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  » Appendix XVI
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  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 788« Previous | Next »

(APPENDIX XVI - A Biography of Jack Ruby)

count prices.146 One of his closest Chicago friends stated that Ruby's sales and promotions were "shady" but "legitimate." 147

Labor union activities.--Ruby reported that in "about 1937" he became active in Local 20467 of the Scrap Iron and Junk Handlers Union.148 At this time, his friend, attorney Leon Cooke, was the local's financial secretary.149 Records provided by the Social Security Administration indicate that Ruby was employed by the union from late 1937 until early 1940; 150 he worked as a union organizer and negotiated with employers on its behalf.151

On December 8, 1939, the union's president, John Martin, shot Cooke, who died of gunshot wounds on January 5, 1940; Martin was subsequently acquitted on the ground of self-defense.152 Although a Jack Rubenstein is mentioned in the minutes of a union meeting on February 2, 1940,153 and Ruby is reported to have said after Cooke's death that he wanted to "take over" the union,154 the evidence indicates that Ruby was so upset by Cooke's death that he was unable to devote himself further to union activities and left its employ.155 Ruby reported that after Cooke's death he adopted the middle name "Leon," which he used only infrequently, in memory of his friend.156

Since Ruby was the ultimate source of all but one of these accounts,157 other descriptions of Ruby's separation from the union cannot with certainty be deemed inaccurate. These reports indicated that Ruby might have been forced out of The union by a criminal group, or might have left because he lacked The emotional stability necessary for sucessful labor negotiations 159 or because he felt he was not, earning enough money with the union.160

Although the AFL-CIO investigated the ethical practices of local 20467 in 1956, placed the local in trusteeship, and suspended Paul Dorfman, who succeeded Martin and Cooke, there is no evidence that Ruby's union activities were connected with Chicago's criminal element.161 Several longtime members of the union reported that it had a good reputation when Ruby was affiliated with it 162 and employers who negotiated with it have given no indication that it had criminal connections.163

Subsequent employment.--In 1941, Ruby and Harry Epstein organized the Spartan Novelty Co., a small firm that sold in various northeastern States small cedar chests containing candy and gambling devices known as punchboards.164 Earl Ruby and two of Jack Ruby's friends, Martin Gimpel and Martin Shargol, were also associated in this venture. The group had no fixed addresses, living in hotels.165

Late in 1941, Jack Ruby returned to Chicago, where he continued his punchboard business through the mails.166 Following the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, he and several friends decided to design and sell plaques commemorating the Day of Infamy. However, the venture was impeded by Ruby's perfectionistic approach to details of design which resulted in numerous production delays.167 By the time Ruby's copyrighted plaque 168 was finally ready for sale, the market was flooded with similar items.169 At about this time,

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