R. D. Matthews- a man of mystery and friend of Jack Ruby and Benny Binion.
R.D. MATTHEWS, a man of mystery and friend of Jack Ruby and Benny Binion
This writer was introduced to R.D. Matthews by Hy Goldbaum, a casino executive at the Dunes Hotel in the 1970s. R.D. Matthews was a good sized man that could handle himself in just about any situation. R.D. would pick up the diminutive Hy Goldbaum and hold him in the air like a baby, when Hy would grab R.D.’s throat in the mock act of trying to strangle him. This action was a humorous jab at R.D. Matthews, which really was to point out that R.D. was a “bad dude.” (1)
Goldbaum empathically said, No one ever messed with R.D. Matthews.”
At the Frontier Hotel. He was a regular pal of Johnny Stone and Dick Westbrook and no doubt did a little business with T.W. Richardson when they both frequented Cuba. In fact, R.D. had a small piece of a club in Havana.
Former FBI Agent Walt Brown writes, “In a subsequent visit to Dallas, with Jay having driven up from Austin, we took a couple of hours as a detour and visited a gun dealer somewhere a couple dozen miles north of Dallas.”
“It could have been Oklahoma for all I knew, as I was just taking in the scenery. We went inside, and Jay asked about a custom-made gun he wanted to buy.”
“The proprietor asked if he was in a position, legally and financially, I presume, to make such a purchase. Jay took out his .380 for demonstration purposes. Satisfied, the dealer asked what he wanted, and Jay told him, point blank, scaring the living sh** out of me, “I want a collection of guns. I want to own an operating replica of all the custom guns you’ve made for R.D. Matthews in his career of using special weapons to kill people.”
“We were asked to leave.”
“Don’t’ look for further references to Mr. Matthews, except in the noted testimonies—at least not while he is still alive.” (2)
Russell Douglas Matthews came to Las Vegas and worked for the legendary Benny Binion, at the Horseshoe Club. The House Assassinations Committee investigators showed a keen interest in the relationship between Jack Ruby and ex-convict Russell Douglas Matthews, a former Dallas resident with numerous arrests on his record.(3) Investigators told Matthews they intended to subpoena him for questioning about a report that Ruby had his telephone number with him when he gunned down accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of the Dallas Police Department on Nov. 24, 1963. Matthews, 57, told committee investigators he doesn’t “know anything about” the assassination, according to Matthews’ Dallas attorney, Frank Wright. However, the Committee also is interested in any contacts Matthews may have had with Ruby in Cuba in 1959 when Matthews was working in the gambling casinos of the Hotel Deauville in Havana. Federal declassified documents recently indicate Ruby was active in attempts to free organized crime figure Santos Trafficante from a Havana prison that year.
(1) Munari notes
(2) Walt Brown Chronology
(3) Earl Goltz, 1978
The Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, made no mention of a Matthews’ phone number on Ruby or in any of the notebooks he had. However, toll call records showed a 13-minute long distance call from Ruby’s Carousel Club in Dallas to Matthews’ ex-wife in Shreveport, Louisiana on October 3, 1963. The call to Elizabeth Ann Matthews was made on the night of the same day Oswald arrived in Dallas from a 10-day trip to Mexico City. In Mexico City, Oswald had tried unsuccessfully to get a visa for travel to Cuba. After the assassination, Mrs. Matthews said she “could not recall having received a long distance telephone call from Dallas on or about Oct. 3, 1963,” according to an FBI report, but R.D. Matthews himself might have received the call. Matthews said he was only a “passing acquaintance” of Ruby and had known him for about twelve years. However, a longtime friend of Ruby’s, Charles Duarte, told the FBI several days later in December 1963 that Matthews was “well acquainted with Ruby.”
Warren Commission staffer, Burt W. Griffin placed long distance calls inquiring of a Ruby-Matthews link just two days before the Commission’s final report was submitted to President Lyndon Johnson. Griffin called Ruby’s sister, Eva Grant; his roommate George Senator; business partner Ralph Paul; and Carousel Club bartender Andy Armstrong. None knew of any connection between Ruby and Matthews or Matthews’s ex-wife in Shreveport.
Oswald was not known to have been suspected of ever being in Cuba until an FBI document was declassified. In one memo, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover said Oswald “made several trips to Cuba; upon his return each time we questioned him about what he went to Cuba for and he answered that it was none of our business.” Hoover could have mistaken Oswald for Ruby except that the Dallas nightclub owner was found by the FBI to have visited Cuba only once—in 1959.
Marina Oswald was questioned by the House Committee on Assasinations and asked about R.D. Matthews:
Q. I am now going to ask you a series of names again to see if you know these people or if Lee knew these people when either of you were living in Dallas at either time. The first name is Russell Matthews, also known as R. D. Matthews.
