The History of Tammany Hall

CHAPTER XXXIII
Tammany’s Control Under Leader Murphy
1906-1909



WHEN Mayor McClellan, in the campaign of 1905 promised an independent administration, Tammany leaders did not take his words seriously;  they considered his promises mere campaign vapor.  In this estimate they were mistaken.  Mayor McClellan broke relations with Charles F. Murphy in January, 1906, and announced that he would keep every promise made by him “on the stump.”  His appointment of anti-Murphy men to office had a nettling effect on the leader of Tammany Hall, against whom he began a systematic campaign.  Results, still more serious to Tammany leaders, were forthcoming.

The President of the Borough of Manhattan was John A. Ahearn, a noted Tammany district leader.  He had been a State Senator from 1889 to 1902, and had been elected president of the Borough of Manhattan in 1903, and reelected in 1905 for a term of four years.  It may be explained that the presidency of a borough was a powerful office, having direct appointive and supervisory power over six departments with expenditures of many millions of dollars annually.[1]

Charges of misconduct were brought against Mr. Ahearn, in 1906, by the Bureau of City Betterment (later called the Bureau of Municipal Research).  When Mr. Ahearn requested an investigation by the Commissioners of Accounts, Mayor McClellan accommodated his desire.  The report of these commissioners, handed in to the Mayor, July 16, 1907, severely arraigned Ahearn’s administration, and after specifying particulars, the report denounced “the inefficiency, neglect, waste and corruption disclosed in the course of this inquiry.”[2]

The investigation showed that in the three years that Mr. Ahearn had occupied the office of borough president, he had control of an expenditure totaling $21,994,477.  Of this amount it was shown that $1,608,762 was spent in the purchase of supplies without public tender being asked, as required by law.  It was proved that many of the payrolls (amounting to an aggregate of $5,942,187) were padded with the names of men who never did a day’s work for the department.  Even in the expenditures made under contract — expenditures totaling $14,447,473 in the three years — it was proved that little effort was made to compel contractors to observe their obligations.  Fully a third of the total expenditure — the third amounting to $5,400,000 — was lost to the city, it was asserted, by the manner in which the department was administered.  There were still further losses to the city;  and although, also, there was plenty of money at Mr. Ahearn’s disposal for the repairs of street pavements, that work, it was held, was considerably neglected.  The evidence in the commissioners’ investigation and the evidence presented by the City Club in subsequent hearings ordered by Governor Hughes showed that supply contractors often made profits ranging from 100 to 200 per cent. (and in at least one case 300 to 500 per cent.) more than the regular prices prevailing in the open market.

Among other disclosures the testimony revealed that $144,500 had been paid out for asphalt “fire burns,” which in reality were not “fire burns” at all;  they were defects that the asphalt companies were obliged to repair without charge.  The favorite contractors were such Tammany district leaders as Bartholomew Dunn, Thomas J. Dunn and others.

On December 9, 1907, Governor Hughes removed Mr. Ahearn from office.  In his notice of ejection, Governor Hughes said that justice to Mr. Ahearn required that attention should be called to the fact that “it is not shown, and it has not been claimed, that he has converted public money or property to his own use, or has personally profited in an unlawful manner by his official conduct.”  But Governor Hughes said that he did find that the charges of maladministration, remissness and grave abuses existing under Ahearn’s administration had been proved.  Mr. Ahearn was, in reality, a victim of the Tammany system.  A few days later, the Manhattan Aldermen reelected him — a move that was contested by taking the case to the Court of Appeals, which in November, 1909, sustained his removal and disapproved of his reelection.  Meanwhile, he had continued in office.

Another conspicuous Tammany leader removed from office was Louis F. Haffen, president of the Borough of the Bronx.  He had held that office since January 1, 1898, and had been last reelected in 1905.  Mr. Haffen was, as we have seen, one of the regency of three controlling Tammany Hall immediately previous to Charles F. Murphy’s assumption of sole leadership.  He was a Sachem of the Tammany Society.

