Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.
Saturday, May 24th, 1913
Big Part of Published Record Absolutely Untrue, Declares Mayor, Though “There’s Nothing In It,” He Says
“WHOLE THING AMOUNTS TO HIRING DETECTIVE”
“It’s all a frame-up of a dirty gang,” declared Mayor James G. Woodward, in commenting Saturday afternoon on the published dictograph record of the conversation alleged to have been held between him, A. S. Colyar, G. C. Febuary and E. O. Miles in Room 31 of the Williams house, No. 2, on Wednesday afternoon.
“The dictograph record has been filled out by some one,” he declared. “I don’t know who. Some one either filled it out or fooled the dictograph after I left.”
Part of the record—almost all the first half of it—was correct, the mayor said. The rest was untrue, he vowed.
“The whole business amounted to employing a detective,” he said. “Certainly I would vote to protect any one who unearthed graft. Certainly I would.
“While there is nothing in this published record, what there is is mostly incorrect. I’m willing to admit anything I said. The record has certainly been filled out after ‘they’ got hold of it.
“I didn’t mention anything about Dozier deserting Beavers. In fact, I didn’t even know he’d ever been with Beavers. I didn’t say anything about any members of the police board. Call it ‘protection’ to Febuary if he unearths graft if you want to. I’d vote to protect any one unearthing graft.
“They told me they could furnish evidence that disorderly houses were protected. I wanted to get it.”
Mayor Woodward declared that the entire portion of the dictograph record from the sub-head “Woodward Says There is Evidence Against Beavers” had been either filled in or spoken by some one after he left “to fool the dictograph.”
Mayor Woodward dictated the following statement to a reporter for The Journal before reading the dictagraph [sic] report:
“I want to make it plain that every statement or report, coming from whatever source, connecting me with the Phagan case, is absolutely untrue and unfounded. My only connection with this case was to call the general council in special session to offer a thousand dollars reward for the apprehension and conviction of the guilty party.
“All I had to do with this alleged attempt to obtain papers from the detectives was that a report came to me that there was evidence that there was graft in the police department as regards disorderly houses and blind tigers. This report was to the effect that law breakers were paying for protection. I was informed that a list was kept of all such places and the amount of protection money paid by each.
“Colyar and his crowd wanted $1,000 for this information. I told them I had no $1,000 to give, but I felt sure if they could produce the evidence that would bring about convictions they would be paid for their trouble.
“I didn’t tell them so, but I will say so now, that I would be willing to contribute to a fund to defray the expenses of an investigation of all the graft charges that are rife in this city.”
Anticipating the possibility that they, too, like Col. Thomas B. Felder, might have been “dictographed” Wednesday in room 31 of Williams House No. 2, Mayor James G. Woodward and Charles C. Jones, of 127 North Pryor street issued their versions of what transpired while each of them was in the room.
Mayor Woodward was in room 31 during the afternoon, he says, with A. S. Colyar, Edward Miles and Secretary G. C. Febuary of the city detective department. He went there, he says, on the invitation of Miles, to examine affidavits which Colyar claimed to have and which were said to charge graft in the police department.
Charles C. Jones went to the room in the evening, he says—he is not sure what day—also on the invitation of Miles, who said that Colyar wanted to show him some affidavits.
NOTHING TO FEAR.
Mr. Jones and the mayor say they have nothing to fear from the publicity of a dictograph record, if one was taken.
The mayor declares that an attempt was made by Colyar to induce him to agree to pay $1,000 for certain alleged documentary evidence that would convict the heads of the police department of corruption in receiving money for the protection of disorderly houses.
Mayor Woodward says that he declared he had no money to give, but suggested that if a list of the available evidence was made out there would be no trouble in getting funds for a complete investigation.
The mayor says that Colyar left word at his office in the city hall one day last week that he had some important evidence he wanted to give him.
“I sent out word that if he could not wait to see me to fix a time when I could see him,” Mayor Woodward said. “That was that last I saw or heard of him until Wednesday afternoon.
MR. WOODWARD’S ACCOUNT.