Q. The next one is Irwin Weiner.
Q. If you have heard of these names even subsequently, please tell us.
A. Oh. sure.
Q. Louis McWillie.
Q. Joe Campisi or Sam Campisi.
Q. Lawrence Meyers.
Q. James Henry Dolan.
Q. Barney Baker.
Texas hitman, Charles Harrelson, father of Woody Harrelson, should be deposed and asked to take a polygraph examination. Harrelson was identified as the tall man in the famous photos of three so-called “tramps” who were arrested in the rail yard behind Dealey Plaza shortly after the assassination. Harrelson was convicted of murdering federal judge John Wood in the early 1980s and is currently serving his sentence in a Texas prison. Harrelson was high on cocaine when he was arrested for the murder of Judge Wood.
Judge Wood was the presiding official in the case Jamiel (“Jimmy”) Chagra, the alleged mastermind of the 1979 assassination of U.S. District Judge John Wood, Jr. Chagra, 59, was accused of leading a 1979 conspiracy to assassinate Wood, who was scheduled to preside over Chagra’s trial on drug charges. Wood was gunned down outside his home in San Antonio.
Chagra was acquitted of most charges in Wood’s death, but was found guilty of obstructing the investigation into the slaying and sentenced to ten years in prison. He also pleaded guilty in a failed 1978 assassination attempt on Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kerr of San Antonio and was sentenced to life in prison. Chagra was a very high-rolling gambler who frequented the Horseshoe Club in Las Vegas. Matthews was employed there at the time. (4)
(4) Robert Moore and Diana Washington Valdez, El Paso Times
One of the arresting officers reported that not only did Harrelson confess to killing the judge, but that he also admitted to participating in the assassination of President Kennedy. Harrelson later retracted his statement about taking part in the assassination, claiming that he fabricated it under the influence of the cocaine. When arrested, Harrelson was found to be carrying the business card of R. D. Matthews, who, according to the HSCA, was acquainted with Jack Ruby and with other Dallas crime figures. Indicted along with Harrelson in the plot to kill Judge Wood was the brother of New Orleans crime boss, Carlos Marcello, who was one of the Mafia figures named by the HSCA as possibly having been involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. Researcher J. Gary Shaw asked an anthropologist to compare photos of the tall tramp with pictures of Harrelson and the anthropologist concluded it was likely they were the same person. Similarly, police officers trained in photo identification have advised Harrison Livingstone that Harrelson definitely appears to be the tall tramp. Why hasn’t the FBI or the State of Texas followed up on any of this evidence? (5)
Former FBI Special Agent Walt Brown, author of Walt Brown Chronology recalled R.D. Mathhews, “I cannot help but suspect that your “slant” on JFK witnesses is tied in some manner to RD, as his was a name that people only whispered until his recent passing. I never met him, but I was in proximity in Prago’s Restaurant, where he held forth for many years. I also visited the weapons dealer in Oklahoma where RD had the tools of his trade specially made.” (6)
(5) Mike Griffith, researcher
(6) Walt Brown correspondence Nov. 2013
R.D. Matthews must have been an important character to many individuals as he was called before the Select Committee on Assassinations, U.S. House of Representatives, in Washington. D.C. His lawyer was Harry E. Claiborne, who went on to become a Federal Judge in Nevada and was later impeached. Benny Binion, the employer of R.D. Matthews at a later time, also testified in Claiborne’s defense.
Some of the questions posed to R.D. Matthews:
Q. Do you know if Jack Ruby was ever a police informant?
A. I have no way of knowing that.
Q. Do you know Mr. Sam Campisi?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. How do you know Mr. Campisi?
A. I went to school with Campisi, Sam Campisi, when we were kids. I have known him all my life.
Q. Have you ever had any business dealings with Campisi?
A. Business dealings, no. I don’t remember that we ever had any business dealings. He was a friend of mine. I knew him until the time he died. I went to his funeral.
Q. Do you know if Jack Ruby knew Mr. Campisi?
A. I don’t know. They could have. They were both in the kind of business that they’re in the public eye. They could have known each other. One of them had clubs. The other had a restaurant. I don’t know anything about their relationship.
Q. Do you know Mr. Joe Campisi?
A. Yes, sir, he is Sam’s brother. I know him well.
Q. Was your relationship with Joe Campisi the same as your relationship with Sam?
A. Joe was a little older, but yes, sir, I’ve known him for years.
Q. Do you know if Mr. Ruby knew Mr. Joe Campisi?
A. They could have, sir. I don’t how anything about their relationship.
Q. Do you know Mr. Joseph Civello?
A. No, sir. I’ve heard his name.
Q. You have never met him?
A. I might have met him at some time. I can’t say that I haven’t met him, but I wasn’t a friend of his or close associate.
Q. Do you know if Mr. Ruby knew Mr. Civello?
A. No, sir, I don’t know that.
Q. Do you know Mr. Dusty Miller?
A. No, sir.
Q. Have you ever heard that name?
A. I don’t remember that I did. I don’t remember.
Q. You do know and currently work for, in fact, Mr. Benny Binion, is that correct?
A. Yes, sir, I know Mr. Benny Binion. I work for him now.
Q. When did you first meet Mr. Binion?
A. It was out here, I guess. I don’t remember what year. It was 20, 25 years ago, I guess, 20 or 25. I don’t remember.
Q. When you say “out here,” do you mean Las Vegas?
A. Las Vegas, yes, sir.
Q. At that time you were living in the City of Dallas?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. How did you first meet Mr. Binion in Las Vegas?
