Jump to content
The Education Forum

Ruby's connection to San Francisco

Steve Thomas

Recommended Posts

In the thread on Doroty Kilgallen, John mentioned that Dorothy got the interview with Ruby by mentioning a mutual contact in San Francisco who was in the music business. I suggested that this person might be either Alex Gruber or Frank Goldstein, although I don't know enough about either of them to know if either was involved in the music industry.

Jack Ruby's connection to San Fransisco is rather extensive.

Alex Gruber to the HSCA vol. 9:

He asked me about a name. What the hell was that? Oh, Goldsmith or Goldstein.

Q. Frank Goldstein?

A. Yes. Now I didn't -- I knew him in '42 or '4-- when I worked in the shipyards in Frisco. He was in with the fellows from around Chicago. They all lived in one neighborhood in Frisco.

1933 was the height of the Depression. No work was to be found and word spread that there were jobs in California.

WC testimony of Eva Grant:

Mr. HUBERT. Do you know why he went there?

Mrs. GRANT. Yes, he went to work. There was no work in Chicago and there was boys out there that said there was jobs--that there was a lot of jobs available in San Francisco.

The Lost Boy: Jack Ruby and the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald

By John William Tuohy April, 2002


“In 1933, Ruby and several other teenagers from the neighborhood traveled to California, ending up in San Francisco selling horse racing tip sheets at a mob-owned track. It was here that he may have become involved in the outfit's little known but very lucrative marijuana smuggling operation out of Mexico into Los Angeles.”

WC testimony of Eva Grant:

Mr. HUBERT. Now, after your divorce, I think you went to the west coast, is that correct?

Mrs. GRANT. Jack went there first.

Mr. HUBERT. What year was that?

Mrs. GRANT. I think it was in 1934 in January, I mean, it seems to me it was that year.

Mr. HUBERT. You had been divorced?

Mrs. GRANT. That's when he went there. I didn't go there until later.

Mr. HUBERT. Jack went first?

Mrs. GRANT. Yes, he did.

Mr. HUBERT. And he must have been a man about 21 or 22 at that time?

Mrs. GRANT. It could be.

Mr. HUBERT. This was in 1934?

Mrs. GRANT. Don't hold me to 1934 or 1935. I'm so confused. I know it was either one of the years, and he went there right after the first of the year, and I followed 6 months later.

Ruby went back to Chicago in 1937.

HSCA testimony of Alex Gruber:

Q. Eva lived out here for a while. Did they know Eva?

A. I never knew Eva. I never knew Eva--

Q. Did the other people from around here that moved from Chicago?

A. -- until I met her in Dallas the last time I was there. Eva worked with a bunch of people from Chicago in San Francisco.

Q. And you knew him (Frank Goldstein) in Chicago?

A. No.

Q. You just knew him in San Francisco?

A. I didn't even know he lived in Chicago, but Eve Grant told me that she worked with this Goldstein and, oh, about ten other guys. They used to go in crews. Everybody was broke in them days and they used to go out and sell newspapers house to house. What do you call it? Subscriptions -- and they would give them so much, just like people sell insurance.

Q. And that was in --

A. And all that crew was Chicago people. I wasn't there at that time. I came just after they quit and the war began. I had to start working in the shipyards.

Q. Did Goldstein know Jack Ruby?

A. Yes, I imagine he did. I didn't know Goldstein that good.

Q. For how long did you know Goldstein?

A. Personally, probably I seen him five times, six times.

Q. Did you have any business dealings with him?

A. No. At that time I don't know what he was doing, even. He didn't have no money. I think he was working in the shipyards too, but then he became a bookmaker. Then I heard he had money, but I didn't see him them.

Someone took an interest in Frank Goldstein and pulled his phone records:



June 9, 1963 There is a call to San Francisco from LA 8-4775, the Vegas Club phone; the toll was $16.10 Vol. 22. p. 517.

July 27, 1963 Ruby calls San Francisco, EX 7-6488, for 3 minutes from the Carousel Club (this is the owner of the Moulin Rouge 412-B Broadway, Dave Rapkin) Vol. 25, p. 254; CD 4, p. 691.

August, 1963 There is a collect call from San Francisco to Breck Wall at the Adolphus Hotel Vol. 25, p. 272.

