Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jack Ruby's Money Man

 If you believe, as I do, that all research is really about following the money, it seems quite significant that behind most of Jack Ruby's business enterprises in Dallas was another man whose family were Russian Jewish emigrants who arrived in New York in about 1912. Ralph Paul, son of a fruit peddler in New York City, arrived in Dallas in about 1947 and was always there with money whenever Jack needed it.

Jack Ruby's Personal Lender, Ralph Paul

RALPH PAUL, also known as Raphael Paul, which he advised is his true name, was a white male, said be was born at Kiev,  Russia, December 17, 1899. He attended Public School #109, New York City. Owner, Bull Pen, Arlington, Texas, being sole owner since 1/1/63, and president of the Texas Corp., which owns this drive-in restaurant.

He [Ralph Paul] was a former partner with CHRIS SEYOS [sic] in the Miramar Drive-In, located 1922 Ft. Worth Avenue, Dallas, from April, 1954 to February, 1956, at which time be sold out to CHRIS SEMOS for $15,000 and on which transaction SEMOS still owes him $3,500. Prior to the above business connection, he had owned the Blue Bonnet Bar, located in the Blue Bonnet Hotel, Dallas, being so engaged from November, 1948 to September, 1953, at which time he sold this business to JOE BONDS for $3,000, which amount was never paid by BONDS. They had a verbal agreement. Prior to that, PAUL was part-owner of the Sky Club, located on West Commerce Street, Dallas, being so employed between January 1948 until May l948.
RALPH PAUL said he had come to Dallas on December 27, 1947 from New York City, at which place he was owner of Ralph's Fruit Exchange, 161st Street, between Walton and Girard Streets, Bronx, New York . He was there twenty years. From 1919 to 1927, he was in partnership with his father in Paul's Fruit Exchange, 159th Street, off Amsterdam Avenue in New York City. Prior to 1919, he had worked for his father, SAMUEL PAUL in the retail fruit business in New York City at the above address ....

His father, SAMUEL PAUL, died in 1945. His mother, TILLIE [Loby?] PAUL, resides at 2265 Sedgwick, New York City, telephone Cy 5-1623. His brothers are DAVID PAUL, address unknown but living in the Bronx and operating a parking lot on Brook or Brooking Avenue, and LOUIS PAUL, whose address is unknown but who is employed as a salesman of women's belts. LOUIS formerly operated the Pleasant Finance Co., Inc., 25 Main Street, Lodi, New Jersey, New Jersey license 857. His sister is LEE BERRY, 2565 Sedgwick; her husband is deceased . His aunts are "BUNNY" (LNU) and ETI L. PAUL, widow of RAFAEL PAUL, a paternal uncle. He has a cousin, MACK PAUL, address unknown, employed as a clerk in a grocery store in the Bronx, New York .

Ralph Paul and Chris Semos
The Bull Pen Drive-In Restaurant located at 1936 East Abram, Arlington, Texas, was mentioned in Contract on America: The Mafia Murder of President John F. Kennedy by David E. Scheim. Chris Tom Semos operated a restaurant at 605 Fort Worth Avenue in Dallas, and was mentioned by Dallas MCA (Music Corp. of America) official Howard McElroy, who was contacted by the FBI a week following Kennedy's assassination. Since the Dallas MCA office closed in 1962, the FBI located McElmore (address given as 9033 Wilshire Boulevard Beverly Hills Calif.) in Las Vegas at the Desert Inn. He told them Ralph Paul could be reach through Chris Semos.

Tom Semos & Co. owned the Semos Coffee Shop & Cafe in the Jefferson Hotel (built by Carl Mangold, the "Man Who Visioned Oak Cliff") at 312 S. Houston between Jackson and Wood Streets, just a block or so from Dealey Plaza in which his father Victor H. Semos was a partner. Victor also sold coffee wholesale at 555 W. Commerce. Tom had returned from Europe in 1928 with his Greek bride, Catina, who a year later gave birth to a son, Chris Tom, the man named in the Warren Commission records, whose father, Tom Semos, died in May 1963, leaving Chris Tom the coffee shop and a drive-in restaurant on Fort Worth Avenue. He would later own a Greek restaurant as well.