A. I don’t remember. He is in business. I guess I maybe visited, someone introduced us, I guess. I don’t know.
Q. Was he living in Las Vegas at that time?
A. Benny Binion; yes, sir, he had a place of business.
Q. And you were here on—
A. (interrupting) Visiting.
Q. Did you maintain contact with Mr. Binion after you returned to Dallas?
A. No, sir.
Q. When did you next see Mr. Binion?
A. I don’t know. I came out here quite often.
Q. When you first moved to Las Vegas, did you immediately go to work for Mr. Binion?
A. No, sir.
Q. Who did you first work for in Las Vegas?
A. Johnie Lane in a racing sports club. The name of it was the paddock Racing Sports Club, on First Street.
Q. How long did you work there?
A. Three and a half years.
Q. Who did you work for after that time?
A. Benny Binion.
Q. Have you maintained contact with Mr. Lewis McWillie in Las Vegas?
A. No, sir.
Q. When was the last time you spoke to Mr. McWillie?
A. Well, he worked at the Horseshoe for a while. I believe that is the last time that I’ve seen him.
Q. What time period was that that he worked there?
A. Let’s see, I guess he has been gone away from there over a year ago, I suppose. He was working there when—we were working the same place together. I saw him then. I don’t recall seeing him any since then.
Q. While you were in Cuba did you ever have any business dealings with Mr. McWillie?
A. No, sir.
Q. Subsequent to your return from Cuba and his return from Cuba, did you ever have any business dealings with him?
A. No, sir.
Q. Did Mr. McWillie ever discuss Jack Ruby with you?
A. No, sir.
Matthews simply answered the questions and withheld obvious true answers from the investigators.
Writer Penn Jones made the comment, “Other recent disclosures suggest that in seeking to recruit operatives to participate in killing foreign leaders (particularly Castro), the CIA’s contacts may have reached the Dallas underworld—including close associates of Jack Ruby and, possibly, right-wing oil baron H.L. Hunt.” (7)
Jones further reports, “Alonzo (Lonnie) Hudkins, was a name long familiar to students of the John Kennedy assassination. A reporter for the Houston Post in 1963, Hudkins has been the subject of much controversy, particularly in regard to rumors and allegations that accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald might have been an informer for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
In an article by Mr. O’Toole: he writes about an interview he and writer Ron Rosenbaum had with Hudkins two years ago, in which Hudkins disclosed that in addition to his reportorial duties, he has in the past also dabbled in two other fields: petroleum engineering and assassination plots. (He also admitted to being involved in trying to smuggle a large shipment of arms into Cuba shortly before the ill-fated 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion). Hudkins told O’Toole and Rosenbaum that he sometimes worked in engineering positions for oil companies and that while in the employ of the Dallas-based H.L. Hunt Oil Company, he was recruited as a member of a CIA contract assassination team assigned to kill Castro and Cheddi Jagan of Guiana. However, like his various explanations for the origin of the Oswald/FBI rumor, Hudkins has told several contradictory versions of his purported involvement in the assassination plots. For example, Hudkins indicated to O’Toole and Rosenbaum that the CIA recruited him while he was employed as an engineer for Hunt Oil; but in 1967 he told Warren Report critic Shirley Martin of Oklahoma that while he was employed as a public relations man for the oil company, Hunt himself personally approached him about going to Mexico to help kill either Castro or Jagan. Then, last month in a lengthy telephone interview with Larry Harris, Hudkins said the plots originated in 1961, before he worked for Hunt—as the eccentric billionaire’s personal assistant flunky.” We have not been able to verify that Hudkins has worked—in whatever capacity—for Hunt or the Hunt Oil Company.(8)
In discussing the Castro/Jagan plots, Hudkins told Harris there was much he could not disclose. He did say that he was approached about the operation by “one of the hot-shot people from Washington.” When asked why the CIA would want his assistance in such an operation, Hudkins replied that he had had friends in the Agency since the 1950s and had “had dealings with Chem on other things and hadn’t blown any whistles.”
(7)The Continuing Inquiry 1978
(8)Following the interview with Hudkins, Barrie went to the Hunt Oil Company office and talked with James C. Oberwetter, spokesman for the Estate of H.L. Hunt. As Harris outlined Hudkins’ story, Oberwecter questioned him carefully and made notes. He said he did not recall ever hearing Hudkins’ name, but promised he would check personnel files if Harris would prepare a letter containing a summary of Hudkins’ allegations. Harris complied, but in a letter of reply, Oberwerter denied that he had ever spoken with Harris about such allegations. Pointing out that in his letter, Harris had questioned Hudkins’ credibility, the spokesman skirted the issue of Hudkins’ story and purported employment by Hunt. “Any comments we would make,” he wrote, “could be totally misunderstood” and “we will have nothing to say on the matter.” Oberwetcer closed his letter by adding, “We are growing very weary of responding to these allegations. Lately we have noticed that most of them are coming from writers and publishers who are crying to sell books and magazines and so we’ll have to leave it at that.”
