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ust like everyone else, I recall the day and time, the setting of when I first heard of JFK's death. I lived near downtown Dallas, in fact I lived on 10th Street, just a few blocks from where Officer Tippet was shot. I was sent home from school that day. I met friends who were also sent home, and we went to play on the vacant lot on Jefferson Boulevard. We were bewildered and frightened by the growing presence of black police cruisers flying by.
We did not know until later in the evening that Oswald had been caught at the Texas Theater several blocks east. Nor did I know that my father would be tightly bound by historians into the network of mysterious connections that all seemed to point away from Oswald as the only person with the intent to kill JFK. What follows is the abbreviated tale, as best I can tell it, of how my father came to be so connected to JFK's death
My connection comes through my father, James Henry Dolan. It was because of his imprisonment in the Seagoville Minimum Security Federal Corrections facility outside of Dallas that my family came to Dallas. He had been convicted on the charge of impersonating a federal official (an IRS officer) in one of the con games he played. He was a career con, always playing his scams in the grifter underworld, never preying, to my knowledge, on the 'straight citizens' of the world.
e was a big, tough Irish guy who had gone to Chicago in the 1930s, after he graduated from high school. He learned the boxing business, and went into the Army in the 40s as a boxer, barred from combat because of old boxing injuries. Of course, boxing in Chicago was closely entwined with organized crime. He had been a merchant marine, an itinerant boxer/promoter, among other things when he met my mother in 1950, in Chicago.
I believe that by the time he met her, he was a fully committed, career denizen of the 'underworld.' with some legit activities going on to protect him from too much scrutiny. On my birth certificate, his occupation is given as 'sports promoter.' He completely fooled my mother. They moved to Phoenix immediately after marriage and lived in a small rent house for a few months. While there, he met an individual named Eugene Hale Brading. More on him later.
From there, they moved to Evergreen Colorado, where I was born in 1951. He was apprehended in Denver for his involvement in some kind of underworld activity, but the judge agreed to drop charges, due to my birth, if he would leave the state. We did, going to Miami Beach, Florida. My sister was born there in late 1952. We left there while my sister was still an infant because my father burnt our house down in order to collect insurance money. We went to Chicago, where we lived in a brownstone apartment building and my father wore suits and large rimmed fedora hats. From there, it was down to Kansas City Missouri. My brother was born there in 1954.
will now pause to ask the reader to consider the points of the compass I have mentioned. We are talking about the years 1950 to 1954. The compass points are: Chicago, Miami Beach, Kansas City. It would not be too hard to imagine who my father was working for, as these places are well known in American history as the outposts of the so-called Mob. In 1953 my father was apprehended on the charge that sent him to Seagoville. My mother gave birth to my brother, and then, with the help of my father's sister, we all moved to Dallas in 1954.
After a brief period of time in an apartment near Love Field, we moved to a part of town called Oak Cliff. An old, turn of the century, inner city neighborhood, close to downtown. A few years later, Oak Cliff would be home to Lee Harvey Oswald. In Oak Cliff's business district, the Texas theater anchored a strip of shops, and would of course be the site of Oswald's capture in 1963. A few blocks to the east of my home at 10th and Edgefield, also on that strange day, Officer Tippet would be shot by an unknown assailant, at the corner of 10th and Patten. That assailant later proved to be Oswald.
James Dolan, Senior, center
After my father was released from Seagoville in 1956, he went into a period of itinerant grifting. He and a friend, Bobby O'Dowd, also a mick from Chicago, traveled about the state selling pen and stamp machines in little towns. On the side, they would set up poker games that involved all the little town's dignitaries, with all of their money on the table. My father would then appear as an 'IRS agent', and confiscate the money. Would the town's dignitaries seek recourse, believing their funds had been confiscated by the IRS? I think my mother raised enough hell with him to bring him in off the road at some point, and he briefly took a job down on Jefferson at the Sears, Roebuck store selling carpet.
I recall seeing him on the job once, and actually felt sorry for him. It was like seeing a tiger at the circus, sitting on a ball and swatting at a lure dangling from a contraption being held in front of him by the trainer. Not long after, he got a 'real job' working for the American Guild of Variety Artists, know as AGVA. It was 1958 or 1959, and I was 8 years old.
AGVA was an entertainers union, representing the interests of night club entertainers. That is, the circus acts, jugglers, strippers, stage hypnotists, comics, etc. that plied the networks of nightspots in towns in between New York, Chicago, Los Angeles. My father was to be the head of the local office. In Dallas, the stages were the circuses that came through town, and the downtown strip clubs.
his is where the Mob / Kennedy connection thickens, because it appears that AGVA was a 'front' organization for the mob. That is, it was a way for them to establish a seemingly legit connection to the nightclubs, allowing their enforcers to establish relationships inside the clubs with the people that owned/operated them. It appears that the real business of AGVA in those days was a protection racket. I speculate that my father's job was to offer 'protection' to the owners of the clubs in return for using AGVA strippers and entertainers.
