Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Scandal of 1922: Part V

Now, what you've all been waiting for: the testimony, described as "somewhat sensational," of Peter M. Lawson, the second agent hired to investigate "the situation" in Hudson, which led to the takeover of the Hudson Police Department by the state police and suspension of Chief John Cruise.
Peter M. Lawson told of his employment as an operative in the investigation of conditions in Hudson. He was familiar with the premises, 330 Warren street. He was taken into the place by a man named Walsh. The bartender, Hogan, took Walsh in the back room and when he came back they were served with liquor. Others were in the place, about 12 in number, and they were served with drinks in the same kind of glasses about the same size with liquid the same color as whiskey. From this place they could see into police headquarters. He had been in the Brandow place about five times. Had no trouble in getting served with drinks. Had talked with Mr. Brandow on several occasions. On three visits to the Brandow place he saw others being served with drink and saw them paying for them.
He was familiar with the property at 22 Ferry street. He had been there about ten times. On the second day after his arrival in Hudson he went to the place and was served with drinks.
On the second visit to the place Cunningham, another operative, complained of the quality of the whiskey and the proprietor sent out for another bottle which he said was better, but which, in fact, was worse. He had no trouble in getting in this place except the first time when the bartender had to open the place for them. On the subsequent visits he had no trouble getting in and the drinks were served openly and were placed on the bar in front of the bartender.
On a subsequent visit the proprietor showed him where he brewed his home brew and where he kept it. On one of the visits to this place complaint was made as to the quality of the whiskey and some was sent for from outside. In a short while a woman came back with a bottle. Money was paid her; then they had more drinks just as bad as the other.
So in 26 Ferry street they were served with drinks.
They then visited 323 Diamond street on a Sunday afternoon. The witness was introduced to the place by "Knocker" Alger. "Knocker" wanted to arrange for a party but a satisfactory price could not be agreed upon and they left. There was another girl present named Martin from Albany. He described the attire of the Church woman.
On the second visit to the place, 323 Diamond Street, they were served with drinks at 50 cents each.
At 31 Warren street they asked for whiskey, but were refused point blank, though they did have beer. This place was owned by Fieler and run by Dillon.
He was familiar with the premises, 19 North Front street. He made three visits to this place before a drink was served to him. When it was served they were ushered into a small room which the witness described as looking like a "booth in a chop suey joint." There was another party in an adjoining booth that was rather noisy.
The witness was also served with drinks at 48 South Front street and paid for them. At first McCue, the bartender, was suspicious of them and asked Alger and Walsh about them. These men O.K'd them and after that there was no trouble in getting drinks. The party, about nine in number, got rather noisy and they placed the whiskey bottle on the bar and got generally careless with the way it was sold.
On another occasion he and the witness, Kenison [sic], were invited into the back room where there was a woman and a well-known Hudson man. Whenever he went into this place the drinks were served openly. He had observed drunkenness in the place.
This concluded his direction examination.
It's not very sensational yet, but chances are it will get better during cross examination.

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