But he said plans to assassinate the two leaders never progressed beyond the discussion stage. He and two other individuals recruited for the operation agreed that trying to hit Castro would be too dangerous. They felt it extremely unlikely that they could take Castro’s life and escape with their own. As for the attempt against Jagan, Hudkins told O’Toole and Rosenbaum that the White House got cold feet and called off the plans; but he told Harris that the three men simply decided there was no discernible reason or purpose for killing Jagan. He admitted that they certainly would have killed Castro had they been able to devise a safe way to do it and that killing the bearded premier would not have bothered Hudkins “one iota.”
Hudkins got a story to Attorney General Waggoner Carr that Oswald was linked to the FBI and the CIA. Hudkins claimed that Oswald had been paid $200 a month and that he had an identification number of 179. Carr passed this information to Warren Commission investigator Rankin. Rankin then ordered a secret meeting of the Warren Commission to look into these allegations. They finally turned to J. Edgar Hoover to settle the end to the rumor with Hoover responding, “[t]here was nothing to it.” (9) The statement by Dulles is incredible. He is trying to cover up information about Oswald that could help prove that he was directly working with the government and collaborate the statement from Oswald himself that he was a “patsy.”
(9) Robert Anson, They’ve Killed the President, 1975
Hudkins is an outspoken proponent of the “Castro-did-it” theory in the Kennedy assassination. He has frankly admitted promoting the idea of Castro’s involvement in order to tinder recent U.S. diplomatic overtures toward Cuba. Along with Hudkins, two other men supposedly were asked to take part in the plots. In 1967, Hudkins revealed the identity of one of them to Ms. Martin. That man’s name is Russell Douglas Matthews, 56, formerly of Dallas and now residing in Las Vegas. Who is R.D. Matthews? In a December 1963 FBI report he was named as a close associate of Jack Ruby and is referred to as a “strong-arm man.” Hudkins calls him a “small-time gambler, sort of a soldier of fortune.” In 1961, Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry termed him “an undesirable citizen.” His Dallas attorney says that at one time Matthews was “a local godfather” and “probably the closest thing to the Mafia that we’ve ever seen in this town.” Matthews had known Ruby for 12 years prior to the Kennedy assassination. Warren Commission Exhibit 2303 shows that Ruby placed a 13-minute phone call to Matthews’ wife three weeks before JFK visited Dallas. (10) A reliable source who knew Matthews well told Gary Shaw that another Matthew’s crony and gambling companion was Hudkins’ purported one-time employer, the late Mr. Hunt. (It will be recalled that Jack Ruby visited the Hunt offices on November 21, 1963).
Hudkins explained to Harris why the CIA approached Matthews with the idea of killing Castro: “The reason they wanted him was that he knew Castro. He had fought with Castro down in Cuba and apparently under the belief that Castro would set him up with a casino or two there in Havana. And then as soon as Castro got power, Castro closed down all the casinos. So R.D., bitter, folded up his tent and left.” Hudkins maintains that Matthews is “an innocent party” in the plots because he adamantly refused to participate. Matthews, according to Hudkins, is “too nice a person to get caught up in that crap.”
Our files on Matthews suggest otherwise. A glance at Matthews’ rap sheet shows why Jesse Curry considered the one-time member of the notorious Lois Green Gang “an undesirable citizen.” His career in crime dates from at least 1949 and includes arrests for just about everything—including burglary, possession of cocaine, illegal bookmaking and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle. He served two years in Leavenworth for possession of marijuana and has been questioned frequently by police in robbery, burglary, and murder investigations.
In 1970, Matthews filed a suit seeking to declare Texas and Dallas vagrancy laws unconstitutional and to enjoin local law authorities from arresting him. According to the Dallas Morning News (2-26-70), he was jailed 57 times for vagrancy in 1968 and 1969. The suit was dismissed in 1972 and Matthews moved to Nevada. Harris conferred with Matthews’ attorney, a very prominent Dallas criminal lawyer, to see if Matthews would confirm the Hudkins story. The attorney indicated that his client is a very reticent man who is zealous about his privacy and is “allergic” to reporters or publicity of any kind. Pointing out that Matthews is both impatient and short-tempered, the attorney went on to suggest that it would be wise not to disturb him. However, after being told of the nature of Hudkins’ allegations, the lawyer agreed to contact Matthews and get his reaction.
Subsequently, Matthews said he does not remember or recognize Hudkins’ name and “very emphatically” (the attorney’s terminology) denies that anyone ever approached him about assassinating Castro. Perhaps seeking to dissuade Harris from trying to personally contact Matthews, the attorney related an incident in which his client once snarled at a television cameraman and threatened to kick his teeth in if he filmed Matthews leaving a federal court. That Matthews is not a man to be trifled with is apparent in a story told to Cary Shaw by a one-time Matthews associate. According to the account, Matthews and some friends were in a Dallas lounge listening to a female vocalist. While she was singing Matthews’ favorite song, a male patron at a nearby table annoyed Matthews by talking too loud. He told the man to be quiet. When the man continued to converse in a loud voice, Matthews produced a pistol and fired a shot only inches above the offending patron’s head.