In November, 1908, twenty-two charges were presented to Governor Hughes by John Purroy Mitchel and Ernest Gallagher, Commissioners of Accounts of New York City, at the instance of Mayor McClellan.[3]  The City Club and the Citizens’ Union jointly filed charges against Mr. Haffen and prosecuted them.  Governor Hughes, basing his findings and action on the report of Wallace Macfarlane, his Commissioner who heard the evidence, found that the following charges had been established :

That Mr. Haffen had greatly abused his discretionary power in failing to enforce more stringently the time clauses of contracts for public improvements, and that the time statements in his certificates to the Finance Department were in many cases untrue;  that,the public funds were wasted by loading the payrolls of his department with a large number of superfluous employees;  that there was political jobbery in the building of the Bronx Borough Court House;  the appointed architect was essentially a politician without professional qualifications who had hired others to do the architectural work.  The granite contract for this building was awarded to the Buck’s Harbor Granite Company, represented in New York by a Bronx Tammany district leader.

Among an array of further charges against Mr. Haffen that were found true was the charge that he was financially interested in the Sound View Land and Improvement Company, “and that his official action in connection with the Clason’s Point Road was induced by his desire to increase the value of his own and his associates’ holdings in this company, which had acquired a tract of forty-one acres with a frontage of 2,500 feet on the proposed road, with a view to that improvement.”

Another charge established against Mr. Haffen was that as borough president and chairman of the local board of Morrisania, Mr. Haffen had recommended the acquisition by New York City of certain property at Hunt’s Point on the East River Shore, for use as a public bathing place.  This property, Governor Hughes declared, was utterly unsuitable for the purpose because of its proximity to a trunk sewer.

Governor Hughes set forth that the Hunt’s Point transaction was “a highly discreditable affair.  This shore property was about five acres in extent, and the assessed valuation was about $4,300.  During the condemnation proceedings- the attorney for the company which owned it purchased it from his client for about $86,000.[4]  It was then transferred to another company, and was acquired by the city at a cost of about $247,000, the value fixed by the condemnation commissioners.”  Thus the award for the Hunt’s Point property was fifty-eight times the assessed value, and many times the actual value.

Other charges against Mr. Haffen were sustained.  Overtime charges on contracts had been liquidated arbitrarily;  on one occasion $70,000 was improperly remitted to “Bart” Dunn who previously had contributed $1,000 to the Haffen campaign fund.[5]  Payments were made to contractors on absolutely false statements certified from Mr. Haffen’s office.  Extravagance in the Bureau of Public Buildings and Offices resulted in an estimated waste of $175,000 of an available $292,000 in six years of Mr. Haffen’s administration.[6]  Contract juggling was common.  Worn-out Belgian blocks were sold by the borough to contractors and then repurchased by the city as new.  In cases where contractors were friends of Mr. Haffen, contract specifications were so drawn as to exclude competitors.  Streets were laid in irregular routes so as to aid land development schemes in which Tammany men held control.  Highway contract specifications were deliberately violated by the contractors.  The labors of the maintenance force in the Bureau of Highways were wasted to such an extent that the investigators estimated a loss of 50 per cent in efficiency, or $1,600,000 in money, within six years.[7]  A similar waste of $300,000 was attributed to the Bureau of Sewers in the same period.

Borough President Haffen was ousted by Governor Hughes on August 29, 1909.  When removed from office, Haffen complained, “This is a fine reward for twenty-six and a half years of honest, faithful and efficient service to the people....”

Another high city official who went out of office during this time was Joseph Bermel, president of the Borough of Queens.  He hastily resigned while under charges.

Mr. Bermel was not, strictly speaking, a Tammany man;  he was an auxiliary satrap.  His removal from office had been asked for by Attorney-General Jackson and Deputy Attorney-General Nathan Viadiver, of New York State, at the conclusion of an inquiry into Bermel’s office.

