Felder Returns Phagan Fund to Givers

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

The Atlanta Georgian

June 11, 1913

Attorney Explains Disposition of Money Subscribed to Secure Burns’ Services.

Colonel Thomas B. Felder Wednesday issued an itemized statement of the funds subscribed by Atlanta citizens, to secure the employment of the Burns Detective Agency to investigate the Phagan mystery, to show that these funds had been returned to the donors.

According to Mr. Felder’s statement, but $102 was actually subscribed. This amount was placed in the hands of Curtis N. Anderson, a member and treasurer of the law firm of Felder, Anderson, Dillon & Whitman. In a letetr [sic] to Colonel Felder, dated June 9, Mr. Anderson gives the following disposition of the fund:

“I have received from contributions to the Burns fund $102. Several of the contributions were anonymously made; in the majority of other cases contributors requested that their names be withheld, and in some cases the addresses of the parties making the donations are unknown to me. Under your direction, I am returning to the contributors the several amounts sent in by them, where the names and addresses of the contributors are known, and I am directed by you to return the balance upon their request.

Felder Pays Extra Expense.

“I also desire to say that you have directed me to charge whatever disbursements have been made, which, by the way, are several times over larger than the contributions that have come in, to your personal account. This I have done.”

The following amounts in chronological order were received by Mr. Anderson, according to his report:

May 15—Check, Joseph Hirsch $25
May 15—Check, Anonymous $30
May 16—Check, Anonymous $5
May 16—Check, Anonymous $1
May 17—Check, not authorized to give name $1
May 17—Check, not authorized to give name $1
May 17—Check, not authorized to give name $25
May 17—Check, not authorized to give name $5
May 23—Check, not authorized to give name $1
May 26—Check, not authorized to give name $5
May 26—Check, not authorized to give name $3

Along with Mr. Anderson’s itemized account of the funds, Mr. Felder makes the following statement, which he addresses to the public:

“Mr. Charles I. Ryan, who was designated as custodian of the fund without his knowledge or consent, informs me that he has already returned to the contributors whatever money was paid in to him.”

“The Atlanta Journal, The Atlanta Constitution and The Atlanta Georgian subscribed $100 each, and I am informed that certain subscriptions were made to them. They have not been paid in and are not expected, and the three newspapers are hereby requested to return to the contributors any sums that they have received.”

“In addition to the above and foregoing, permit me to say in conclusion that additional sums aggregating several hundred dollars were subscribed by the public, but were not paid, and payment has not been and will not be requested.”

Mr. Felder further stated that he would ask the Bar Association to pass upon the regularity of his employment in the Phagan case and make a report upon it. He also declared his connection with the controversy as ended.

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The Atlanta Georgian, June 11th, 1913, “Felder Returns Phagan Fund to Givers,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)