When we lived in Miami Beach, my father worked for the organization of Santos Trafficante, probably doing enforcement and collections. He had also done work for Sam Giancana. In the late 50s, I believe that Carlos Marcello of the New Orleans mob wanted to make a move to take over the underworld rackets in Dallas.
Dallas in those days was known as a 'wide open' town. Meaning, that if you were gutsy enough, and criminal enough, you could set up your rackets operation, and not expect too much opposition from the law enforcement. Your only problems would come from the vested interests of the local 'good ole boy' mob. They were local, born and bred bad guys that pretty much owned the rackets.
That's Jimmy Dolan (Senior) seated on the floor,
second from the left, in this 1929 Championship team photograph.
The mob wanted a piece of this, if not the whole thing, which would have been their style. I believe my father was either recruited by, or approached himself, Marcello, and took the contract to turn over rackets in Dallas to the New Orleans don and his organization. In carrying out this contract, my father naturally was put in contact with the downtown strip club owners, which included Abe and Barney Weinstein. The Weinsteins were owners of clubs called the Theater Lounge and the Colony Club. Jack Ruby owned the infamous Carousel Club.
Abe Weinstein at his desk in the Colony Club
y father's clients were people like Kris Kolt and her 45s, and Harry Vine, the stage hypnotist. In pressing the interests of AGVA performers, 'Doc' Dolan was the connection between Jack Ruby and the mob. And therefore, the point at which the assassination of JFK was connected to the mob, because of my father's attempts to forcibly represent their interests in the Dallas underworld of the late 50s, early 60s.
He was unsuccessful in his efforts to 'turn over' Dallas to Marcello. His exact whereabouts were unknown to me at the time of the Kennedy assassination. I know he was not with us. In the period of time shortly after JFK's death, the FBI came to our house, with a warrant, and asked to search the house for him. We lay in bed as they ransacked the house. Later that holiday period, I recall my father being with us for a very brief period. In hindsight, I realize he was probably very scared, and very depressed. Soon after, he was gone. I do not know how he was able to fail on his promise to turn over Dallas and live, if indeed he ever made the promise.
All I know is that suddenly, he did not work for AGVA anymore, and the period of 'normalcy' that had prevailed in our home came to an end. He was gone, and soon my mother, having had her fill, and with the encouragement of our parish priest, divorced him. He disappeared from our home and lives for a number of years. Somehow, I don't recall how, I learned that in the time after he left, he had tried one of his old arson frauds, having destroyed an aviation cargoliner. He was convicted, and sent to Leavenworth until the late 60s.
In the early 70s, Doc was back on the grift. He was caught getting off a plane with a briefcase full of cash he had lifted from a mark in a game of 3 card monte. 3 card monte was one of his favorite old scams. He had also enjoyed marketing counterfeiting machines to unscrupulous individuals stupid enough to purchase such things. His favorite marks were people who themselves were grifters, cons, criminals. He had no respect for hooligans who foisted their criminality on the ordinary populace. He loathed gunplay, and he always had others who would carry the guns for him. He hated 'cowboy' criminals.
nyway, caught with the cash, Doc was back in the hands of the law. He checked himself into the Dallas VA Hospital, and got a continuance of his trial while his prostate was removed. He absconded from the hospital in the middle of the night, and remained on the lamb for another several years. During this time, my contact with him became sporadic, but he made an effort to support my college education by showing up every now and then and slipping me a few hundred dollars. He also started turning over his veteran's benefits to me. The check for $56 dollars a month was sent to the workroom of an old Italian tailor who worked in downtown Dallas named Al Simone. I would go down there and pick the check up, and make brief conversation with Mr. Simone.
Doc was apprehended again in the middle 70s on the same federal charge of interstate transport of criminal proceeds. This time he somehow persuaded a federal magistrate in Chicago to release him to his own recognizance to appear in Atlanta in federal court. Needless to say, he never made it. By this time, the FBI were following me closely, as they knew he was likely to turn up near me. An agent was assigned to follow me, and he tagged me closely for several months. I was terrified, as I never knew when my father would appear. I had a fear of a gun battle or some such. The FBI asked me to come downtown to their offices across the street from the Statler Hilton Hotel.