Bermel was charged by the Attorney General and by the Queen’s Borough Property Owners’ Association with various acts.  He was accused of conspiring with others to defraud New York City in the purchase or sale of land to New York City;  he was charged with accepting money from persons interested in the sale of such lands, and was further charged with selling and using his influence in the land purchases in question.  He was accused of failing to aid the Grand Jury in its investigations into these transactions, and was further charged with blocking the procedure of that body with his influence and money in refusing to testify in certain matters, and in other cases testifying falsely and removing his books from the Grand Jury’s jurisdiction.  Another charge was that he swore falsely concerning his bank deposits, which evidence he sought to corroborate by the testimony of a witness who presented apparent confirmation in the shape of a written paper, which paper upon investigation was proved to be a false and fraudulent document.

Still further, Mr. Bermel was charged with receiving money for granting special privileges to contractors;  with neglecting pavements and permitting material of a lower grade than specified to be used in contract work;  with purchasing supplies for public buildings at exorbitant prices and with allowing the same high prices to be charged for repairs to public buildings.  Additional charges were that he appointed incompetent subordinates and permitted persons who did no work to draw salaries.  Close upon the announcement from Albany that Governor Hughes had appointed Samuel H. Ordway as Commissioner to take testimony, Bermel on April 29, 1908, resigned from office.[8]

The Aldermen on April 30, 1908, elected Lawrence Gresser to fill Mr. Bermel’s unexpired term as President of the Borough of Queens, and on November 2, 1909, Mr. Gresser was elected by the people to that office for the four ensuing years.  In 1911 charges were preferred by citizens of Queens County against Gresser.  A number of these charges were sustained by Samuel H. Ordway, the Commissioner appointed by the Governor to take testimony and report.  Commissioner Ordway, however, explained in his report made June 16, 1911:  “Of those [charges] that are sustained, none, in my opinion, establishes corruption or dishonesty on the part of Mr. Gresser.  I believe that he is an honest man and would not be a party to any corrupt acts either for his own benefit or that of his associates.  But I am of the opinion that he has been inefficient and incompetent, and has been neglectful of his duty to protect the city and the Borough of Queens against fraud and corruption on the part of his subordinates.”[9]  After an argument made by Robert S. Binkerd, Secretary of the City Club, asking for Mr. Gresser’s removal, Governor Dix removed Gresser from office.

But Tammany men were not the only officials against whom charges were brought.  It had long been a subject of increasing general comment that District Attorney Jerome, much noted as such a leading reformer, who had been so conspicuously active in sending petty offenders to prison, had failed to bring about the conviction of any high insurance officials and had not brought about the indictment of a single traction system manipulator.

On September 8, 1907, a voluminous petition was sent by various New York business men and other citizens to Governor Hughes.  This petition recited in detail the specific transactions thus complained of, made a scathing criticism of District Attorney Jerome for having failed to prosecute those responsible, and demanded that the Attorney General of New York State be forthwith directed to bring prosecution.

Evidence submitted, on December 1, 1907, to the Grand Jury in General Sessions showed that Thomas F. Ryan and associates had bought in 1902 from Anthony N. Brady for $250,000 the franchise of a company called the Wall and Cortland Street Ferries Railroad Company, a corporation having a dormant franchise for a road that had never been built.[10]  They had then sold this franchise to a dummy corporation, called the Metropolitan Securities Company, for $965,607.19.  Part of this sum went to the syndicate’s brokers;  the precise amount of funds divided among Ryan, Widener, Dolan and the estates of William C. Whitney and William L. Elkins was $692,292.82.[11]  The surviving members of this group subsequently settled the transaction by making restitution of this sum soon after the facts had been made public and after charges had been made against Jerome.  On the very day that Mr. Ryan and associates had bought the non-existent Wall and Cortlandt Street Ferries Railroad, they had also bought, for $1,600,000, the People’s Traction Company, owning a paper road never built, and the New York, Westchester and Connecticut Traction Company, a small railway, which a short time previously had been sold in bankruptcy proceedings for $15,000.[12]  It was charged that in this transaction also, there was another grand division of funds.

