Did a Piece of Paper with the Names of Jack Ruby and Lee Oswald Provide a Link to Rose Cherami?
Once again, James DiEugenio finds another piece of non-existent evidence that he finds persuasive: (page 79)
"The story could possibly have been even more explosive than Fruge thought. For on November 28, 1963, a Margaret Kay Kauffman of Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, told the FBI that her mother had recovered a piece of paper in the leaves beneath her porch. It was a trailer advertisement. In handwriting scrawled across the top left was the name of a club called the Silver Slipper or Silver Bell. In the top middle of the page was the name Lee Oswald. On the top right was the name Rubinstein [sic]. In the middle was the name Jack Ruby and at the bottom was the name Dallas, Texas. A Cuban doctor named Julio Fernandez often burned trash in their backyard, under her balcony. The paper with the names on it was found about 20 feet from his last burn. Fernandez's brother had been the captain of police under Fulgencio Batista."
The story mentioned in the first sentence refers to Rose Cherami who supposedly had foreknowledge of the JFK assassination. You can read more about Rose Cherami here. We'll come back to that shortly.
DiEugenio's source is Probe Magazine and an FBI memo written by SA Edward Kern on 12/2/61. This is a typo and here is the report by SA Edward Kern from 12/2/63 (this report and others are part of Warren Commission Exhibit 3067):
The above two pages contain the allegation cited by DiEugenio. But he leaves out the rest of the Warren Commission Exhibit. The FBI then talked to Mrs. Margaret Kathryn Hoover:
So, Mrs. Hoover could not locate the advertisement. The FBI then spoke to Mrs. Hoover's daughter:
Note that Mrs. Hoover first felt the materials were related to her husband's "amorous activities," and then later attributed the papers to Dr. Fernandez. Her daughter did not "place any particular significance on this discovery and did not recall it again until her mother called her..."
The FBI then spoke to Gerald Kauffman:
He says that his wife "was so confused by the matter that she could hardly corroborate information furnished by her mother and in fact, was probably confirming the information only to pacify her mother."
The FBI then went back to Mrs. Kauffman:
She was now having some doubt about the so-called advertisement. The FBI then discussed the possibility of charging Mrs. Hoover and Mrs. Kauffman with a crime.
Besides the basic allegation, James DiEugenio tells his readers nothing about the emotional stability of Mrs. Hoover, or the thoughts of her son-in-law. Lisa Pease does discuss the incident further in Probe Magazine. (Volume 2, No. 6)
Of course, she sees this all as FBI intimidation:
"Following the perpetual pattern, it seems the FBI scared (or perhaps threatened would be the better term) away a potentially important witness."
Of course, there is not one iota of evidence of any intimidation or any threat. How could she be an important witness? She couldn't produce any actual evidence!
Lisa Pease then discusses Dr. Fernandez. But before we get to that, here is the FBI report of their interview with him:
Dr. Fernandez was now teaching English and he sounds like a very interesting man. He opposed Batista and initially supported Castro. He only left Cuba when the oppression became unbearable.
For some reason Lisa Pease decided that she had to make an accusation against Dr. Fernandez:
"Not an ordinary Cuban by a longshot. And the chances of his being in contact with the CIA? According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle of 12/27/77, "One of the CIA's ventures in the United States involved the subsidization of several publications whose editors and publishers had fled Havana to Miami after the Castro government came to power in 1958. The subsidies - in some cases they amounted to several million dollars - were passed to the publication through a CIA front in New York called Foreign Publications, Inc."
Of course, Dr. Fernandez was teaching English - he was not an editor or a publisher in the United States. Pease continues:
"Could the Cuban Dr. Julio Fernandez have known of both Ruby and Oswald before the assassination through some CIA connection? We don't know. That lead was dropped as quickly as it had been discovered."
With absolutely no evidence, Pease accuses Dr. Fernandez of being involved with Ruby and Oswald. I am gratified the good Dr. Fernandez was spared the kind of interrogation that Ms. Pease would have happily taken part in.
Ok, back to the story of Mrs. Hoover. Gary Schoener, a JFK researcher, who at the time was a clinical psychology graduate student in Minneapolis, did a lot of work trying to find her. He wrote three memos on the incident and he actually found and interviewed her. What follows are his three memos and the transcript of his interview. Here is his first memo from March 14, 1968.
It's interesting that "Mrs. Hoover stated that she decided to keep an eye on the Fernandezes and that from time to time she picked papers out of their trash and kept them. When she had quite a pile of them (including names, addresses, etc.), she sent them to Senator Scott of Pa. from whom she got a nice thank you letter which she showed us."
