“I’ll catch up with you and it won’t be long either”
Alfred “Jake” Lingle was born on 26 July 1891 and joined the Chicago Tribune in 1912 as a copyboy, earning $12 a week. He progressed up the ranks to become a cub reporter but never made it to full reporter. The problem Jake Lingle had was that he could not write. He would go out on a story and gather the facts before turning them over to a rewrite man who would polish his words into a readable story. Consequently Lingle, who by then was earning $65 a week, never got to see his name in print in his newspaper.
However, unlike most journalists Lingle was very rich. He also considered himself to be a friend of Al Capone (search the related post). Capone gave Lingle a belt buckle with the letters AJL spelt out in diamonds. Lingle had a wide range of contacts but no one wondered how he could afford to travel in a chauffeured limousine or place $1,000 bets at the race course. He was living in a hotel while his wife and two children stayed at the family home. He also bought a holiday home in Long Beach, Indiana for $16,000, paying $10,000 of the asking price in cash.
In 1924 Lingle and two other reporters had been arrested in possession of illegal alcohol but the case against him mysteriously disappeared. Such was his influence that no casino could open without his say so. In late May 1930 former state senator John J. “Boss” McLaughlin opened a casino at 606 West Madison Avenue and was raided the first night because he hadn’t sought permission. McLaughlin rang Lingle to threaten him: “I’ll catch up with you and it won’t be long either.”
Just before noon on 9 June 1930, Lingle left his hotel and went to the bank where he deposited $1,200, before heading for the office. At 1.15pm he set off for Illinois Central Station to catch the train to the race course. He bought a Racing Form and entered the subway, his eyes on the paper and a cigar clenched between his teeth. As he walked, oblivious to the hundreds of people milling around, someone walked up behind Lingle and put a snub-nosed .38 to the back of his head and pulled the trigger. Lingle was dead before he hit the floor.
Illinois Central Station, Randolph Avenue and Madison Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Monday 9 June 1930
At first the Tribune ran tributes to its man and offered a reward, then slowly the real story unravelled. Lingle had been using his press contacts to help organized crime and been richly rewarded for his efforts.
On 1 July 1930 Frank Foster was arrested and charged with Lingle’s murder. However, on 16 March 1931 Al Capone arranged for Leo Vincent Brothers to go on trial for the killing and on 2 April Brothers was convicted and sentenced to 14 years. He served eight and was released in 1940. He died in 1950.