These particular transactions, however, were in reality insignificant compared to the disappearance of $16,000,000 from the treasury of the Third avenue Railway,[13] and vaster total transactions charged, aggregating, as we have previously noted, about $90,000,000.  The fact was brought out in the investigation by the Public Service Commission that all the books of the Metropolitan Street Railway Company in which its affairs from 1891 onward to 1902 were recorded, had been sold to a purchaser who promised to destroy them.[14]  Street car lines bought for a few hundred thousand dollars were, it was charged, capitalized at ten or twenty times that sum, and then followed a process by which vast amounts were charged in duplication of construction accounts.

Lemuel Ely Quigg (who for six years had been a member of Congress) admitted that in the four years preceding 1907 he had received $217,000 from the Metropolitan Street Railway Company.[15]  This was charged to a construction fund, part of which was another sum of $798,000 paid to different persons whose names were concealed.  Further facts in a legislative investigation in 1910 (to which we shall hereafter refer) supplied certain other missing links.

No criminal proceedings, however, were brought against Mr. Ryan.  In a statement published-on May 26, 1909, Col. Amory averred that when a Grand Jury was called in 1907 to investigate the acts of Ryan and associates of the Metropolitan Street Railway Company, the foreman of the Grand Jury was a director in Mr. Ryan’s Equitable Life Assurance Society.  Col. Amory also made the accusation that in April, 1903, Daniel Mason, Mr. Jerome’s former law partner, and William H. Page, Jr., another of the Metropolitan’s lawyers, had attempted to bribe him (Amory) while a State’s witness, with $200,000, to withdraw the charges that Amory had filed with Jerome against the Metropolitan Street Railway Company.  On January 27, 1908, Judge Rosalsky, in the Court of General Sessions, severely arraigned District Attorney Jerome, declaring that Jerome had so conducted the examination of Thomas F. Ryan before the Grand Jury as probably to invalidate any indictments which that body might have found against Ryan.  Paul D. Cravath, Governor Hughes’s former law partner, was now Ryan’s astute attorney.

Governor Hughes appointed a Commissioner to hear the evidence upon which the charges against Mr. Jerome were made.  Jerome admitted that when Ryan, Brady and Vreeland were before the Grand Jury he had put leading questions to them.  Further he testified that he had not asked the Grand Jury to indict Ryan in the matter of the Wall Street and Cortlandt Street Ferries Railway transactions.  Interrogated as to a certain contribution made to his campaign fund by Samuel Untermeyer, counsel for Mr. Hyde of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, Mr. Jerome denied that any ulterior purpose was behind it.  Mr. Ryan admitted on the witness stand that he (Ryan) had contributed heavily to the national fund of the Democratic party in 1900.

The Commissioner’s report exonerated Jerome, and Governor Hughes dismissed the charges, saying, “Nothing has been presented which furnishes any just ground for impeaching the good faith of the District Attorney in connection with any of the transactions set forth, nor has anything been shown which would justify his removal from office.”  The outcome was severely criticized by some of the very newspapers which had once enthusiastically supported Mr. Jerome.  Col. Amory wrote that there were other bribes than money bribes, and that he did not believe Mr. Jerome capable of doing a corrupt act for money.[16]  Whatever the fundamental facts, the consequences were clear: great sums of money had undeniably vanished, a group of magnates had become additionally enriched, the street railway system was wrecked and thrown into bankruptcy, the statute of limitations had meanwhile been interposed, and nobody had been prosecuted.