The Committee also concentrated its attention on Santos Trafficante, the La Cosa Nostra leader in Florida. The Committee found that Trafficante, like Carlos Marcello, had the motive, means, and opportunity to assassinate President Kennedy. Trafficante was a key subject of the Justice Department crackdown on organized crime during the Kennedy administration with his name being added to a list of the top ten Syndicate leaders targeted for investigation. Ironically, Attorney General Kennedy’s strong interest in having Trafficante prosecuted occurred during the same period in which CIA officials, unbeknownst to the Attorney General, were using Trafficante’s services in assassination plots against the Cuban chief of state, Fidel Castro. (1)
The Committee found that Santos Trafficante’s stature in the national Syndicate of organized crime, notably the violent narcotics trade and his role as the Mob’s chief liaison to criminal figures within the Cuban exile community, provided him with the capability of formulating an assassination conspiracy against President Kennedy. Trafficante had recruited Cuban nationals to help plan and execute the CIA’s assignment to assassinate Castro. (The CIA gave the assignment to former FBI Agent Robert Maheu, who passed the contract along to Mafia figures, Sam Giancana and John Rosselli. They, in turn, enlisted Trafficante to have the intended assassination carried out.)  House Assassination Committee
In his testimony before the Committee, Trafficante admitted participating in the unsuccessful CIA conspiracy to assassinate Castro—an admission indicating his willingness to participate in political murder. Trafficante testified that he worked with the CIA out of a patriotic feeling for his country, an explanation the Committee did not accept— at least not as his sole motivation.
As noted, the Committee established a possible connection between Trafficante and Jack Ruby in Cuba in 1959. It determined there had been a close friendship between Ruby and Lewis McWillie who, as a Havana gambler, worked in an area subject to the control of the Trafficante Mafia family. Further, it assembled documentary evidence that Ruby made at least two, if not three or more trips to Havana in 1959 when McWillie was involved in underworld gambling operations there. In fact, Ruby may have been serving as a courier for underworld gambling interests in Havana, probably for the purpose of transporting funds to a bank in Miami. The Committee also found that Ruby had been connected with other Trafficante associates— R.D. Matthews, Jack Todd, and James Dolan, all of Dallas. (1)The C.I.A. could have easily provided the disinformation to the Committee that Trafficante had the “capability of formulating an assassination conspiracy against President Kennedy.”
As the different concepts and theories are examined, it is important to realize that in its deceptive methods, the CIA could have easily put out a false story to put the blame on the Mafia and the Cubans; however, the CIA could have easily recruited the Dallas Mob to handle the job of eliminating witnesses in the Kennedy investigation. (2)
Cui Bono? (Who benefits?)  Ibid  5. Cover: planning should include provision for blaming Sovs or Czechs in case of blow … organization criminals, those with record of arrests, those who have engaged in several types of crime. Corsicans recommended. Sicilians could lead to Mafia. Stockton, Bayard (2006-11-30). Flawed Patriot: The Rise and Fall of CIA Legend Bill Harvey (pp. 156-157). Potomac Books. Kindle Edition.
Russell Douglas Matthews
The Understatment of the Year:
http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dallasmorningnews/obituary.aspx?n=rd-russell-d-matthews&pid=165942208 – fbLoggedOut
Matthews, RD (Russell D.) 92, A WWII, 2nd Marine Division, veteran, who was awarded The Navy Cross and The Purple Heart. RD will be missed by his wife of 40 years, Linda, daughter, Peggy and grandsons.
(1054) Russell Douglas Matthews was born on July 26, 1920, inAspermont, Tex. When he was 7, he moved to Dallas. (1522) He served in the Marine Corps from December 1941 to October 1945. (1523)
After leaving the Marines, Matthews returned to Dallas, where he remained until 1958. From July 1958 to January 1959, he resided in Havana, Cuba ; he was also there from the middle of 1959 to November 1959. (1524) Ile returned to Dallas and remained there until January 1971. In the early 1960’x, Matthews resided inIrving, Tex. (1525)
According to FBI reports, Mrs. Donna Sue Helton, a known prostitute, also resided at his Irving address. (1526) FBI reports in 1967 and 1968 list Matthews’ address as 4509 Southern Avenue, Dallas. (1527)
In 1971, Matthews moved to Las Vegas and, as of 1978, was residing there. (1528)
(1055) There is very little information regarding Matthews’ employment prior to 1958 when he traveled to Cuba. In his deposition, he stated he could not remember the jobs lie had had in Dallas . (1529) Matthews said, “I have been in business by myself most of my life.”