He had grown up in an exclusive neighborhood at 3114 Cornell Ave. and went to Highland Park High School, so it's easy to see why he would not have wanted people to know he was in any way associated with the likes of Jack Ruby. At the time the FBI interviewed Semos, his address was another exclusive area of Dallas at 1630 Cedar Hill  (north Oak Cliff), and he owned a restaurant at 605 Fort Worth Avenue. He s
aid he knew Jack Ruby through the Sky Club, which was near his restaurant.
DALLAS — (AP) Oak Cliff wets voted last night to seek a vote during the November general elections on the sale of alcoholic beverages in the dry Oak Cliff section of Dallas. The area went dry in 1956 prohibition vote. Attorney. Art Clifton told about 130 persons at the Sky Club that Oak Cliff was losing $200,000 a month in sales to residents who cross the Trinity River to Dallas to buy alcoholic beverages and other merchandise. The group named restaurant operator Chris Semos to head a committee to raise the $20,000 to $30,000 Clifton said was needed to put over the campaign. More than 9,500 signatures would be needed on petitions for the Dallas County commissioners court to call the election. (August 1960 ).
Semos had very low regard for Ruby, as he revealed to the FBI in this excerpt from a somewhat disingenuous 1964 interrogation:

A card showing he [Ralph Paul] was a member of the Estacado Investment Association, Dallas, which he claimed was a group of about 25 persons who were banded together for the purpose of making investments in the stock market. He was unable to furnish any definite address or names of any of the members except that of a Mr. Smith, who be said was employed as a salesman by the Lone Star Wholesale Grocery, Dallas.

In the billfold was found a duplicate copy showing the issuance of cashiers check #61186 dated February 13, 1963, by First National Bank in Arlington, Arlington, Texas, showing purchaser to be RALPH PAUL, the check being payable to S&R, Inc., in amount 2,200. PAUL identified S&R, Inc. as the Carousel Club, 1312-1/2 Commerce Street, Dallas. He stated that in addition to the above amount loaned to S&R, Inc., he has invested approximately $3,000, owning 50 percent of the stock in the Carousel Club, which is operated by S&R, Inc., a Texas corporation in which JACK RUBY gave to him 50 percent of the club stock in exchange for the approximately $8,200 which PAUL has invested. He declined any knowledge of names of incorporators of S&R, Inc....

RALPH PAUL stated he first became acquainted with JACK RUBY, also known to him as JACK RUBENSTEIN, in 1948 at Dallas, Texas and recounted the following manner in which they first became acquainted. RUBY had introduced himself to PAUL at the Mercantile National Bank, where he, PAUL, was then doing business. This he said was a chance meeting, at which time RUBY asked "Are you connected with the Sky Club" and when PAUL told him he was, RUBY asked if he could come out to see the show and PAUL extended the invitation. RUBY accepted this invitation, saw the show at the Sky Club, and then RUBY invited PAUL to see his show at the Silver Spur night club which was being operated by RUBY.
PAUL accepted this invitation.

Their relationship afterwards continued on a personal basis, each seeing the other often. RUBY sold the Silver Spur in 1956 and continued to operate the Vegas Club, Dallas, and is still owner of that night spot. About 1959 or 1960, JACK RUBY opened the Carousel Club, being a partner with JOE SLATON, a bar business owner in Dallas. SLATON and RUBY had been friends, however in the operation of the Carousel Club business they had disagreed and following this falling out, RUBY came to him (PAUL) and requested a loan of $1,000 with which to carry on the business of the Carousel Club. This was about 1960 or 1961. Since that time, RUBY has continued to ask for loans which were granted by PAUL without security, no note or any evidence of this indebtedness to him, except cancelled checks reflecting the amount of loans made. JACK RUBY has never repaid any money loaned to him and/or the Carousel Club.

PAUL stated he believes JACK RUBY transacts his business with the Bank of Commerce, Dallas, Texas [it was located at Elm and Poydras, not far from Ben Gold's Nardis of Dallas]. RALPH PAUL considers himself as the closest friend of JACK RUBY. Any acquaintances or friends of JACK RUBY he could not recall, advising the man had no close associates or friends except possibly the two following persons who have worked for RUBY: WALLY SYESTON and EARL NORMAN, both comics....