These were the essential facts, and they were facts that, after all explanations, could not be evaded.  Mr. Jerome himself was forced to recognize them in his own defense;  in his public speeches he took great pains to assure his hearers that acts might be wrong and yet not criminal, but it was an explanation not favorably received in general.  The great change in public opinion was forcibly shown, when, at a meeting in Cooper Union, on May 26, 1909, Mr. Jerome was badly heckled and asked the most pointed questions as to why he had not prosecuted the traction magnates.

The city finances during these years were in a bewilderingly deplorable state.  On December 81, 1907, the total amount remaining uncollected from the tax levies covering the years 1899 to 1907, inclusive, was $90,545,000.  In addition, a sum of $12,289,000 remained uncollected from the tax levies prior to the year 1899.[17]  Notwithstanding these actual enormous deficiencies, the amounts placed in the tax levies, from the years 1899 to 1905 inclusive, to provide for possible deficiencies in tax collections, was only $11,719,000.  During that very period the amounts in discounts, remissions and cancelations amounted to $12,477,000, which was more than $758,000 in excess of the amount placed in the tax levies to provide for deficiencies in collections.  “In other words,” reported a Select Legislative Committee, “the amounts placed in the tax levies during those years to provide for deficiencies in collections, did not even equal the discounts, cancelations and remissions, and made no provision whatever for failure or inability to collect taxes levied.”[18]

By October 31, 1908, uncollected taxes due the city (including $9,324,000 personal taxes for years previous to 1898, which had been written off as uncollectable), amounted to $84,506,000.  Despite the fact that this huge sum had not been collected, the city officials spent the greater part of it as though it had been collected;  of the $84,506,000 uncollected, the sum of $76,266,000 had, by October 31, 1908, been expended by the city in appropriations included in budgets which, in reality, ought to have been defrayed by these uncollected taxes.[19]

Basing their action on these uncollected taxes, the city officials had issued, from time to time, large amounts in revenue bonds with which to get money to pay the appropriations in the yearly budgets.  On October 31, 1908, there was outstanding against these arrears of taxes $40,606,000 of revenue bonds.  This left a balance of $35,660,000 which had been expended by the city for current expenses, but which had neither been collected nor procured by revenue bonds.[20]  The Select Legislative Committee commented upon the fact that although the evidence proved conclusively that not more than 65 per cent of personal taxes were collectable, yet the city budget had nearly equaled the entire levy in each year.[21]  Furthermore, the sum of $24,521,000 in special franchise taxes had not been collected by December 31, 1907.

The sources of a certain $33,000,000 which had been spent by the city puzzled the Select Legislative Committee.  Just how this money was obtained the Committee was not able to ascertain.

But, the Committee added, it was shown that the assessment account for local improvements was depleted to the amount of $1,900,000.  There should have been a sum of $600,000 comprising trust funds, various bequests, intestate estates, etc., but it could not be found.  Also, there should have been in the city treasury $3,800,000 more as a special account including deposits made with the city against contractors’ liability for restoring and repaving streets and the unliquidated balance of the Brooklyn fund.  But this $3,800,000 “did not exist.”  The accounts of the various boroughs revealed a shortage of $1,500,000;  excise funds were short $5,100,000;  the account of unexpended proceeds of the bond account disclosed a shortage of $7,200,000, and the account of that part of the unexpended bond accounts which had not been allotted was short $8,250,000.[22]

“The Controller’s office,” the Select Legislative Committee reported, “was unable within any reasonable time to determine from what funds the remaining $4,000,000 had been taken, making up the total shortage of $33,000,000.  But the net result is certain, that for the payment of running expenses over a long period of years, the City has taken the total amount of $29,000,000 from specific funds set apart for other purposes, shifting the resulting deficits from one fund to another as occasion required.”[23]

Large issues of corporate stock were also made for other than permanent improvements.[24]

The city budget appropriations had grown enormously.  In 1898 the amount was $70,175,896.  By 1909 it had mounted to $156,545,148, an increase of more than $86,000,000, or approximately 123 per cent.  Yet the increase in population had been only about 39.4 per cent.[25]

