Correspondence and Sample Informant Reports sent to the Lusk Committee

Prince George Hotel, Room 1106
New York City
October 14, 1919

Leon C. Rhodes, Esq.
c/o Newell, Rhodes & Swartwood
Attorneys at Law
Binghamton, N.Y.

Dear Mr. Rhodes:


Once again I am back looking after things, and one of the first things which I want to give attention is the payment made to A. Adomaitis and Staneslow of the sums due them.

Confidentially I have just learned that these vouchers are subject to public inspection. As you know there are several Socialist Assemblymen in Albany who would give a good deal to ascertain who does confidential work for us. This is contrary to an understanding which I had some time ago.

I would suggest therefore that fictitious names and your office address be used as the address of the informant. I shall also handle Miss Prestons the same way. She reports under the number "100", but I shall ask you to have her use some fictitious name and your address in making out these vouchers. I might suggest that this matter be not discussed in detail with these people, otherwise they might have "cold feet".

Regarding Adomaitis, I am glad we dropped this man because the item of expense set out by him in his account shows that he does not know how to spend money. His reports do not warrant any such expenditure. I return the accounts to you with the request that they be made out under the fictitious names.

With kind personal regards, I beg to remain,

Yours very truly,

Chief Investigator



September 20th, 1919

Joint State Legislative Committee New York City


My dear Mr. Finch:

I acknowledge herewith receipt of your letter of September 19th, enclosing reports from Adomaitis with instructions to drop him from the payroll. I have already written him, telling him to call at the office and that unless he did better work his pay would be cut. I will notify him that his work is terminated.

Relative to the efforts which I made to get an Intelligence Bureau at work here in Binghamton, I have been rather disappointed. I got most of the manufacturers together and had an evening conference with them. They felt that the matter in question should be a matter for the whole community. They accordingly referred it to the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and the matter is still up in the air with them.

The manufacturers were in sympathy with the matter and I think would have gone further but for the fact that the cigar strike in this place fell through. Immediately the manufacturers felt that no further trouble is to be anticipated. About the only thing that I can do is to let bitter experience hit them on the head with a large, knobby club.

The Union Cigar Workers of Binghamton have already moved for an advance in wages and have applied to the American Federation of Labor for instructions and presumably for authority to strike. I should not be surprised if, at any minute, we had a real strike in the cigar industry here. If so, it may be that if the manufacturers get frightened enough, they will be ready to come in and perfect an organization.

There is a very competent man in Binghamton, Mr. Kress, concerning whom I wrote you, but I do not think he could be induced to do ordinary detective work for the cigar manufacturers and I do not think I can make the manufacturers see the necessity of organizing such a Bureau as you desire. You know there are people who have to be hit on the head with a club before they come to. I think that the average manufacturer and business man belong in this category.

Awaiting your reply, I remain, as ever,

Very truly yours,

Leon C. Rhodes


291 Clinton Street
Binghamton, N.Y.
Aug. 9, 1919

Mr. R. W. Finch

New York City

Dear Sir:

Enclosed you will find my first report. I have been unable to find out very much because it is very difficult to get acquainted with them and it will take time.

I have seen Mr. Rhodes and received my instructions. I talked to him about having me transferred to the Endicott factory where I can do the same work. But he told me to ask you. If I could get work in Endicott, I could get acquainted with them much sooner and then I could see them every day and talk with them. Please see if you cannot get me transferred to the Endicott factory. I work in the men's scout upper cutting room, Johnson City, N.Y.

I would like to know if I would have to be a witness in court in case any of them are brought to trial later on. I am not afraid to work among them, but if I would have to go on the witness stand openly against them then it would be dangerous for me after that. They are very bad people.

Trusting that this will be satisfactory, I remain,

Yours very truly,

Tuesday, August 5, 1919

Went to Endicott. Found a couple of friends. Found out that the Russians read "Novy Myr" newspaper published at New York City and the Ukrainian radicals read the "Robotniak". Meetings are held at halls on Hill Avenue and Odell Avenue. Was unable to find out at what date the meetings are held.

Thursday, August 7, 1919

Went to Endicott. Am trying to get acquainted with the people. They have shanties in the rear of their houses where they sell beer and whiskey, but have been unable to get someone to take me to those places. Will try to visit these places and see what they talk there.

Friday, August 8, 1919

Was in Endicott. Was unable to visit any of their places, but heard many talking on several corners and arguing that Bolshevism is the best thing. Very hard to get acquainted with them. They are very wary and do not talk much to strangers.

Saturday, August 9, 1919

Endicott. Attended a speech which was held on Washington Avenue over the Fire Station. Speech began at eight o'clock. Was unable to find out the speaker's name because he was introduced as a friend. The meeting was arranged by the Ukrainians and the speaker was from another city. I can find out his name later on, I believe. The speaker said that he was traveling for five months with his speeches for the Socialist party. There were about 150 at the speech. His talk was as follows:

That the working people are working for almost nothing. He showed statistics proving that the working people were receiving only a small part of what they earn for the factory owner. He said that the food and clothing supplied to a man working in an ammunition factory goes to waste because the man working in the ammunition factory makes materials which are not necessary to life and go to waste. Also he said that advertising was a waste and manufacture of ammunition and war materials an unnecessary thing. He urged that everyone should join the Socialist party.