After reading this memo, I got the distinct impression that Mrs. Hoover had issues with the Fernandez family. She found them suspicious, and some of the neighbors also felt the same way. For instance, Schoener wrote that "One evening, however, one of the neighbors looked in a window and saw them throwing darts at it [a picture of Kennedy]."
Here is Schoener's second memo from 7/7/68:
Schoener says that "she mentioned that many of the people in Martinsburg had suspected the Fernandezes of involvement in the assassination."
Here is Schoener's third memo from 12/13/68:
A large part of this memo is about Dr. Fernandez and his family. Mr. Leon Kentsinger, the high school principal, said that "the people of Martinsburg generally did not like them because they were Cubans, but primarily because they weren't clean and weren't good housekeepers." However, we do learn that the family left within two weeks of August 10, 1964 - because Mr. Fernandez got a better job near New York - and he had wanted to be near New York because of its arts and theater. I certainly wonder whether he decided to look for a new job because of the suspicions of his neighbors.
Schoener finally interviewed Mrs. Hoover, and here is the transcript of their conversation:
Please have a look at note #5 on page three. She identified a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald with a beard as being one of the people outside in a parked car.
Back then, there were many stories circulating around the country about the assassination. Here is Warren Commission Document #76 that outlined some of the stories:
Page 12 of the report mentions the incident under discussion:
But wait, there's more!
In July - August 1999, Lisa Pease of Probe Magazine once again looked at this incident and found an even more nefarious context:
"Given that Sergio Arcacha Smith and Emilio Santana were seen in the company of Rose Cheramie at a club called the Silver Slipper, this note takes on new significance. The only possible explanation for this kind of specificity would be that Dr. Julio Fernandez or someone in his household somehow knew of the plot to kill Kennedy in advance."
There is so much to say about this paragraph. Pease takes as the gospel truth that Mrs. Hoover really possessed an advertisement with the names Lee Oswald, Jack Ruby, and Dallas, TX written on it. The fact that it never turned up is no impediment to her.
Even if we assume it existed, the fact is that Mrs. Hoover did not initially remember the name of the club. Her daughter remembered it as either the Silver Slipper or the Silver Bell. Perhaps her daughter heard on the radio a reference to Jack Ruby's one time club, The Silver Spur.
On the Education Forum, James DiEugenio mentioned that Gary Schoener had done a lot of work on this case. Had Lisa Pease called him to discuss things? Check out an excerpt from the 3/14/68 memo above written by Schoener:
Tying this incident to Rose Cherami via the Silver Slipper Club in Eunice, Louisiana is ridiculous. Mrs. Hoover was referring to the Silver Slipper Club in Las Vegas. Not only does Lisa Pease connect Dr. Fernandez with the Cherami story, the "only explanation" she can find, for all of this, is that he had foreknowledge of the plot to kill JFK. What does that say about her imagination, and what does that about her research skills? Her editor, James DiEugenio, who knows Gary Schoener, also linked the story to Rose Cherami in his book, Destiny Betrayed.
There never was anything to this story. The well-intentioned Gary Schoener, like many other young people, got caught up in the assassination, and he went out and investigated. But there was nothing there. I certainly understand his enthusiasm to get out into the field.
What's hard to believe is that conspiracy theorists like Lisa Pease and James DiEugenio, who you would think would know better, use this story to peddle suspicion of an innocent man, and to cite the story as some sort of corroboration for the Rose Cherami fable.
I should add that James DiEugenio loves to cite non-existent evidence: a non-existent map of the Dallas sewer system in the possession of Sergio Arcacha Smith; a non-existent tape recording of conspirators in the possession of Richard Case Nagell; and non-existent photographs of Dealey Plaza taken by Bernardo de Torres.
I sent a link to this blog post to Gary Schoener and he sent this message to be added:
"I was fascinated to see all of these materials assembled so many decades after I originally compiled them. During most of that time I was not involved beyond sharing the information with the congressional investigation. I did not know Lisa Pease and do not know that she knew me or my work from so many years earlier. I still consider the questions it raised as unanswered and wish that the FBI had done its job of fully investigating. Sadly, although I went beyond the FBI, and we don't know what it was that Mrs. Hoover sent to them via Senator Scott (who confirmed this) which is not part of the commission's files, or what explanations Mr. Fernandez might have had for what the FBI had learned and the additional information I obtained. As for the Commission's summary of rumors, etc., I would note for the record that two of the largest documents in the archives were CD 1179 I and II -- plots against the president. Among crackpot stories were some serious ones such as the not too well disguised Miami plot which was tape recorded by an FBI informant. The FBI version does not make it clear that they had actual knowledge, and that the same group commented about how well it went as well as indicating that a key player was also the man who bombed the 16th Street Baptist church and killed those three little girls (a crime at the time still "unsolved")."