The governor calls out the militia to wrest city hall by force
from the influence of Denver's "gambling fraternity."
In 1892, populist Davis H. Waite was elected governor of Colorado. He campaigned in favor of the income tax, direct election of senators, an eight-hour workday, to reverse the de-monetization of silver which had proven devasting to the economies of the western territories but ran also as a social reformer and opponent of gambling and vice.
Waite and the Populists stood in direct opposition to Denver's corrupt machine, called sometimes simply the gang, and the gang was quite firmly under the influence of the gambling fraternity. Gambling was big business in downtown Denver along with prostitution, opium and bootlegging during the Prohibition years and that revenue lined a lot of pockets, and influenced many an election. Campaign contributions were always a good investment, and every vice lord had his mob of those loyal or beholden, cajoled and coerced into voting the party line, or into voting in the name of a dearly departed Denverite or two. Intimidation in the polling place was also effective, usually. Bat Masterson, and Lou's old friend, City Detective DeLue, gave it a try in 1897, though it didn't work out very well for either of them.
Aspen Weekly Times, April 10, 1897
There were two incipient riots tonight. Shortly after 7 o'clock Deputy Sheriff DeLue attempted to force two men on the judges of precinct 8, third ward, alleging that they were watchers. The judges claimed that the men had not proper credentials, and declined to admit them. DeLue and his two friends then attacked the place. DeLue kicked in the window, while the others tried to break into the door. Somebody called for the patrol wagon, and the officers arrived just in time to prevent a riot.
Shortly after 9 o'clock Bat Masterson and police officer Tim Conners had a shooting match at 1835 Champa street, a polling place. Masterson appeared with a deputy sheriff's commission, and demanded a place in the polls to watch the count. Conners, who had been elected as special constable by the judges, was requested to eject Masterson. He ordered Bat out, and, after some words, Masterson opened fire with his revolver, firing several shots. Conners is said to have replied in kind. Masterson then ran, and has not since been heard from. A number of citizens are scouring the city to capture him. Fortunately nobody was hurt.
Masterson was likely an associate of the Blongers since his Dodge City days, then again in Leadville, and Denver. Deputy DeLue would be the one, twenty-three years later, to introduce Lou to Col. Philip S. Van Cise, then candidate for Denver district attorney. Van Cise subsequently refused Lou's "campaign contribution" in no uncertain terms, and after a lengthy investigation and sensational trial, he put Lou in prison.
The political influence exercised by men such as Lou in towns such as Denver often relied heavily on the so-called swing vote. In any given election, the Republicans might control a third of the vote, more or less, and the Democrats another third. But the bosses controlled that final third, dictating the vote of their customers and benefactors, arranging for ghost votes, intimidation, ballot-stuffing and more. And so it was that any candidate who really wanted to win had to win the favor of the Lords of the Tenderloin.
Rocky Mountain News, March 20, 1890
SOLD LIKE CATTLE.
Voters in Spring Election Handled Like Herds of Hogs.
CHARLEY CONNOR TESTIFIES.
The court was next treated to a genuine surprise when the name of the witness was called.
Charles Conner took the stand. The witness was in town on last April election day, and was at the Eighteenth precinct polling place. He kept a saloon at the corner of Eighteenth and Lawrence then. Mr. Pence then drew a plan of the neighborhood and asked the witness how far his saloon was from the polling place. He did not know. Connor was in the saloon on election day. The witness was asked what he was doing there. He hesitated a long while and then said he refused to answer for fear it might incriminate him.
Judge Allen instructed the witness to answer under the protection of the law. He also told the lawyer to confine his questions solely to what was material in this case.
Witness was doing something in connection with the April election. With others he was furnishing slips with names and residences to men who voted on them. The witness thought Sam Emrich had written them. Sheeney Sam had delivered him forty-five at one time, forty-six at another and ninety-five at another in cigar boxes. That number they had when the polls opened in the morning.
Connor then drew on a piece of pad-paper a plan of his saloon with considerable care. He explained this to the jury. The front door was not ajar while the polls were open. The side entrance he knew had been open on election day. During the course of the day he was in the back room of the saloon and sometimes in the parlor. Men were furnished with slips of paper of this kind to vote on. Sam Emrich and a man named Jackson were inside furnishing names with him. There was a doorkeeper inside. They had a couple of doorkeepers. The men who were to vote came in sometimes three and sometimes five at a time. The doorkeepers acted under his direction some of the time. A man named Anheirer was the doorkeeper and this man stood up in the court room for identification. The man who attended to the other door was called Red Town, he did not know his proper name. Sam Emrich sometimes gave orders to the doorkeeper and other times he and Jackson did. There might have been 400 or 500 names furnished voters that day by him and others. There were more than 300 furnished. They were given straight Republican ballots and led out by men whom they had employed for this purpose. These men were Sam and Lou Blonger, Jerry Guyon, a man by the name of Allen and a man by the name of Hamm, and there were others whose names he had forgotten. He had begun this work before the polls opened. The witness quit at 6 o'clock. Then he had gone to the polls in the Seventh ward to vote. At times he was out in the hall where plenty other men were. The witness did not know the names on the slips. He had used the larger batch of names first. Connor had used copies of the registry book made by Sam Emrich.