A. Adomaitis

Report #2

Binghamton, N.Y., Aug. 16, 1919

Sunday, August 10, 1919

At Binghamton. Attended a speech at the Lithuanian Hall at 267 Clinton Street. It began at 2 o'clock and lasted until 4:30. The speaker was the same one that spoke in Endicott on the 9th of Aug. His name is Mr. Kotiak and has no definite address and lives a week or more in each city as he travels making his speeches. About 200 people were present at the speech and Ukrainians and Russians were mostly present. A good many came from Endicott to hear the speech. The speaker spoke in Ukrainian. His speech was as follows:

That the clergy and capitalists urge patriotism. They make one people bitter against another and wars result which bring gain to the capitalists. He said that Socialism recognizes that all nations are equal and one is as good as another; that the nations are not properly governed at present; that all the world should have one similar political system and that system should be the Socialistic because it would settle all difficulties. All the workers of the world should march along one path, Socialism, and then they would have power and control. He urged that people should join the Socialist party and win their freedom.

Monday, August 11, 1919

Went to Endicott. There were no speeches there and was unable to see any friends or visit any places.

Wednesday, August 13, 1919

Endicott. Visited a place where beer and whiskey were sold. It was in a house at 219 Odell Avenue, but was unable to find out the owner of the place. There were about 8 people there and they were drinking but there was no talk about politics at all.

Thursday, August 14, 1919

Binghamton. There was a meeting at Slavonia Hall on Julian Street attended by a few people. A Polish branch of the Socialist party was organized. Thee are 20 members of this branch. There was a speaker from another city but I was unable to find out his name. I will try to get it later.

Saturday, August 16, 1919

Binghamton. There was a large ball at the Lithuanian Hall at 267 Clinton Street held by the Ukrainian, Russian and Polish Socialists and the gain went to the newly organized Polish branch of the Socialist party. About 80 people were at the ball.

A. Adomaitis

Report #4

Binghamton, N.Y.

Week ending Aug. 30, 1910

Sunday, Aug. 24, 1919

It was advertised that the Ukrainian bolsheviks would hold a meeting at the Lithuanian Hall at 267 Clinton Street, Binghamton, N.Y., in the evening, but their speaker did not arrive and the meeting was thus broken up.

Monday, Aug. 25, 1919

Attended a meeting of Polish and Ukrainian Socialists at Julian Street Hall on Julian Street, Binghamton, N.Y., held at 7:30 in the evening. The speakers were astronomer Bankowski from Scranton, Pa. and an Ukrainian speaker whose name I was unable to find out. Mr. Bankowski spoke in Polish in two parts. One part of his speech was about astronomy and the second part was about socialism. He talked about the creation of the earth and based his theories on the principle that man came from monkeys. His second part of the speech was as follows: the word socialism means justice--a person becomes a socialist when he begins to work against injustice--everyone living on this earth must live according to his own mind and must not let other people cheat them--that there are some people who are afraid to bear the name Socialist, these people do not live according to their own mind but listen to what others say, such as--the clergy, newspapers, and politicians--that these people speak nice to them and fog their minds and cheat the poor working people. The socialists are the only ones who tell the whole truth. He takes statistics from a Polish newspaper which he says is under capitalistics influence and these statistics show that there are only 38 millions of the working class in the United States, the remaining 62 millions of the inhabitants of the United States are of the wealthy classes and of the capitalists. Now the people have to work long hours because the wealthy classes and capitalists do not work. If the government were socialistic then all the people would have to work, but then the working hours would be shorter and people would get larger wages.

He said that Armour and Co. made a profit of 16 million dollars in 1916. The price of good is high, but the Armour Company did not want to sell their goods cheaper.

That the Polish leaders, Paderewski, Dumovski, Pilsudski, are in league with the bourgeois leaders of the world as Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Orlando, and the other members of the Allies. These Polish leaders are trying to establish a bourgeois republic. Paderewski and the others are large land owners and have promised to pay the Allies 20 billions of francs, which are a part of the debts of the former czar of Russia. That no contributions should be paid because the debt was not created by the working people but by bourgeois leaders.

Finally, he said that he did not require the people to believe what he said but to inquire and read and find out for themselves. When the people will become aware of their position then it will not be necessary to ask them to join the socialist party, but they will become socialists of their own accord.

The Ukrainian speaker spoke as follows: he talked about the Soviet government of Russia--that the present government is a government of the people--all people work, if not manual labor then clerical--all the railways have been confiscated and are in the hands of the working people--banks, land, post office system, are in the hands of the working people--when God created this world he did not parcel out the land and now the system is correct, there is land for everyone--that France, England, and others are sending armies to Poland and are planning to attack the Soviet government and to bring slavery to Russia again. But it is up to the working people to see to it that this is not done.

Endicott -- The same Ukrainian speaker that spoke Monday spoke again here. Was unable to find out his name, but perhaps I can get his name by the next report.

He spoke about Kolchak's plan to seize the whole of Russia, to enslave all the small nations within its boundaries, and to make a great Russia again. That Kolchak wanted to establish a government which would control the railways, banks, and factories. But this would be like the czarist government because the railways were under government control then. That forests and lands were mostly under control of the government and the revenues derived from same did not go to keep up the government but a large army. Some generals of the Russian army have privileges once or twice a year to go to any bank and take as much money as he wished. Taxes were very large in Russia. The poor working people had to pay nearly double for the things they had to buy. There was a tax charged the wholesalers, and a tax to the retailers and when the working man had to buy that article of food or wear he had to pay enormous prices for it. This revenue was spent by the government officials and the government was poor.

That the army of Kolchak is composed of people taken from Siberia. These people cannot read or write and have no civilization. They are almost like wild men, but do not run to the woods when they see an automobile or other modern vehicle. That these people do not know what they are doing and have been induced to join the army of Kolchak by lies. People in the Soviet government of Russia are more educated and know what they are doing.

He was asked to speak by the Ukrainian Socialists of Endicott.

A. Adomaitis

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