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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Was There a Link Between Jack Ruby and David Ferrie?

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

{Note that I am standing on the shoulders of giants - David Reitzes wrote a terrific article on Lawrence Meyers years ago, and Stephen Roy also did some great work on on this story.]

Lawrence Meyers is one of the few people who testified before both the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). He had been a salesperson for a sporting goods company - and had never engaged in any criminal activities and he never had a criminal record. Nor was he ever the subject of any investigations - until the assassination of JFK.

And yet, many conspiracy theorists believe he is the link between Jack Ruby and David Ferrie. He also might be the connection that proves Ruby's ties to organized crime.

In the early 1960s, Meyers would make frequent business trips to Dallas and he met Jack Ruby at The Carousel. They hit it off largely because they were both from Chicago and they were both Jewish. Every time Meyers was in Dallas he would look up Ruby at the club.

Meyers arrived in Dallas on November 20, 1963 with Jean West (aka Jean Aase), whom he had just met a week or two earlier in Chicago. He described her as a "semi-professional hooker," (HSCA IX, page 906) and as a "rather dumb, but accommodating broad" (Warren Commission Exhibit 2267, Volume XXV) and they stayed at the Dallas Cabana Motor Hotel.

On November 21, 1963, Meyers took West to The Carousel. They met Ruby there, and later on, at about midnight, Ruby went to the Cabana Hotel to have drinks with them. Meyers' brother Edward, in town for a Pepsi-Cola convention, joined them. When Ruby heard that he worked for Pepsi, he immediately wondered if they might be interested in the exercise board he was trying to push. Ruby stayed a few minutes and went back to the club.

Meyers claimed he had dinner with Ruby on November 23, 1963. On Sunday, Meyers played golf and heard the news that Ruby had shot Oswald. He never contacted Ruby again, and after he flew back to Chicago, he never saw West again either.

Little did Lawrence Meyers know that he would get a second 15-minutes of fame.

In January 1967, Jim Garrison received the phone records of G. Wray Gill, the lawyer for Carlos Marcello, who was also the employer of David Ferrie. Here is an excerpt from the diary of Richard Billings for January 1967:

"Giant has from Gill 1962 and 1963 phone bills and thinks he knows l. d. [long distance] calls made by Ferrie . . . Some interesting calls to Texas, but most interesting is fact that bill for November 1963 is missing."

Gill's secretary, Alice Guidroz, had marked off the calls made by Gill, supposedly leaving the phone calls made by David Ferrie. An aside here - Stephen Roy founds records for many of the November 1963 calls. Here is what Garrison found:

Garrison's notation reads:

(9/24 is date L.O. {Lee Harvey Oswald] ostensibly left N.O. for Mexico). This is the call made to Lawrence Meyers' contact in the twin marinas in Chicago (with whom Meyers left for Dallas on Nov. 20th) (See W/C documents where same number is called from Eros [sic] MFG Co - Meyers' Co - prior to trip to Dallas where Meyers meets with Ruby nightly). Note, further, that the same day our man makes call to Washington.

You can see a phone call to WH 4-4970. However, it was a person to person call (as opposed to station to station), and the phone records specify that the call went to Jean Aase (misspelled Asie).

A researcher going through Ferrie's phone calls wrote this memo (I am not sure who wrote this):

So, you have both Lawrence Meyers and David Ferrie calling the same number in Chicago. Was this the link between David Ferrie and Jack Ruby?

Garrison included Meyers in his November 1967 memo about leads:

On December 24, 1967 Garrison wrote a memo titled "Organized Crime Aspects of the Assassination." He included one segment on Meyers:

It doesn't appear that anybody followed up the so-called lead.

But Garrison still thought this was all very suspicious. He writes in A Heritage of Stone: (page 124-125)

"Here we have Ferrie, Oswald's mentor and associate in New Orleans, calling a telephone number which has a factual correlation with the patriotic nightclub owner who killed Oswald in Dallas. There is a time correlation as well. Ferrie placed the call to Chicago on the exact day Oswald left New Orleans. The owner of the Chicago telephone went to Dallas the day before the assassination with a man who then met Jack Ruby. There are millions upon millions of telephones in America. The arm of coincidence is not so long that it can be plausibly regarding as responsible for the interconnecting relationship of one Chicago telephone to David Ferrie in New Orleans and Jack Ruby in Dallas before the assassination."