September San Francisco gambler Frank Goldstein at MO 1-1184 calls Santa Monica, EX 9-3980 Vol. 25, p. 295.

September San Francisco gambler Frank Goldstein calls Morris Gambler, Santa Monica EX 9-3984 Vol. 25, p. 295.

October Santa Monica Calif. EX 9-3980 (Morris Goldstein, 40 Sunset Ave.,Venice), calls San Francisco gambler Frank Goldstein, 640 Teresita Blvd., JU7-7674, collect Vol. 25, p. 295.

October Former Dallas gambler Lewis J. McWillie at Las Vegas, 735-4303, calls San Francisco, 752-3789 (Newton Wells, Jr.), for 3 minutes CE 3012, p. 2 CD 1193, p. 186; Vol. 26, p. 547.

October San Francisco gambler Goldstein calls: Santa Monica, 399-3980, for 3 minutes; and 339-3980, station-to-station for 3 minutes. There is also a station-to-station collect call from Santa Monica, 399-3980, for 3 minutesVol. 25. p. 295.

October San Francisco gambler Frank Goldstein, calls: Santa Monica. EX 9-3980 (Morris Goldstein) for 3 minutes and EX 3-0148 (Dr. C.F. Row) for 3 minutes. There is also a collect call from Beverly Bills, 657-9248 (pay station, Mount Sinai Hospital), for 3 minutes, and one from Santa Monica, 394-3980, for 3 minutes.

October San Francisco gambler Frank Goldstein calls: Santa Monica. 399-3980 (Morris Goldstein) for 1 minute. There is also a collect call from Santa Monica, 399-3980Vol. 25, p. 295.

Jack Ruby apparently had a connection to San Francisco as late as the early 1950’s. In an FBI interview with Harry Hall which can be found as CE 1753 at 23H363, Hall told the FBI:

Hall stated that around 1950 to 1952, his uncle Marty Fields introduced him to Jack Ruby in Dallas, Texas.

(Hall went to prison in 1955. He said that he had no contact with Ruby after 1955)

Hall stated that also during this time he and Ruby came to Los Angeles and Ruby continued to San Francisco, where he said he was going to see one, “Stony” and “Solly” or “Hecky” Schuman on some deal. These men were supposed to be known racketeers or gamblers in San Francisco

Mr. HUBERT. What was Jack's occupation on the west coast?

Mrs. GRANT. He got a newspaper crew--sometimes he worked for the Call Bulletin, which is a famous Hearst paper, the Examiner, and sometimes he gave us the crew and he worked for the--there was a news--it was called the San Francisco News and sometimes we worked for the Chronicle. You see, there is a system----

Mr. HUBERT. Well, when you say you worked for them, in what capacity?

Mrs. GRANT. We solicited for subscriptions door to door. It was during the height of the depression.

Mr. HUBERT. This was sort of a door-to-door operation that you and he had, was it?

Mrs. GRANT. Well, he was a better salesman. He was always guiding me, you know, let me put it this way--there was good money, in it considering the times, because they were paying 90 cents an order and we would go out and get 8 or 10 or 15 orders a day, which you couldn't get in any other job, and our obligations were great. My son's expenses were $65 a month and my brother helped support half of the fellows that didn't work who wouldn't do this.

Mr. HUBERT. When you say your "brother" you mean Jack?

Mrs. GRANT. I mean Jack--Jack was the only one out there.

Mr. HUBERT. When did you leave California?

Mrs. GRANT. Well, I married Frank Grant in San Francisco in 1936, and think we stayed around another year or a year and a half.

Mr. HUBERT. But did you still reside with Jack then after you married?

Mrs. GRANT. For a while he did--yes, he did.

Mr. HUBERT. He lived with you?

Mrs. GRANT. We had a four-room apartment and my son was home then with us.

Mr. HUBERT. Did Jack have any other occupations during the time you were on the west coast other than that which you have described?

Mrs. GRANT. I don't remember out there anything but for the newspapers, you know, and first he came to Los Angeles and he nearly starved to death. He became a singing waiter and someone told him--well, he said he was on his way to San Francisco but I think he didn't have enough money or gas to get there--to San Francisco.

Let's see--while we were on the west coast we were very friendly with Izzy Kaplan, with Frankie Goldstein--you see, these people all worked in the newspaper--they were all working fellows at that time.