The mayor continued:
“I was sitting in my office in the Empire building Wednesday afternoon, when Ed Miles came to see me. He said that Colyar sent him over to say that he had some affidavits to show that there was graft in the police department. He suggested that I go over to the Williams house with him and discuss the matter with Colyar.
“I remember that Secretary Febuary was in the room with Colyar when we entered. I am not absolutely certain, but it seems to me that Colyar started the conversation by remarking that Febuary had turned up some affidavits against some one in the police department. He said that they showed that houses were paying for protection. I am not certain Colyar mentioned the name of Beavers or Lanford. I am not sure whether he mentioned either one, but I am sure he connected the police department with graft.
“Colyar said that Febuary had secured the evidence and that the only thing they were afraid of was that he would lose his job in the police department. I told Colyar that if the evidence was sufficient to convict I was sure that the people of Atlanta would see to it that he was not discharged.
WOULD TAKE $1,000.
“Colyar said that it would take $1,000 to put the deal through. I presume he meant getting the evidence. I told him that if it was sufficient to convict I did not think there would be any trouble getting the money passed up to pay the expenses. I let them know might plain that they were not going to get any money from me.
“The first time I laid my eyes on Colyar I was not impressed with him. He talked about getting other affidavits, and mentioned something about transferring them in DeKalb county. That part of it sounded ridiculous to me, because a felony is a felony, no matter where it is committed, and I figured that if they were going to pull off something crooked they might just as well do it in Fulton as in any other county, because the laws are all the same.
“Apparently, Miles was not interested in what I said, for he left the room, and in a few minutes Colyar got up and said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
DENIES HE’S “CONTROLLED”
Regarding the statements attributed to Colonel Felder, the mayor said: “I don’t believe anyone in Atlanta will believe I am controlled by Thomas B. Felder or anyone else. Nor will anyone believe he controls Judge Roan, Solicitor Dorsey or anyone else. Colonel Felder will probably contradict that statement. I am sure that he did not give such an utterance.”
Colonel Felder called at his office Monday afternoon, but not with Charles C. Jones, who came in later, the mayor said. He said:
“Colonel Felder came to my office and told me that his men, in hunting evidence in the Phagan case, ran into evidence to show that disorderly houses were operating under police protection. He said that the man he had working on the Phagan case was getting $6 a day, and explained that he could not take one of the other men from his force to work on the graft investigation.
“I told him that if the evidence was positive and sufficient to convict there would be no trouble, in my opinion, in getting up the money. He said that the evidence was in documentary form and was sufficient to convict. That was the substance of our conversation.
“As to the statement that Charles C. Jones was with Colonel Felder when he came to my office, Monday afternoon, that is not true. Colonel Felder was alone. Mr. Jones came in afterwards. I understand that he was attending the session of the council. He came in only for a minute.”
Jones said that he attended the meeting of the council and did not speak to the mayor until near the close of the session. He said:
“I had some business in the mayor’s office and left council chamber to attend to it. As I was entering the mayor’s office I saw Colonel Felder coming out. Our conversation was casual and had absolutely nothing to do with this matter.
“I have been drawn into this affair, although I had nothing to do with it.
“Ed Miles came to me and informed me that Colyar wanted to see me. Miles said that he had some affidavits which would interest me. I went to the room in the Williams house No. 2, next to the city hall, in the evening. I am not sure what day it was, but can find out later by refreshing my mind. Colyar was there. He said that he had something which would interest me. I asked him what it was. He spoke about money, and I told him that he had better see the mayor.
“He asked me if the police had not asked for money, and if Chief Beavers had not given me a raw deal. I told him that I did not pay the police anything, nor did I charge those things against Beavors [sic] or any member of the police department. Colyar grew impatient and said to Miles: ‘Oh, it’s no use talking to him. He has no confidence in me.’
“I told Colyar that I had no business with him; that I had not sought the interview, and had visited him in his room simply because I had been informed by Miles that he (Colyar) had something to offer me that I was interested in. Colyar left, saying that he would see me the next day. I have not seen him since that time.
“If they have the dictograph record it’ll show what I said,” he concluded.
Jones declares that he believes efforts were made to trap him into Colyar’s room to make him involve himself.
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