Ralph Paul, Bert Bowman and Austin Cook
Census records show that, before he came to Dallas, the Paul family lived on East 100th Street in Manhattan, and his father peddled his fruit out of a wagon. When he died in 1975, Paul's residence was 2614 Plaza Street in Arlington, but at the time of the JFK assassination in 1963, he was living in the basement of the home of the Bert Bowman family on Copeland Road in Dallas. Bowman and Austin Cook had originally started the Bull Pen drive-in on W. Illinois in 1950 and ran it under that name until 1958. When Bowman dissolved the partnership, he acquired the name as one of the assets of the business and moved it to 1936 East Abram, Arlington, Texas, located a few blocks south of the baseball stadium where George W. Bush's Texas Rangers team later played. Some eight to ten years before the Warren Commission hearings, Bowman had sold this drive-in to Ralph Paul, according to Mrs. Bowman's statement cited at page 42 in HSCA Report, Volume XII.

Strangely enough, the original Bull Pen location at 2321 West Illinois in Dallas (name changed to Austin's Barbecue  in 1958) employed J.D. Tippit two nights a week as a security guard up until his murder in November 1963. Tippit reputedly worked many security jobs. It's difficult to know when he had time to sleep or visit his family.  

 J.D. Tippit's Security Work and the Top 10 Record Shop
According to Bill Drenas' article "J.D. Tippit and the Top Ten Record Shop" in the Dealey Plaza Echo (Part I) Officer Tippit often came into the record shop at 338 W. Jefferson Blvd. while he was on duty to use the telephone. A Tip Top employee said Tippit made a call from there less than ten minutes before he was killed on November 22, 1963, but got no answer after dialing. He then rushed outside to his car and sped away across Jefferson going north on Bishop, shortly before the shooting occurred at about 1:106 p.m. Besides his work at Austin Cook's drive-in restaurant, Tippit also had a security/bouncer job at Ship's Grill at 2100 Fort Worth Avenue and another at the Theater Lounge (a strip joint owned by Barney Weinstein) at 1326 Jackson Street.

In Part II, Drenas states that Tippit had been a policeman for 11 years, patrolling various districts in the Oak Cliff area, and he changes the address of Ship's Grill (a private club) to 2138 Fort Worth Avenue, and he says "on Sunday afternoons J D Tippit worked security as a deterrent to trouble at the Stevens Park Theater, located at the next block at 2007 Fort Worth Avenue." In attempting to confirm earlier reports, Drenas associate, Earl Golz interviewed Bill Anglin, a Tippit colleague, whom he quoted to the effect that Tippit could not have worked at the Theater Lounge because the police code of conduct forbade officers to work off-duty at any location where alcohol was served; in addition he considered himself to be a good enough friend to Tippit to have bee told by him if he worked there. This story was also confirmed by Detective Morris Brumley. Nevertheless, these two sources were contradicted by the Top Ten employee, Cortinas and another unnamed source.

As for Austin's Barbecue, Tippit's employment there was corroborated by numerous sources, none of whom indicated whether or not alcohol was served there, and a person named W.R. 'Dub' Stark who thought Tippit was having an affair with an employee at the barbecue restaurant. Stark, who was owner of the Top Ten Record Shop also said he had seen Lee Oswald with Marina and the children shopping there, and he thought that Oswald and Tippit knew each other. Stark sold the record shop in 1965.

In Part III of the series on the Top Ten Record Shop, Drenas related his discussion with Dub Stark's niece, Wanda Barnard, who told him Stark had bought the shop in the early 50's. When he sold it in 1965, he opened the W. R. Stark Garden Center next door at 336 W. Jefferson. Eventually, he took the record shop back and resold it in the early 1980's. Wanda then relating various stories she had heard from Stark, in order to substantiate what information Stark had relayed to Drenas and Golz.


Anonymous said...

i knew chris tom semos through his cousin, nick dixie, a college classmate.

also kne jack ruby thas an agent of ascap, the american society of composers, authord and publishers.

jack bragged of affairs with many movie stars. said he could connect me with a talent agent job through lew wasserman. thid was 1960.

knew jack's sistger eve grant.

i am fascinated by the tippet history.

always thought there was something not right with the facts of hid death.

is it possible to verify any ot these musings?

best, joe ryqn

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