Vast sums were squandered in the purchasing of city supplies and in a multitude of other ways.  Condemnation proceedings were a source of great scandal.  There was the Catskill reservoir and aqueduct to supply New York with water, the estimated cost of which undertaking was $162,000,000.  “Rings” of politicians bought land which they sold to the city at high prices.  For the one item of advertising “public notices” of condemnation proceedings, the cost already had approximated $800,000.[26]  In three years the fees paid to certain Catskill reservoir and aqueduct commissioners appointed to condemn land, aggregated $169,490, and this amount did not include the fees of commissioners who had not yet reported.[27]  During the same period the fees paid to commissioners in New York City street and park opening proceedings totalled more than $384,000, while fees paid in other condemnation proceedings (exclusive of the Dock Department) aggregated more than $300,000.[28]

Large as these sums were, they were but a fraction of the total amounts pocketed by all of the beneficiaries.

The city payroll was padded with an extraordinarily large number of superfluous employees.  In a separate memorandum to the Legislative Committee report, Mr. William M. Bennet, a member of that committee, quoted Controller Metz’s statement in 1909 that from 25 to 50 per cent of New York City’s payroll, then totalling $80,000,000 a year, was “useless.”[29]  At this time (in 1909) New York City’s actual debt reached $800,000,000.[30]  In many directions “Organization” men were faring richly.  Even though Mayor McClellan was fighting Leader Murphy, Tammany held sway in many administrative and court departments, not included in the Mayor’s jurisdiction, and he had certain reasons for placating some Tammany district leaders.

After declaring his independence of “Boss” Murphy, Mayor McClellan, supported by Senator McCarren, of Brooklyn, had begun a contest — futile enough, as it turned out — to get control of Tammany Hall.  According to a magazine article[31] written by General Theodore A. Bingham, Police Commissioner during Mayor McClellan’s second administration, Mayor McClellan “knew full well that the most effective weapon was the power and patronage at his disposal, by virtue of his office.  When he tried to use the police I objected.”  Dismissed by Mayor McClellan from the office of Police Commissioner, Mr. Bingham soon after set forth his experiences in the published article in question.

“In all election contests,” wrote General Bingham further,

“whether it be a primary election, a municipal election, or a State or a National election, the police are a factor.  The district leader who can control the majority of the uniformed men on duty in his bailiwick is not apt to have much trouble in fighting off rival candidates.  He has a most influential body of men working for him 365 days in the year.

“The baneful influence of the ordinary Tammany district leader in a single precinct station house is far-reaching.  When he can do favors, or persuade the men that he can do them, his influence is something beyond belief.  Some leaders have had more authority in some police stations than the executive head of the department.  They have been looked upon as the men from whom to take orders.  They have often visited the station not only to give bail for unlucky constituents, but to give orders to the captains and lieutenants.

“Policemen as a whole are the most gullible persons in the entire City Government when it comes to the question of the power of the political ‘boss.’  This is not surprising.  Experience has taught them that if they displease the local powers they are apt to be transferred to a distant precinct.  Therefore, they fear to take a chance.  The wily leader takes advantage of this weakness.  He uses his power at every opportunity, and when he meets with opposition he is prompt with his threats.  Suppose, in the course of time, the offending policeman is shifted as a matter of routine.  Then the leader struts about telling this offender’s fellow officers that he, the leader, had the man transferred.”  And if a policeman showed independence, Mr. Bingham asserted, a word from the leader to the superior officers caused “complaints to be made, extra hours of duty, unpleasant details and the like, until the man’s life is made miserable.”

General Bingham declared that he had labored to stamp out these abuses, but unavailingly.  “So bad did this political influence become in some precincts in Manhattan after Mayor McClellan began his contests at the primaries for the leadership of Tammany Hall, that I had to make radical changes in the personnel of those districts.”

