Former Herald Reporter Escapes Gangsters’ Plot

Decatur Herald/July 9, 1930


Leland Reese, Chicago Newsman, Lingle Intimate, Aids Crime Exposé


Leland H. Reese, formerly a reporter for The Herald and now on the staff of the Chicago Daily News, Tuesday morning presented a challenge and offer of assistance to the new Chicago grand jury as it opened its official investigation of the subway murder of Alfred “Jake” Lingle, Chicago Tribune reporter.

Reese was employed on the Herald’s editorial staff in 1913. Later he was employed by the Illinois State Journal in Springfield, and later was in newspaper work in Sioux City, Ia. In that city he enlisted in the army for service in the world war. After his return from overseas he entered newspaper work in Chicago, where he has since been employed.

Life Threatened

Reese’s offer of assistance to the grand jury was accompanied by another from Harry Brundidge, reporter for the St. Louis Star, whose articles accusing unnamed Chicago reporters of being as deeply involved in racketeering as was Lingle created a furore in newspaper circles in Chicago.

Reese, in an article in the Chicago Daily News Monday afternoon, stated he felt certain he was one of the “unnamed reporters” referred to and told how he was injured last Friday morning when his automobile was sideswiped off the road by a mysterious “good sized black sedan” near DeKalb, Ill., and also offered to appear before the grand jury.

Reese is confined to a hospital in DeKalb, where he was taken following the collision.

 May Help Big Expose

The former Herald reporter denied any charges that he ever had any “scandalous” connections with gangland, told how he had received news tips from Julius Rosenheim, slain informer, and said his life had been threatened since the Lingle murder. He believes, he stated, that his automobile was wrecked purposely. He and two bodyguards were injured in the accident.

The Chicago Tribune Tuesday morning pointed out that “there may come before the state’s attorney’s office and the present grand jury not only the murder of Alfred Lingle, but also the slaying of Rosenheim and the admitted threats to kill Reese.”

The Chicago Herald and Examiner stated that “There is prospect of an authoritative airing of the insinuations that have been made as to the ‘higher-ups’ who may have backed Lingle.”

Car Crowded from Road

According to Reese’s story, he and Allen Finlay, a special police officer, and Ed Braun left Chicago about midnight Thursday, July 3, headed for the western part of the state. They delayed getting on the road, Reese said, to escape early holiday traffic.

“At DeKalb we stopped at a filling station,” the story went on. “Just after us came a good sized black sedan. It kept behind us, apparently following, for so long that our attention was attracted to it.

“About 10 miles west of DeKalb we stopped to let the other car pass. It did not do so, but lagged behind. We then put on speed again.

“Almost as soon as we had done so the other car rushed abreast of us. We were crowded off the road into the ditch. Our car turned over and lit upright on its wheels. After a while we were picked up by a motor bus and taken to a hospital in DeKalb.

“Finley and Braun each received broken ribs. I was badly bruised on the head, left arm and neck.”

Intimating his belief that the “accident” was a deliberate attempt on his life, Reese declared that he had received a definite message that he was to be attacked and beaten, if not killed.

Nabbed as “On Spot”

He also quoted a story printed recently in the St. Louis Star, which intimated that a certain reporter for the Chicago Daily News was soon to “get his.”

“I was told by numerous persons that I was the reporter to which the article referred” Reese said.

Reese’s story denied any knowledge of a $5,000 bond that, it was said, was required to be posted by the Daily News, and denied another allegation that he and the others carried “coroner’s stars.”

In regard to his connections with Rosenheim, Reese declared that, under pressure, he was authorized to get hold of a trustworthy informant who might ferret out the motives of such crimes as were distinctly within the realm of news.

Worked With Lingle

“I emphatically deny,” his story continued, “that my relation with Rosenheim was scandalous. I assert that it was a part of a recognized practice service; a practice which every other newspaper adopts when it can, and which none that had kept its senses would insinuate to be illegitimate.”

Reese added that he had worked with Alfred Lingle, slain Tribune reporter, on many stories involving underworld crimes and activities, and declared that they had been “far from friendly.”

The story ended with a blanket denial by the reporter that he had ever had any relations with underworld characters other than in a news-gathering way; he had never used his newspaper position to further his own interest, and had never taken any story to his superiors for any reason other than that it was news.




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