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Mary Alice Martin and Scott I. Peek


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In October, 1962, Bobby Baker paid $28,800 as a down payment for a townhouse in Washington. According to one official document, Baker told the company he purchased the property from, River Park Developers, that the house would be occupied by Nancy Carole Tyler and Mary Alice Martin. Tyler was Baker’s secretary and girlfriend. Martin worked for Scott I. Peek, George Smathers’ administrative assistant. Peek, like Smathers, was involved in business deals with Baker. The president of River Park Developments told the Senate Rules Committee that there were in fact three girls living in the house. The third girl was not named but one source claims that she also worked for George Smathers. It should be noted that in 1963 Mary Jo Kopechne worked for Smathers.

During the Senate Rules Committee investigation, it was argued by Hugh Scott and Carl Curtis that Baker used the house to hold “sex parties” for politicians and businessmen. I believe this was part of a “honey trap” that enabled Baker and LBJ to acquire compromising information about people who they might need to blackmail in the future. One of the women who attended Baker’s parties in 1963 was Ellen Rometsch. In fact, Rometsch worked for Baker at his Quorum Club (co-owners included Fred Black, Ed Bostick and Ernest Tucker). Two other women who worked at the Quorum Club were Maria Novotny and Suzy Chang. It is believed that JFK slept with Rometsch, Novotny and Chang and Baker was the man who arranged it.

In July 1963 FBI agents questioned Romesch about her past. They came to the conclusion that she was probably a Soviet spy. Hoover actually leaked information to the journalist, Courtney Evans, that Romesch worked for Walter Ulbricht, the communist leader of East Germany. When Robert Kennedy was told about this information, he ordered her to be deported.

The FBI had discovered that there were several women at the Quorum Club who had been involved in relationships with leading politicians. This included both JFK and RFK. It was particularly worrying that this included Maria Novotny and Suzy Chang. This was a problem because they had both initially came from communist countries and had been named as part of the spy ring that had trapped John Profumo, the British war minister, a few months earlier. JFK told J. Edgar Hoover that he "personally interested in having this story killed".

Hoover refused and leaked the information to Clark Mollenhoff. On 26th October he wrote an article in The Des Moines Register claiming that the FBI had "established that the beautiful brunette had been attending parties with congressional leaders and some prominent New Frontiersmen from the executive branch of Government... The possibility that her activity might be connected with espionage was of some concern, because of the high rank of her male companions". Mollenhoff claimed that John Williams "had obtained an account" of Rometsch's activity and planned to pass this information to the Senate Rules Committee, the body investigating Bobby Baker.

The following day Robert Kennedy sent La Verne Duffy to West Germany to meet Romesch. In exchange for a great deal of money she agreed to sign a statement formally "denying intimacies with important people." Kennedy now contacted Hoover and asked him to persuade the Senate leadership that the Senate Rules Committee investigation of this story was "contrary to the national interest". He also warned on 28th October that other leading members of Congress would be drawn into this scandal and so was "contrary to the interests of Congress, too".

J. Edgar Hoover had a meeting with Mike Mansfield, the Democratic leader of the Senate and Everett Dirksen, the Republican counterpart. What was said at this meeting has never been released. However, as a result of the meeting that took place in Mansfield's home the Senate Rules Committee decided not to look into the Rometsch scandal.

Does anyone have any information on Mary Alice Martin and Scott I. Peek?

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John,

An interesting sidebar: Drew Pearson wrote an article saying that George Smathers was pushing JFK hard to name Scott Peek as the Ambassador to Ireland (that position ultimately going to Grant Stockdale). Smathers denied he lobbied for Peek and demanded that Pearson publish a public apology.

I don't believe one ever materialized.

FWIW.

James

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