Conspiracies make for great stories. The greatest conspiracy story is the murder of President John F. Kennedy. It is said that there have been 40,000 books written on the subject.
The really bad investigation by the hastily formed Warren Commision certainly did not help stop the conspiracy stories. The Warren Commission called witness after witness and yet they failed to answer simple questions. One of those questions is how so many people with connections to the Cosa Nostra aka the mafia got involved in this story? Yet the Commission finds no ties to organized crime.
The Pere Marquette Building in New Orleans was a place where a man named Eugene Hale Brading had an office. He claimed he was in the oil business and he worked out of office number 1701. A lawyer named G. Wray Gill had an office on the same floor 1707. G. Wray Gill just happened to work for mafia boss Carlos Marcello. He employed a man named David Ferrie who was a pilot and a private investigator. He was played by Joe Pesci in the movie JFK. David Ferrie is the pilot who flew Carlos Marcello back from Guatemala after he was illegally deported by Robert F. Kennedy. We will come back to David Ferrie later in the story.
Eugene Hale Brading was on Federal parole in November of 1963, and yet he was able to change his name in Los Angeles to Jim Braden. He then was allowed to fly to Dallas, Texas that same month for oil business. He was supposed to take a commercial flight, but instead took a private plane. They checked into the Cabana Motel in Dallas. He just happened to be walking down the street in Dealey Plaza when JFK was shot. He was going to the parole office, but instead he stood on a small wall to see JFK. He then continued on to see the parole officer, a Mr. Flowers. There was no Mr. Flowers working there. The Chief parole officer in Dallas never recalled Braden coming into his office that day. He claims he forgot the name of the person he was supposed to see. He then went into the Dal-Tex building, a place he had never been, and asked to use a phone. He was directed to the third floor where he said he was going to call his mother. The elevator operator was so suspicious of him that he alerted the Dallas Police who arrested him. They didn't investigate much because they just let him go. Jim Braden was a swindler and con man that has been called a money courier for Meyer Lansky.
He had an office on South Barrington in Beverly Hills during the same time. People claim that he knew Jimmy Fratianno, Joe and Fred Sica. I asked all the old guys but none of them claimed to know Jim Braden. Who knows what name he was known on the street by at the time. I would have liked to have been able to show those guys a picture of him.
While he was under arrest in Dallas, he was questioned by the Secret Service for three hours, and then released. When he got back to the Cabana Motel his friends had left for Houston.
There are some interesting facts the night Jim Braden landed in Dallas. He ate dinner at Cipango Club, a private club. It was frequented by many players in the Dallas underworld like RD Matthews and Jack Ruby. The night before the JFK Assassination, Jack Ruby went to eat at Campisi’s Egyptian lounge and then to the Cabana Motel for a party. The Campisi of the Egyptian Lounge just happened to be Joseph Campisi, a Capo in the Dallas mafia family. The Dallas family was controlled by the New Orleans boss Carlos Marcello.
It is interesting to note that David Ferrie left quickly after JFK was assassinated for a trip to Houston, where he claimed he was going duck hunting. He didn't have any guns with him. One last note on David Ferrie. He was Lee Harvey Oswald's Civil Air Patrol Captain when Oswald was in CAP. Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald a few days later and Joseph Campisi and his wife went to see him in the Dallas Jail. Jack had another visitor, RD Matthews, who he knew from Cuba - another place where Jim Braden just happened to be. RD Mathews’ card would be found on Charles V Harrelson when he was arrested for killing a Federal Judge.
Jim Braden has arrests for gambling and bookmaking. He was arrested at a gambling club in Camden, New Jersey.
He was on the board at La Costa Country club in California. The club was funded by Teamster money and Moe Dalitz was one of the original backers.
Jim Braden was arrested in a hotel with his wife after Robert Kennedy was shot by an assassin who fired 13 shots from an 8 shot revolver. He also managed to hit RFK in the back of the head even though he was tackled by football great Rosie Grier while he was in front of RFK.
I wonder what a Vegas oddsmaker would put the odds of one man being at the assassinations of two brothers, but having nothing to do with either of them.
Jim Braden’s testimony in front of the 1977 House Select Committee was sealed for 50 years until a court case forced the Government to release the documents. Its again a really bad investigation. They fail to ask him the most basic questions. He did claim that while at a hotel in Atlanta, he was paged to a house phone where he picked up and was told he was next. He took this as a threat, because it was the same day John Roselli was found floating in a barrel in Florida. Why, if he was not a player, would that matter?
The FBI blew the best chance to clear up the JFK conspiracy during the Brilab investigation. They had an informant with a wire on Carlos Marcello. It was said Carlos made statements but that too has been sealed.
Who was Jim Braden?