Felder’s Charges of Graft Rotten

George Gentry.

George Gentry.

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

Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, May 25th, 1913

Lanford Declares No Printable Words Can Be Found to Describe Lawyer’s Attack.

“As for Tom Felder’s charges of graft in the police or detective departments,” said Chief Lanford last night, “they are as rotten as we have shown his character to be. There is no printable words that might be used to describe them. All Atlanta knows they are untrue, unfounded and are but the explosions of a distorted brain—a brain deformed by years of treachery, and they call him ‘Colonel’ Felder.

“He directs most of his charges of corruption toward the detective department,” the accused official continued. “There’s a reason. The detective department is responsible for trapping him into the dictagraph [sic] conspiracy. The police department has done but little damage to him and to show him up in his true colors. He should not worry over uniformed men. It’s the detective department that has prodded him.

Police Have Special Squad.

“To anyone who is acquainted with depar[t]mental operations, it is a known fact that the detectives have nothing whatever to do with the enforcement of laws pertaining to disorderly houses. The sleuths could not afford to take a chance in such cases. The police have a special squad to attend to this duty. Felder says he has seen a graft list of the detective department, in which are contained the names of lewd resorts under protection of the detective department.

“How absurd this all is. I gave him credit for having at least brains enough to know something of the workings of the police. The detectives have not the slightest opportunity to graft from disorderly houses in case such a condition was in existence. This alone is sufficient to prove that his charges are without foundation.

“In regard to the Coleman affidavit, which, I understand, he accuses was extorted from Mr. and Mrs. Coleman under our threat to cease working on the Phagan case and leave their daughter’s murder unavenged, all I can say is that is one of the silliest charges of his entire ridiculous card.

“The Colemans are sensible, honest folk, and they have brains enough to realize that they would not have to depend upon the detective alone for the solution of their child’s slaughter. In the first place, I never knew of the affidavit’s existence until it was brought to my office by representatives of the Coleman family. I did not know that it was being made. It was signed voluntarily by Mr. and Mrs. Coleman.

Making Self Laughing Stock.

“Felder is making himself a laughing stock of the community by charging the detectives with defending Frank by alleged destruction of evidence and the practice of trying to cover up evidence damaging to his case. No one better than the reporters of the city know that we have worked successfully in investigating this crime and that we have plenty of evidence—enough to convict. If he will convincingly show one single incident substantiating his accusation I will eat his hat.

“No one that knows him would take Tom Felder’s charges seriously. They are laughable, instead of dangerous. They amuse me. The realization that I have done a good job in obtaining this attempted bribery evidence against him, mingled with the humor for his charges, give me the combined sensation of elation and amusement. It is a treat, indeed.”

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Atlanta Constitution, May 25th 1913, “Felder’s Charges of Graft Rotten,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)