Mr. HUBERT. Were they from Chicago originally?

Mrs. GRANT. No; we met them out on the west coast soliciting for newspapers.

Mr. HUBERT. But you left the west coast about what--1937?

Mrs. GRANT. No, I didn't. I went down to Los Angeles with Frank Grant and I lived there. I may have went home on a trip to Chicago, which I did very often.

Mr. HUBERT. When did you leave the west coast permanently?

Mrs. GRANT. I think it was after the war broke out.

During this period of 1933 – 1937, San Francisco suffered a great deal of labor unrest. It started in the shipyards and soon spread to much of the city:

This is the San Francisco News' coverage of the first day of the rioting – July 3, 1934.

The area where the rioting took place is now the heart of San Francisco's Multimedia Gulch.



Trucks Overturned and Cargoes Dumped Into Streets:

Industrial Association Moves Loads Off Piers at Rate of 10 an Hour.

San Francisco's maritime strike, which began May 9, 1934, tumbled out of control when the Industrial Association, made up of employers and business interests who wished to break the strike, and the power of San Francisco unions, began to move goods from the piers to warehouses.

The first running battles between unionists and police began Tuesday, July 3, 1934. There was a lull during the July 4 holiday when no freight was moved, but disturbances picked up again Thursday, July 5, 1934 – known as "Bloody Thursday."

But through it all, trucks moved at the rate of about 10 per hour from the McCormick Steamship Co.'s pier to a warehouse two blocks away.

That was because an area of several blocks, in which are the pier and the warehouse at 128 King St. where goods are being delivered, was kept free of strikers.

But on the outskirts of this area bellowing crowds of strikers and sympathizers were hurtling rocks at policemen, fighting through clouds of tear gas and damaging and overturning trucks.

The biggest crowds of picketers were held in check at Second and Townsend sts., and in front of Piers 30 and 32. More than 1000 men had gathered at the former spot and fully 2000 at the piers.


San Francisco Musicians' Union, Local No. 6, was neither the largest nor most radical of San Francisco's unions in the 1930s, but it was one of the more influential. Local 6 joined the "sympathetic strike" in mid-July 1934, after rioting broke out during the San Francisco maritime union's strike. The deaths of two unionists, on Steuart at Mission streets, during a clash with police, triggered the General Strike which closed San Francisco and surrounding cities, and caused Gov. Frank F. Merriam to send thousands of National Guard troops into the City.



AmericanMafia.com div. of PLR International P.O. Box 19146 Cleveland, OH 44119-0146 216 374-0000Copyright ©© 1998 - 2000 PLR International

The San Francisco LCN Family was built out of the ashes of bloody bootlegging war that took place from 1928-1932. Previously, during the ill-faded Prohibition era, gangsters worked in criminal harmony to ensure peace and prosperity with their colleagues. This all would end with a series of murders. When the smoke cleared a small but once prosperous crime family would emerge.

On April 28, 1928 bootlegger Jerry Feri, San Francisco’’s leading crime lord, was murdered in his apartment. His suspected murderer, Alfredo Scariso, was an accomplished bootlegger as well and he too was murdered on December 19 of that year. His body was found with multiple gun shot wounds and dumped in the area of Fair Oaks. On December 23 Mario Filippi, a suspect behind the Scariso murder, was found shot to death. Frank Boca, another suspect in Scariso’’s death, was found murdered in his car on July 30, 1929. The next murder was that of the so-called ""Al Capone of the West"", Genaro Broccolo, he was found dead on October 30, 1932. The final murder was of Luigi Malvese. He had made a reputation as a hijacker, bootlegger and gun running racketeer. He was shot down on May 18, 1932 while walking through an Italian neighborhood in the middle of the day.

The bloody onslaught led to the rise of Francesco Lanza. He would organize the La Cosa Nostra syndicated in San Francisco and be seen as the first true crime boss. He derived his income from bootlegging, prostitution, loan sharking, gambling and narcotics. He operated the famous Fisherman’’s Warf of San Francisco with a business partner. His partner, Giuseppe Alioto would also found the International Fish Company. On July 14, 1937 Lanza died of natural causes. His son, Joseph, would later become boss over the San Francisco rackets.