(1530) He did not elaborate on this statement except to note that he had never been employed in a club in Dallas. (1531) Later in the deposition, Matthews stated he was in the bail bond business inDallas before moving to Cuba. (1532)
(1056) Matthews said that he owned two bars in Cuba. One was in the lobby- of the Plaza Hotel, the other on Henio Street; it was called the Sportsman’s Club. (1533) He had purchased the Sportsman’s Club from a Cuban in 1958.(1534) He acquired the other bar after Castro came to power, in the early part of 1959.(1535) Matthews stated that while in Cuba, he resided “for a while” in the Deauville Hotel. (1536)
In two separate FBI interviews, he stated he worked in the gambling casinos at the Hotel Deauville. (1537)
(1057) After his return from Cuba, the record again is vague regarding his employment. A 1960 11’B1 report states that Matthews was operating a bail bond and loan company on Record Street in Dallas. (1538) On September 22, 1961, the FBI was advised that Matthews was residing in an apartment at 3918 Travis Street . Clayton Fowler owned the apartment house. Matthews was allegedly employed as a bondsman for Fowler . (1539)
(1058) A 1962 FBI report states that during 1960, Matthews was employed as a “bouncer” at the New Orleans Room, owned by Joe Slatin. (1540) The informant believed, however, that Matthews would not actually work in the Orleans Room but had arranged an agreement with Slatin so he could be downtown without being arrested for
vagrancy. (1541) In his deposition, Matthews admitted knowing Slatin. (1542)
(1059) Two 1963 FBI reports state that Matthews was thought to be part owner or manager of the Redman Club in Dallas. (1543)
Another FBI report indicates that Matthews frequented the Redman Club. (1544) The club was reportedly being used by its members and proprietor for gambling activities, specifically high stake poker games. (1545) In his deposition, Matthews indicated he had heard of the Redman Club and described it as a “social club for members only.” (1546) He stated, “They might have had some friendly poker games occasionally between the members. It was not a gambling club.” (1547) Matthews did not state that he had any interest in this establishment.
(1060) A 1967 FBI report notes that by all indications, Matthews was manager of the Skynight Club in Dallas. (1548) The report states that in 1966, for a short period, Matthews operated the Skynight Club.
In his deposition, Matthews admitted having heard of it . (1549) (1061) After Matthews moved to Las Vegas, he obtained a work permit from the Las Vegas police department on January 26, 1971, to work at the Paddock Racing Sports Club for Johnnie Lane. (1550)
He worked at this club for 31/2 years. (15.51) In 1978, Matthews was employed by Benny Binion at the Horseshoe Club in Las Vegas. (1552)
Treatment by the Warren Commission
(1062) The FBI interviewed both Matthews and his ex-wife, Elizabeth Ann Matthews, nee Elizabeth Ann Hedlund, a Dallasprostitute.
(1553) The Warren Commission conducted no further investigation of Matthews.
(1069) Matthews’ only apparent legitimate vocation and source of income was the management of bars, clubs and restaurants. He also was allegedly involved in the bail bond business. (1570) Based on his numerous arrests, (1571) financial ventures in Cubaand relatively recent move to Las Vegas, Matthews with her ex-husband or of his involvement in criminal activity.
Matthews stated in his deposition that he could not remember exactly when he was divorced, but it was right about the time of the assassination or in the late 1950’s (1569) Elizabeth Ann Matthews presumably may have had additional information regarding Matthews’ activities in Dallas and Cuba during the 1950’s.
(1071) Matthews had been actively engaged in criminal activity since the 1940’s. He was described in one FBI report as a burglar, armed robber, narcotics pusher and murderer. (1574) Another described him as armed and dangerous, stating that he had been known to carry firearms and to use explosives in the past. (1575) Among other violations,
Matthews was arrested in 1949 in Cleburne, Tex., for burglary ; he was arrested and convicted in 1950 for violating the Federal Narcotics Act ; in 1966 he was arrested in Oklahoma City for possession of a concealed weapon ; and he was arrested in 1967 in Garland, Tex., for bookmaking ; in 1976, he pled guilty in Las Vegas to a violation of the
Wagering Act. (1576)
(1072) Hollis de Lois Green gang.-An FBI report stated that subsequent to World War II in 1948, Matthews joined up with surviving members of the Hollis de Lois Green gang. This gang specialized in burglaries of pharmaceutical houses and large drugstores for narcotics and cash. (1577)
(1073) In 1959, Sheriff Decker reported that past associates of Matthews are “underworld characters” Hollis de Lois Green, Jettie Bass, Nick Cascio, James Robert Todd and Angelo Thomas Casten.
(1578) In his deposition, Matthews admitted knowing James Robert Todd. (1579) He described Todd as an acquaintance from 25 years ago who, to his knowledge, was not involved in gambling activities or safecracking. (1580)
(1074) There is also evidence that Matthews was associated with
Angelo Thomas Casten. (1581) (1075) In a 1963 FBI report, Matthews is included among a group of people considered the higher echelon in Dallas bookmaking.