They threatened me with being charged with harboring a federal fugitive. They told me I was defrauding the government by accepting my father's vet's benefits. They fingerprinted me and made me promise I would turn him over to them the next time I saw him. They scared the crap out of me. I was a 22 year old college student, working in the afternoon, newly married. I agreed, but Doc never gave me the chance. He was too smart.
ne night, we received a call. The caller introduced himself as Agent X, from the FBI, wanting to ask whose car was parked in the driveway. We had had a minor accident, and a rental car was parked in the driveway. Their man on surveillance had reported a car similar to the one Doc was driving. I was shaken. On another occasion, my wife and I visited a friend in Washington DC. After we left, he was swarmed with agents wanting to know about his visitor, whose name matched that of Federal fugitive James Henry Dolan.
He was finally caught for good in a setup in a bar in downtown Dallas in late 1977. This time they kept the clamps on him and transferred him to the max facility in Atlanta. He stayed there until final adjudication sent him to the El Reno facility outside Oklahoma City. Sometime in 1979, while still in Atlanta, he phoned me at home and said, "Hey look, I want you to know that some guy has written a book about how the mob whacked Jack Kennedy. They say I knew something about who whacked Jack Kennedy, and I want you to know that I don't know nothing about who whacked that Kennedy. You hear me?"
"Uh yeah, Dad, I hear you...." and then we went on to have a few small moments of light chit chat. I discovered later, many years later, that he had been part of a group of people interviewed by the Federal committee called the HSCA. The House Select Committee on Assassinations. Much of this material has formed the research base by which it is asserted that my father is the connection point between the Mob, Ruby, and therefore Oswald and Kennedy.
Back to Eugene Hale Brading. Remember back at the beginning, when my father and mother had just moved to Phoenix? Brading was one of the people known to have contacted my father during his time there in the early 50s. Brading was also one of the first people apprehended and interviewed by the police when he was caught leaving the Texas School Book Depository in the moments after the shots rang out at Dealey Plaza. What the nature of their relationship was is unknown to me. It is just one of the many connections that Doc has to that whole nexus of people, places, events, that are suspicious, circumstantial, suggestive, but ultimately inconclusive.
have never been certain of the book he was referring to in that phone call. Books connecting the mob to the assassination began to appear at that time. An example is Mafia Kingfish, by John Davis. Davis' thesis is that Kennedy was hit in a vendetta against him by the Marcello organization. That book, in the 1989 paper back Signet edition, on page 451, establishes my father as a "connection to the Marcello organization" and "the representative of the Mob controlled American Guild of Variety Artists."
The same book makes mention of an ultra-right wing John Birch Society individual named Major General Edwin Walker. It is a piece of unverified apocrypha that Oswald is supposed to have taken a pot shot at him in his Dallas home some time prior to the Kennedy shots. I have a childhood memory of my father becoming enthusiastically involved in the political campaign of a General Walker. I recall helping staple together his campaign yard signs. Beyond that there are no more details in my memory, but again it shows my father in that mix of people bound together by JFK's death.
Doc was released from El Reno in 1983. He moved to San Antonio Texas. He resumed his grifting, scamming, and conning. He visited me and my family fairly regularly. By then he was almost 70, but in good condition. He lived by himself in a retirement community. He let me know in his sideways manner that he was still grifting, still playing the loaded dice and the setup card games. I had accepted that he would never change. I had a good time with him. We drank together and then slowly drove around the city at night while he told me the old stories. We laughed and laughed. It was a good time. In December, the 4th, I got a call from one of his old cronies telling me that he had been shot dead and a brief case with $30,000 grand was missing.
here is no way to prepare for the shock of murder, even when you know in the back of your mind that it is coming. Lt. Urbanek of San Antonio homicide and I spent a day together running down various items in his possession that Urbanek wanted to ask me about. He told me that he would let me know when he had something. I was able to find out that Doc was being asked to testify to a commission investigating organized crime in the South Texas/Mexico region at the time of his death. I know that he knew James Harrelson, who had been convicted in the murder of John Wood. I knew that his attorney was also Harrelson's attorney. I speculated that Doc had been hit. I did not hear one more word from Urbanek for 15 years.
In the fall of 1999, Richard Urbanek answered one of my emails out of the blue. None had been answered previously. He told me that my father had in fact, but not enough fact to make a case against the murderers, been killed in an argument initiated by his killers in an attempt to rob him. They knew of the 30 grand, and hatched a plan to con him out of it. He was too smart for them, and they killed him, grabbed the loot and ran. As simple as that.
If you think that you may know something to add the information and educated guesses I have amassed over the years regarding James Henry 'Doc' Dolan, I would appreciate your email to me.
Coup d'Etat in America Database (Nodule 27 - Page 15) concerns James Henry Dolan (my father)'s connections with mob characters, including Jack Ruby, with mention of several rap sheets.
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