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Paul V. Coates -- Confidential File, May 1, 1959

May 1, 2009 |  2:00 pm



Has the Black Hand a Grip on Our City?

Paul_coatesWithout trumpets to announce his arrival or news cameras to record it, a very controversial young man slipped into town yesterday.

His name: Alvin H. Goldstein Jr.

For the last month, he's been Page 1 copy in just about every newspaper in the state.

But when he stepped off his plane at International Airport, no one was around who recognized him. No one -- with the possible exception of LAPD undercover cops, who greet all planes and know anybody who comes in or goes out.

The LAPD apparently doesn't hold young Mr. Goldstein in very high esteem. That's the impression I get from the unkind words which its chief, William Parker, has been leveling at him lately.

Not that Mr. Goldstein is on the wrong side of the law.

May 1, 1959, Mirror Cover He isn't. He's very much on the right side of it.

The conflict is strictly one of opinions.

Parker opines that Mafia hordes are swarming over the Southern California landscape.

While Goldstein -- backed up by Gov. Brown and the reputation of being a crack New York investigator and racket-buster -- states that the nine-month survey which he conducted for the State of California last December doesn't support widely publicized assertions that the secret society of crime is active here.

Shortly after Goldstein's arrival yesterday, I met with him. And I listened as he reflected on the storm his secret, 62-page report to Sacramento ignited.

"My report was as thorough as I could possibly make it," the 32-year-old ex-aide to New York Dist. Atty. Frank S. Hogan told me. "I'm still willing to accept the claim that the Mafia is here. But I've got to see facts. I'm not going to go on dogmatic assertions."

Goldstein said that he went to the office of Chief Parker, currently his No. 1 critic, before his nine-month survey was 48 hours old.

May 1, 1959, Wrong ID "But," he shrugged, "Parker gave me nothing. He wouldn't allow me to examine any of his files."

I asked the investigator if that was his only meeting with the chief.

"No," he answered. "Later in the investigation, I went back -- after Brown had written Parker requesting that I be given a full briefing, evidence of Mafia activities.

"The result was the same. Nothing."
The word I got from around City Hall was that there was a reason for Parker's refusal. He reportedly felt that Brown's investigation was no more or less than a political gimmick, and angrily refused to have the department used in it.

Goldstein told me that he was introduced to Brown through Hogan, and that Brown had asked him if he'd be interested in doing a survey of organized crime and labor racketeering here in California.

"He said he wanted somebody from outside the state to do it," Goldstein explained. "Somebody who could take a fresh look at the situation."

"And you're satisfied with the job you did?" I asked.

"I am," he said. "I know it's too soon to tell if I've accomplished anything. Or if my report influences the expenditure of public funds.

"I can't see spending money to fight something that doesn't exist."

I asked Goldstein again: "You found absolutely no evidence of Mafia activities?"

Conspiracy by Criminals

"I saw evidence of groupings of Sicilians engaged in criminal conspiracies. But I also saw evidence of other nationality groupings engaged in the same thing.

"What I didn't see," he stressed, "was evidence that the strings were being pulled from Palermo. That's what I put in my report.

"And I'm sorry," he added, "if someone has that evidence and didn't give it to me."

He's a nice, bright young man, Mr. Goldstein. But maybe the intricacies of California politics were just a little too much for him.