(1582) A 1964 report states that Matthews was known to have been involved in bookmaking activities in the Dallas area following his management of a private club which catered to small-stake poker games. (1583) Matthews was described by three informants as “a strongarm man for the collection of gambling debts, hired by Dallas bookmakers John Eli Stone and Isadore Max Miller.”(1584) The same report(1585) lists three separate groups of bookmakers who could be considered the major operations in the Dallas area. (1586)
One was composed of John Eli Stone, Isadore Max Miller and James Woodrow Stone.(1587) It was reported that on March 9, 1964, John Eli Stone and Matthews left Dallas together, via Delta Airlines, for Las Vegas. (1588) This report also states that Matthews was considered as one of the less significant Dallasbookmakers. (1589) A 1967 FBI report states that Matthews was currently operating a booking operation in Garland, Tex. (1590) Matthews also was arrested several tunes for bookmaking activities. (1591)
(1476) In his deposition, Matthews admitted knowing John Eli Stone for 30 years, but said he had no business dealings with him. (1592) He did not recall taking a trip with Stone from Dallas to Las Vegas. (1593) Matthews did admit knowing Max Miller and
described him as an “old acquaintance .”(1594) Matthews stated he never saw Miller involved in any gambling activities . (1595) A 1973 application for a wiretap listed Isadore Dlax Miller and John Eii Stone, along with R. D. Matthews, as allegedly being involved in illegal gambling activities. (1596)
(1077) A 1964 FBI report states that James Henry Dolan and R. D. Matthews were “notorious hoodlums.”(1597) Dolan was described an informant as a strong-arm man who had been employed by Santos Trafficante, Jr., a leading Florida organized crime leader .
(1598) Dolan was also described as a strong-arm man employed by John Eli Stone and Isadore Max Miller to collect gambling debts. 1599) A 1962 FBI report states that Matthews was a Dallashoodlum who visited Dolan regularly. In his deposition, Matthews admitted knowing Dolan, but said it was only a casual relationship. (1800)
(1078) The FBI files indicate that Matthews had been the subject of investigation by the Dallas FBI office over a period of years, going back to 1963 for possible violation of the antiracketeering statutes and more recently the Federal gambling statutes. (1801)
The record does not make clear whether these investigations led to an arrest or conviction. They probably at least contributed to Matthews’ arrest in 1966 for failure to pay for a gambling tax stamp and his guilty plea in 1976 for violation of title 18, U.S .C. section 1084
(1079) In 1973, an FBI airtel from Dallas reported that an application had been made for an order authorizing a wiretap of Matthews, along with several others. (1803) This application stated that there was probable cause to believe Matthews was involved in illegal gambling business . Again, it was not clear whether the wiretap led to an arrest or conviction, although Matthews was arrested in 1975 and 1976 on gambling charges. (1804)
(1080) On December 13, 1960, Matthews was observed by theDallas criminal intelligence section. He was seen at the New Orleans Room, 1513 Commerce Street, Dallas, in conversation with its owner and operator, Joe Slatin. This report also states that Matthews was then employed at the New Orleans Room as a “bouncer.”
(1081) On January 29, 1961, Matthews was arrested on a vagrancy charge at the Parkering Motel in Dallas. The police ascertained that James Robert Todd had been at the motel with Matthews just prior to the arrest. (1806) In March 1960, Matthews was seen in the company of Jack Todd at Fitzgerald’s Bar in Dallas. (1807)
Organized Crime Connections
(1082) A 1976 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) report states that in 1946 cr 1947, Joe and Sam Campisi bought the Idle Hour Bar in Dallas and were known to be associated with Joe Civello and Russell Matthews. (1808) This report also states that
Mendosa and Gonzales in Havana. The informant stated that it was apparent Matthews and Lewis were partners or affiliated in theDallas rackets, and that Matthews had worked a big-time gambling house in Havana. (1625)
(1089) In his deposition, Matthews admitted knowing Sam Paxton and described him as an acquaintance. (1626) He did not know if Paxton was associated with Trafficante.
(1090) In 1978, Matthews was employed by Benny Binion, who operated the Benny Binion Horseshoe Club in Las Vegas. During the late 1930’s and the 1940’s, Binion had been involved in illegal gambling activities in the Dallas area . He had admitted killing two individuals during this period. (1627) Matthews stated that he had known Binion
for 20 or 25 years, (1628) but that he had never had any business dealings with hire aside from his current employment. (1629)
(1091) Matthews admitted knowing Lewis J. McWillie prior to his trip to Cuba. McWillie had been associated with a club in Dallasprior to going there. In Cuba, McWillie was employed as a pit boss at the Tropicana Casino. In 1978, McWillie was living in Las Vegas.
