male

Race: White

Death Age: 58 years 9 months 1 day

Estimated Birth Date:

Birth Date: 15 Jun 1897

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois

Marital Status: Married

Spouse's Name:

Father's Name: Adolph Yaras

Father's Birthplace: Austria

Mother's Name: Unknown

Mother's Birthplace: Austria

Occupation: Vending Machine Salesman

Place of Residence: Dallas, Dallas, Texas

Cemetery: Chicago Jewish Waldheim Cemetery

Burial Place: Chicago, Illinois

Burial Date: 16 Mar 1956

Additional Relatives:

Film Number: 2114666

Digital Film Number: 4165414

Image Number: 1470

Reference Number: cn 12325

Robert....The obituary below reveals more about what it does not say than what it does

.March 17, 1956

Dallas Morning News, page 3

Deaths and Funerals

YARAS, Sam 4847 N. Central Expressway

survived by wife, Viola Yaras. Dallas; three sisters, two brothers;

remains forwarded to Chicago Ill., for services and internment.


Shooter, Radioman Spotter?

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  • 7 years later...


85 page Doc., handwritten.

Titled: "Dallas Police Department. Dallas Texas; racketeering and subversive activities. Ruby, Jack; background, racketeering and subversive activity. Organized crime. Matthews, Russell.

In my once-over, I see A lot of information on David Yaras and Lenny Patrick.

David Yaras is very interesting.

I often find that handwritten HSCA "notes" and reproductions have a document that contains all of the typed originals. If anyone finds the original counterpart to this handwritten doc. please share.

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On 4/8/2017 at 11:32 PM, Michael Clark said:


David Yaras' son, Leonard Yaras, Murdered gangland style in 1985. 




Mobster Slain As Rackets Boss Enters Custody

January 11, 1985|By Philip Wattley and William B. Crawford Jr.

A REPUTED CRIME SYNDICATE gambling boss who once was an associate of mobster Joseph DiVarco was shot to death Thursday, the day DiVarco was ordered into federal custody as a danger to the community.

The gangland-style killing of Leonard Yaras, 44, of 6400 N. Cicero Ave., Lincolnwood, and the action against DiVarco, 73, prompted authorities to reconsider a string of past gangland killings for possible relationships to the two men.

But police said a motive for the Yaras killing was still under investigation.

Yaras was slain by two men wearing ski masks as he sat in his car in the 4200 block of West Division Street moments after leaving the building that houses A-1 Industrial Uniforms Co. and three other laundries, at 4224 W. Division, witnesses told police.

YARAS ONCE told authorities he was a ``consultant`` to A-1 Industrial Uniforms, investigators said.

Chicago police said Yaras was once regarded as a lieutenant to DiVarco, who was convicted of gambling charges and tax violations on Wednesday in U.S. District Court here.

But police said Yaras had moved up in recent years and operated on about the same level as DiVarco.

Yaras reputedly was a syndicate gambling boss in the Rogers Park and north suburban areas. DiVarco is in charge of mob gambling in the Near North Side nightclub area, including Rush Street, according to police.

Federal agents said Yaras had been interviewed some time ago by members of the U.S. Justice Department`s Organized Crime Strike Force, but he was not a federal informant.

POLICE GAVE this account of Yaras` killing:

Yaras came out of the laundry at 10 a.m. and entered his late-model Oldsmobile on the north side of Division Street.

As soon as he shut the door, a tan Chevrolet swung in front of his auto, preventing it from going forward.

Two men wearing ski masks got out, and one opened the driver`s side door of Yaras` car. The men shot Yaras four times in the face and once in the throat.

Yaras fell toward the passenger seat and was shot two more times, once in each leg. Some bullets missed or went through him and broke the passenger-side window.

YARAS FELL on top of a bundle of files and a calendar. Police and federal agents examined the items Thursday night.

The gunmen got back in the Chevrolet, driven by a third man also in a ski mask, and drove away. The car and license plates had been stolen earlier Thursday in Burbank, police said.

A short time after Yaras was shot, the Chevrolet was found burning in an alley near North and Latrobe Avenues, about a mile northwest of the shooting. POLICE SAID the Chevrolet apparently had been firebombed and was completely burned. Witnesses told police they saw four men get into another auto and speed away.

Police said the four men probably included the three involved in Yaras`

killing plus another man who drove the second getaway car.

Yaras was the second member of his family shot to death.