It was absurdly easy for Mr. Murphy and his Tammany machine leaders to squelch Mayor McClellan’s plans for leadership.  No auspicious time was it, however, to nominate a “regular Organization man” for Mayor;  respectability had to be invoked and a hack politician obviously would not serve the purpose.  Besides, there was resistance from Senator McCarren’s Brooklyn organization against the nomination of a distinctively Tammany “Organization” creature.

The candidate of Tammany Hall and its allies was William J. Gaynor.  A Brooklyn lawyer, he had signalized his early career by causing John Y. McKane, then Democratic “boss” of Coney Island, to be convicted and imprisoned for ballot box frauds and for defying a court injunction.  Elected to the State Supreme Court, Gaynor was a member of that body when nominated for Mayor;  and by his constant exposures of the tyrannies and abuses committed by the police force he had become widely and favorably known as a man opposed to “The System.”  Thus, Tammany could depict its candidate as a genuine and proved reformer.  But apart from these representations, Gaynor was, in fact, a man of intellect, force and independence of character, deep understanding of public questions and of progressive, even advanced, views.  A far different type he was from the usual run of ignorant grafting politicians.

By his strong denunciations of the looting done by surface-railway manipulators and by his emphatic declarations in favor of the building by the city itself of further subways, Gaynor won a large following.  He seemed uncommonly sincere when he caustically arraigned the combination of railway promoters and financiers who, he said, were busy at the “old game” of seeking to enrich themselves manifold more by getting additional traction franchises.  “My friends,” he asserted in a speech in Tammany Hall, on October 19, 1909, “we are going to build the subways.  We do not intend that a single subway or a franchise for it shall be passed over to any of these men.”  He made other pronouncements to the same effect.

The pushful, insistent Mr. Hearst was still backed by a political organization, now passing under the name of the Civic Alliance, but his course in accepting Mr. Murphy’s and Tammany’s support during his candidacy for Governor after having bitterly assailed them in previous campaigns when he was an independent candidate, had effectually alienated many of his former followers.  By reason of the influence of his newspapers, he still, however, had considerable strength.  He was the nominee of the Civic Alliance for Mayor.  The Republican’ and Fusion candidate was Otto Bannard, a banker.  Edward F. Cassidy was the Socialist Party’s candidate.  One of the issues put forward by the Fusion campaigners was the continuing abominations of the “white slave” traffic, operated, it was asserted, with the connivance of the police.

Gaynor was elected.  The vote resulted: Gaynor, 250,378;  Bannard, 177,304;  Hearst, 154,187;  Cassidy, 11,768;  Hunter (Socialist Labor) 1,256;  Manierre (Prohibition) 866.  Although, however, Gaynor won, yet by the election of many of the Fusion candidates (to the offices of Controller, President of the Board of Aldermen and presidents of boroughs) Tammany lost control of nearly all of the borough presidencies, and in turn of many of the departments and of the powerful Board of Estimate.  In this Board Tammany now had only three votes.




1 When Ahearn was elected president of the Borough of Manhattan, it was “Boss” Murphy, with the “advice and consent” of the Tammany Executive Committee, who really chose his appointees to head the Department of Public Work, the Bureau of Highways, the Bureau of Sewers, the Bureau of Buildings, etc.  Of course, Tammany district leaders were appointed;  they were really responsible to the Tammany Executive Committee.

2 See A Report on a Special Examination of the Accounts and Methods of the Office of the President of the Borough of Manhattan, Directed by Hon. George B. McClellan, Mayor, Commissioners of Accounts of the City of New-York, July 16, 1907.  This report gives the full findings of the Commissioners of Accounts.  The full testimony is embodied in Vols. 1 to 111 of Testimony, Ahearn Investigation, 1907, Commissioners of Accounts.