Matthews originally stated he had never met McWillie in Cuba, but later indicated he might have “just run into him.”(1630) He claimed he had not maintained contact with McWillie and had lead no business dealings with him. (1631) (1092) When asked if there had been a crackdown on gambling activities in 1947 in Dallas, Matthews responded I suppose there mig’it have been. I wasn’t involved in it so I don’t know, but I have heard this, yes, that they had an election and there might have been something going on before that that was no longer allowed. I have heard this, yes. (1632)
(1093) When Matthews was questioned about gambling in Dallas from 1960 to 1963, lie responded that he was not aware of any gambling or drug trafficking in Dallas in that period. (1633) He also stated he was not aware of any gun smuggling or narcotics trade with Cuba or Mexico. (1634)
Relationship With, Ruby
(1094) In interviews of Ruby associates after the Oswald shooting, Matthews was cited as a friend and associate of Ruby. (1635) In an FBI interview, dated December 15, 1963, Matthews stated he had known Ruby for about 12 years and probably met him through Ruby’s operation of the Vegas Club. (1636) He characterized Ruby as a “passing acquaintance.” (1637) On October 3, 1963, a long-distance telephone call of 13 minutes was made from the Carousel Club to Matthews’ ex-wife . (1638) Elizabeth Ann Matthews could not recall receiving the call. (16.19)
(1095) When asked when he first met Ruby, Matthews replied I can’t really tell you that. I don’t know him that well. I don’t really know how to answer that. I can’t answer that. I
don’t know. How I really met him, I don’t know. (1640)
Matthews later guessed that he met Ruby in the late 1950’s. (1641) He did not recall ever meeting with Ruby. (1642) He stated, “I knew him to speak to him on the street but. I don’t remember ever hating any meetings with him.”(1613) When asked what was the nature of his interaction with Ruby, Matthews responded Nothing. He was a man that was well-known around on the streets of Dallas . If you pass by him on the street he’s liable
to introduce himself to you, so if I’d pass him I’d say hello. I don’t know what else to tell you. (1611)
(1096) Matthews did not recall the names of Ruby’s clubs and stated lie could not remember ever being in any club owned by Ruby. (1615) Matthews could not state when he had last seen Ruby. (1616) He maintained he did not see Ruby in Cuba. (16117)
Associates Known by Both, (1097) Matthews admitted being acquainted with James Robert Todd for 25 years. (1618) Todd’s phone number was found in Ruby’s
automobile. Todd had admitted knowing Ruby for about 10 or 12 years. (16’1,0) Todd was also associated with the de Lois Green Gang.
(1098) A 1958 DEA report suggests that R. D. Matthews and Juanita Phillips (aka Candy Barr) were involved in drug traffickiug.(1650) The report states that Matthews served 2 years for possession of cocaine. (1651) In 1957, Phillips was sentenced to 15 years for
possession of marijuana, and at the time of the report was out on an appeal bond.(1662) Ruby was also associated with Phillips. OnNovember 13, 1963, a call was made from the Carousel Club to Phillips; it lasted 14 minutes.(1653) One FBI report states that in 1956 Ruby had had a girl friend named Candy Barr. (1651.) Another FBI report states that Ruby approached a pilot for the Texas Department of Corrections regarding assistance in obtaining an early parole for Candy Barr. (1655) Matthews admitted knowing Joe Campisi. (1656) Ruby also knew Campisi. On Friday, November 29, 1963, Campisi was advised that Ruby wanted to see him. (1657) Campisi visited Ruby in jail on November 30, 1963.(1658) He stated that his last contact with Ruby had been the Thursday before Thanksgiving, when Ruby came into the Egyptian Lounge. (1650) Matthews also allegedly frequented the Egyptian Lounge. (1660)
(1099) Matthews also admitted knowing McWillie. Ruby, too, was associated with McWillie. In 1959, McWillie had invited Ruby to visit him in Cuba. (1661) Ruby did subsequently visit McWillie inCuba. (1662)
(1100) Matthews admitted knowing Joe Slatin but did not know if Ruby knew Slatin .(1663) One FBI report states that Slatin may have employed Aatthews as a bouncer in his club .(1661) Ruby had also been associated with Slatin in the formation of the Sovereign Club.( 1665) They, were, in fact, partners in the S & R Corp. during the early part of 1960. (1666)
(1101) On June 6, 1964, Earl Manchester, an employee in the Service Department for Braniff Airways, Newark Airport, discovered a letter in a Braniff plane. It was typewritten, datedMay 22, 1964, to “Don Jansen” from “S. Martin.” Within the letter, the following passage, attributed solely to a “Texas reporter,” appeared in quotations:
For God’s sake, don’t tell the FBI, but back about February (1963) when I was working for H. L. Hunt, some very prominent Texas men, R. D. Matthews, and I discussed the
possibility of doing away with Cheddie [sic] Jagan or Castro or both. Not by the U.S. Government, you understand, but on a private basis. Hunt said we could have all the cash we needed, the others were in it, too, on a cash basis. We were going to get Castro sometime when he (Castro) went to Mexico. Understand now, we dropped it. R. D. didn’t go for it.
Meanwhile, we understood there was a group in Florida with the same idea. Also, the Govermnent knew all about it. (1667)
(1102) Lonnie Hudkins, a reporter for the Houston Post in 1963, allegedly told Shirley Martin, a Warren Report critic, that while he was employed as a public relations man for Hunt Oil Co., Hunt personally approached him about going to Mexico to help kill either Castro or Cheddi Jagan, former Prime Minister of Guyana. (1665) According to Hudkins, the project never went forward because he and two other individuals believed the operation was dangerous. (1669) In 1967, Hudkins revealed the identity of one of the other participants to be R. D. Matthews. (1670)
(1103) In his deposition, Matthews denied being present at any meeting where the possibility of killing Castro was discussed. (1671) He stated he had never heard people discussing the assassination of Castro. (1672) Matthews did admit hearing the name of H. L. Hunt. (1673)
(1104) Deposition taken by the House Select Committee on Assassinations
Some more about R.D. Matthews