Anthony J. Lima was succeeded as the next crime boss following Lanza’’s death. Lima’’s career is earmarked by the murder of Chicago gangster Nick DeJohn. It was believed that Lima and his underboss, Michael Abati, ordered his murder. Eventually the charges were dismissed. On April 27, 1953 Lima was sentenced to the California State Prison for grand theft. His power faded and his role was replaced by Abati.

Michael Abati would rule as street boss from 1953-1961. While boss he attended the raided mob summit known, as Apalachin in November 1957 along with is underboss Joseph Lanza. Abati was one of many who were picked up by the local police of Apalachin, NY for suspicion. The intense focus from law enforcement and the press resulted in further investigations into his activities. As a result of this he was deported back to Italy on July 8, 1961. He died of natural causes on September 5, 1962.

Joseph ""Jimmy"" Lanza would rise to become the most successful crime boss of San Francisco. His rule, from 1961 through 1989, was unprecedented. He would watch as his small crime family grew to include 15-20 ""made"" members. He was well represented in Las Vegas, NV by close associate William ""Bones’’ Remmer. He was their link to the casino skims. He represented the San Francisco LCN family’’s interest from early 1940s to 1952 before being convicted of failing to report nearly $1 million in unpaid taxes.

Lanza was also very well connected to many other La Cosa Nostra crime family bosses. Most particular were Joe Cerrito of San Jose and Joseph Civello of Dallas. His long time underboss, Gaspare ""Bill"" Sciortino, was the first cousin to the underboss of the Los Angeles LCN Family Samuel Sciortino. In 1976 Lanza was believed to have given permission for the murder of former New England LCN Family associate, turned government witness. Joseph ""The Animal"" Barboza. Lanza paved the way for Los Angeles crime family capo and former Cleveland LCN Family associate Aladena ""Jimmy the Weasel"" Fratianno to open operations based out of the City by the Bay. Later Lanza would make he successfully had him removed due to the attention he had drawn upon the local crime family. This was a good move because later Fratianno would testify in multiple mob-related trials on behalf of the US government. On June 19, 1989 Joseph ""Jimmy"" Lanza died from natural causes at the age of 73.

The current status of the San Francisco LCN Family is unknown and is considered dormant. Law enforcement articles from investigations allege that Frank ""Skinny"" Velotta may the underboss or possible crime boss of San Francisco. He is a former burglar and associate to the previously mentioned Frattiano. A possible key player in the near extinct crime family is Angelo Commito.

Acknowledgements: Scott M. Dietche Scott Liebrauhder Ty Jenkins

Sources: The San Francisco Chronicler newspaper, various articles, 1976-1985. US Permanent Sub-Committee on Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi, 1988


Peter R. Whitmey

Abbotsford, BC

Nov. 4, 2003


Although the Warren Commission downplayed Ruby’s alleged ties to organized crime, his former handyman, Curtis Laverne Craford (aka Larry Crafard) told me in 2001 that Ruby was a Mafia “wannabe.” He also revealed to me that he had been a hitman in the San Francisco area prior to coming to Dallas in the fall of 1963, following his release from the U.S. Army after only fourteen months, while stationed in West Germany. Craford hightailed it out of Dallas on Nov. 23 after having an argument over the phone with a sleep-deprived Ruby about the lack of dog food at the club. Curtis tried to convince me, as he had his second wife, that he left on November 22, when I first contacted him by mail in 1989 (and again when I met with him at his home in 2001), but he had told the FBI, the prosecutor at the Ruby trial, and the Warren Commission that he left around noon on Nov. 23, hitchhiking to his sister’s remote cabin in northern Michigan with only seven dollars in his pocket. He was subsequently interviewed and photographed by the local FBI office, having left a letter from a cousin in Michigan behind at the club.

The Warren Commission concluded in their report that his postassassination “peremptory decision to leave Dallas might be unusual for most persons, [but] such behavior does not appear to have been uncommon for him.” Consequently, they concluded that his departure had nothing to do with the assassination. Had they known about his previous connection to organized crime in San Francisco, they might have felt differently. Certainly Judge Burt Griffin, who, along with the late Leon Hubert, had interviewed Craford for the Warren Commission, has never felt that Craford told them everything he knew about his brief time in Dallas, despite the fact that his interview lasted three days and is over two hundred pages long (single-spaced) in the Warren Commission volumes.

Steve Thomas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...