3 See A Report on a Special Examination of the Accounts and Methods of the President of the Borough of the Bronx, etc., Commissioners of Accounts of New York City, June 16, 1908.  The complete testimony in the Haffen Investigation is set forth in Vols. I to IV, Testimony, Borough of the Bronx Investigation, 1908, Commissioners of Accounts.  See also Memorandum submitted to Governor Hughes, by the Commissioners of Accounts, 1909.

4 The attorney here referred to was Joseph A. Flannery.  Upon charges preferred by the Bar Association, and after a three years’ investigation, he was disbarred, May 17, 1912, by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.  He was found guilty on five of the six charges brought against him, one of which charges dealt with the notorious Hunt’s Point land “job.”  It was on record that Flannery personally profited to the sum of $300,000 from various transactions of land sold to the city at fictitious valuations.  On June 11, 1914, W.D. Guthrie, representing the New York Bar Association, reiterated the charges when he argued before the Court of Appeals at Albany for the confirmation of Mr. Flannery’s disbarment.  Flannery’s attorney declared that nobody was misled or labored under a misapprehension as a result of his client’s actions;  that the company for which Flannery was attorney knew as much about the transaction as did Flannery.  On October 24, 1914, the Court of Appeals sanctioned Flannery’s disbarment.

5 Summary of Findings, A Report on a Special Examination of the Office of the President of the Borough of the Bronx, etc.  Commissioners of Accounts, June 16, 1908, p. 1.

6 Ibid., p. 3.

7 Ibid., p. 3.

8 He had been elected Borough President of Queens in 1905, after a fight upon “Joe” Cassidy, long Democratic “boss” of Queens, in which campaign Bermel ran as an “Independent Democrat” and had violently denounced “Cassidyism and public graft.”

9 In the Matter of Charges Preferred against Lawrence Grosser, President of the Borough of Queens, City of New York, Report of Commissioner Samuel H. Ordway, 1911, p. 91.

10 In a signed statement in the New York Evening Call, February 27, 1909, Col. Amory declared that when this matter was originally exposed in the hearing before the Public Service Commission, the full facts were not brought out;  that one of the ten original owners had recently informed him (Amory) that the price paid by Ryan and Brady was in reality only $25,000.

11 See Investigation of the Interborough Metropolitan Company, etc., 1907, Public Service Commission, First District, Vol. IV, pp. 1613-1618, etc.

12 Ibid.

13 After this company had been forced into bankruptcy in 1908, the above sum was the estimate as stated by Receiver Whitridge.  See also Col. Amory’s remarks, June 29, 1910, Third Avenue Company — Plan of Reorganization, Public Service Commission, First District, Stenographic Minutes, p. 2417.

14 Investigation of Interborough Metropolitan Company, etc., 1907, Public Service Commission, First District, Vol. II, pp. 774-775. D.C. Moorehead, Secretary and Treasurer of the Metropolitan Street Railway Company, further testified that District Attorney Jerome had investigated these books in 1903, and that they were disposed of in 1905 for $117 or so;  they were sold, Mr. Moorehead testified, “because of lack of store room.”  No litigation, he said, was in progress at the time they were sold.

15 Investigation of Interborough Metropolitan Company, etc., 1907, Vol. III, p. 1395, etc.

16 Truth About Metropolitan, p. 2.

17 Report of the Joint Committee of the Senate and Assembly of the State of New York, Appointed to Investigate the Finances of the State of New York.  March 1, 1909, p. 10.

18 Ibid., p. 11.

19 Ibid.

20 Ibid.

21 Ibid.

22 Ibid., p. 13.

23 Ibid., p. 13.

24 Ibid., pp. 14-15.

25 Ibid., p. 16.

26 Ibid., p. 26.

27 Ibid., p. 28.

28 Ibid.

29 Ibid., p. 115.

30 Ibid., pp. 112-113.

31 Why I Was Removed, by Theodore A. Bingham, Van Norden’s Magazine, September, 1909.