Garrison speculated further in On The Trail of The Assassins: (page 110)

"Was Ferrie calling, perhaps, to report to some intermediary that the sheepdipping job had been completed or that "the kid is leaving New Orleans" or something of the sort?"

Sheepdipping is a favorite term of Garrison's. It appears nine times in On The Trail of Assassins. It is "a term for this kind of manipulated behavior designed to create a desired image." (pages 61 - 62)

It's time for a closer look at these phone calls. It's not at all clear that David Ferrie made that phone call, and it's not clear that the phone call was to Jean Aase.

"Among those working in the office in 1963, by their own accounts, were G. Wray Gill Sr., Gilbert Bernstein, Gerard H. Schreiber, George W. Gill, Jr., Alice Guidroz, Regina Francovich, David W. Ferrie, Morris L. Brownlee, plus one other secretary and two investigators."

Any one of those people could have made the phone call, and none of them were asked about it. In addition, we are relying on the memory of Alice Guidroz, three years after the fact, to determine which phone calls Gill made or didn't make.

In addition, the phone call made from Gill's office was to an apartment hotel - the call went to the reception desk. There were 146 apartments in the building, and as well as several employees. There is absolutely no evidence the phone call went to Jean Aase.

Of course, at the time of the phone call, Jean Aase had not yet met Lawrence Meyers. And, in 1998, researcher Peter Whitmey, who had interviewed Jean Aase, wrote on a newsgroup that that "Ms. Aase did not know David Ferrie, did not recall receiving a 15-minute phone call originating in New Orleans from Ferrie on Sept. 24, 1963, and did not know Jack Ruby before meeting him with Lawrence Meyers shortly before the assassination."

Despite the lack of evidence that ties Ruby to Ferrie, Jim Garrison went further off the deep end in his book, On The Trail of The Assassins. He was even suspicious about Jean West's changing of her name:

"...the constant changing of her name, which would confuse anyone who wanted to know more about her, confirmed for me that something about her - or her phone number - was suspicious." (page 112)

Garrison realized that he "had stumbled across the use of a "message center" - a customary intelligence community device to throw off the would-be pursuer of a phone-call listing. And in this instance the message center apparently had resulted in a communication with Jack Ruby." (ibid)

He got his team together to brainstorm and they figured out what was really going on. Here is the dialog of their meeting, shorn of Garrison's dramatic narrative flourishes: (page 113-114)

D'alton Williams: Your message center idea looks like a probability to me. But I think the picture could be made clearer. Ruby was from Chicago, wasn't he?
Garrison: Sure, and so were Jean West and Lawrence Meyers. Some of these people must have known each other. That's what makes the message center fit so well.
Williams: But there's one problem. What if we're dealing with a C.I.A. message center here? David Ferrie obviously didn't have enough status to be deciding what message was going to be sent and where. Remember we're assuming this communication went right on through to Jack Ruby.
Lou Ivon: Ruby wasn't that much.
Frank Klein: That's not D'alton's point. He's saying that someone - like the original instigator of the message - knew what was on the schedule for Ruby.
Williams: Right. So why don't we start asking ourselves who Dave Ferrie's boss was. Didn't Guy Banister used to be the head of the Chicago office of the F.B.I.?
Ivon: I'll be damned. Chicago to Chicago all the way through to Chicago.
Williams: Do I get a gold star for figuring out that Guy Banister probably knew Jack Ruby?
Garrison: No, because Ruby left Chicago for the Air Force in the late 1940s and there's nothing to indicate that Banister knew Ruby that early. But you get a silver star. The probability is that, with their Chicago connections, they knew of some of the same people there.
James Alcock: But how do we get to know for sure that our message center up there is the real thing?
Garrison: I don't know. For now, all we have is a model of a message center. We'll just have to work with that.

This is how Garrison's District Attorney's office worked. Or should I say, this is how the District Attorney's mind worked.

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