His brother, Ronnie, 36, who authorities said operated a string of massage parlors in Miami, was found dead in his Miami home on April 18, 1974. Their father, David Yaras, who suffered a heart attack while playing golf and died in Miami in January, 1974, had been charged with murder (in Chicago), robbery and extortion but was never convicted.

A FEW HOURS after Leonard Yaras was shot, DiVarco appeared in federal court and was linked by FBI agents to the gangland slaying of mob figure John DeJohn, 51, in April, 1981, and to the botched assassination attempt on former gambling boss Ken Eto.

After the testimony, U.S. District Court Judge Milton Shadur ordered DiVarco, of 4275 W. Jarvis Ave., Lincolnwood, into custody.

The order means that DiVarco, who was admitted to a Chicago hospital for heart problems Thursday, has federal agents outside his hospital door 24 hours a day. He faces sentencing Feb. 27 on the Wednesday gambling conviction. If he is released from the hospital before then, he will be taken to the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Shadur`s decision came after a hearing that also resulted in the jailing overnight of Ronald Ignoffo, 35, reputedly a top DiVarco lieutenant, who was convicted Wednesday along with DiVarco and four other men.

THE JUDGE ORDERED that Ignoffo be held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center until a hearing Friday to determine the extent of Ignoffo`s alleged role in mob terror activities and whether he, like DiVarco, poses a threat to society.

Judith Dobkin, a U.S. Department of Justice attorney in the Organized Crime Strike Force in Chicago, initiated the hearing by invoking a new provision of the federal criminal code. Under the new law prosecutors can ask that defendants be jailed immediately after conviction upon a showing that they pose a danger to the community, even if they have posted bail.

FBI agent Scott Jennings testified that he had been told by Timothy Joyce, a former mobster, that Ignoffo was present in a car when DeJohn, a reputed drug peddler, was slain in the spring of 1981 at the request of DiVarco. The agent`s testimony indicated that DiVarco allegedly ordered DeJohn`s killing out of fear that the victim had become emotionally unstable and no longer was to be trusted.

In reference to the botched assassination attempt on Eto, which took place Feb. 10, 1983, Elaine Smith, another FBI agent, testified that DiVarco had arranged a dinner meeting between Eto and the two men who allegedly tried to kill him, Jasper Campise and John Gattuso.

THE NIGHT of that meeting, Campise and Gattuso allegedly shot Eto three times because mob bosses feared that Eto was about to become a federal witness.

Eto survived the attack and is in the government`s witness protection program. Campise and Gattuso later were found slain, their throats slit, in the trunk of Gattuso`s car. By testifying that DiVarco had arranged the dinner engagement, FBI agent Smith apparently was attempting to show that DiVarco had a role in the attempted killing of Eto.

DiVarco, Ignoffo, of 1733 N. Keating Ave., and the four other men were convicted Wednesday of running an illegal sports betting parlor on the Near North Side that took in as much as $200,000 a day from 1978 to 1980.


Edited by Michael Clark
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I noticed on this thread that you point to a meeting in LA in 1963 between many of the people you mention. Are you suspecting one of them shot at JFK? I’ve seen no evidence that they were sharpshooters.

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As usual, Paul, trying to pinpoint, by name, actual gunmen is not my gig. Although I am more than willing to speculate on various matters, as I see it as part of the scientific and deliberative process, here I am  just presenting what I believe is new information.

In this case I find it very interesting.

I noticed that I did not post that part of the document. I’ll post it next.

Edited by Michael Clark
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20 hours ago, Michael Clark said:




Meetings with OC in San Francisco

 p.3 Informant advised in November 1963 that in September 1963 there was a meeting at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco and present was David Yaras, his son Ronald, Leonard Patrick, Louis Tom Dragna, and Nicolo Licata. Dragna is a La Cosa Nostra member and Licata is an underboss of the Cosa Nostra in the LA area. Several weeks later the same group met again and present was Ernest Debs , an LA county supervisor who is a close friend of California Governor Pat Brown and allegedly a pay off man for big people in LA.



Ernest  Debs[1] (February 7, 1904 – March 7, 2002).........

"........a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from 1958 to 1974."






Edited by Michael Clark
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9 hours ago, Michael Clark said:

In 1963, Licata was the Underboss. From 1967.........

"Nick "Old Man" Licata (February 20, 1897 - October 19, 1974) was an Italian American mobster who was the Boss of the Los Angeles crime family from 1967 until his death in 1974."




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  • 2 months later...

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