Once properly compensated, the favor of the politicians extended to gambling's shadowy cousin, the con. Bunco games in town were generally under the control and protection of those who owned the gambling houses, like Soapy Smith, Ed Chase or the Blongers, and the revenue they generated had reached significant proportions. This is critical to understanding Lou's influence; his crews were taking in $20,000, $30,000, even $50,000 a pop, in 1920 dollars. The victims were never locals Lou's cardinal rule and a major factor in the length of his career and most went home with a guilty conscience anyway, resolved to be wiser next time. That money, after all, was thrown after a sure thing of one kind or another, a supposed fixed race or stock transaction, and in essence victims usually blamed themselves for their own avarice.
Here it becomes important to understand the size, the breadth, and influence of the bunco industry circa 1920. Major cities all across the country had long been connected by rail, and people were moving back and again across the country at a phenomonal rate. Tourism was a booming industry.
Silverton Standard, March 5, 1892
"Change clothes for Creede," was the salutation which greeted our ears as the train left Wagon Wheel Gap. The passengers did not exactly change clothes, but many were seen to place their scarf-pins out of sight, run their watch-chains through the arm-hole of their vests and make other preparations for defense against the disciples of "Soapy" Smith whom they expected to meet at the depot. In a few minutes the train stopped at Jimtown and the passengers were not disappointed. The platform was lined with bunco steerers who worked most industriously and with apparent good results. In the near neighborhood wheels of fortune and the nut shell game attracted considerable attention and some money.
As the resources from the mines would never support a town of 500 people, we had to look elsewhere and have concluded it must be the suckers, and the sight of "Soapy" Smith and his 150 disciples only confirmed our opinion. For the more wealthy suckers, the land board gave a little side show and sold them, for the small sum of $225,000 some 700 lots which in the spring can only be reached by boat.
As a show, Creede is a success, and if you avoid "Soapy" Smith, it is well worth the price of admission. It has grown up like a mushroom in the night.
In any given city Atlanta, Council Bluffs, San Francisco, Sacramento, New York, Chicago, Miami, Denver, Little Rock, or even Creede in its short heyday the places frequented by tourists were swarming with bunco steerers as well, and those steerers worked with an outfit, and that outfit worked under the protection of some powerful citizen. It was an arrangement most could live with. The gangs, the fixer, the cops and pols all made money, and the public had no idea, though much of that "tourism revenue" would make it into their tills and paychecks as well. Only the tourists the greedy and gullible, anyway were unhappy with the deal, but they took their sorrows home with them, more often than not.
Lou's operation was said in 1923 to have gleaned 1.5 million in the last three years of operation. There were dozens of steerers, trolling the train depot and hotels. In the winter many of these same men worked in Miami or Havana, but in the summer, Lou's Denver was a favorite destination for grifters. Like primitive telemarketing associates, they made an efficient labor force, working on commission, so you could use as many as could be enticed by the potential rewards.
In big store towns like Denver, the take might be divided something like this split attributed to the Blonger gang:
- Steerer (Roper) 42%
- Spieler 15%
- Bookmaker 5%
- Tailer (Security) 2%
- Manager 18%
- Fixer 18%
Denver was popular with confidence men first and foremost because the fix was so complete. That is to say, Lou had the power, through both force of personality and cold hard cash, to control several factors necessary to a lucrative, stable bunco operation.
He could intimidate the grifters into compliance with his system. Anyone bucking the system could find themselves jailed, pistol-whipped, or escorted to the city limits by the local police, or worse, by Lou himself. No one worked Denver without his permission for some twenty-five years.
He could keep you out of jail with an arsenal of tactics: negotiating low bail bonds with the DA, and putting up said bond (a fraction of the take); receiving tips about ongoing investigations from cops inside, allowing time to cover the evidence and get the fingered grifter out of sight; intimidate or pay off victims; bribe jurors; or even just make a phone call to the mayor. It's worth noting that Lou's activities in Denver continued throughout the administrations of fourteen mayors, with only one failure, the imprisonment of a single grifter who refused to negotiate his own release by relinquishing some of the take.
Perhaps more to the point, Lou appears to have had close relationships, going back many years, to the Denver detective squad, the sheriff's department, police department, even William Pinkerton of that company, with whom he often vacationed in Arkansas, where one could catch up on the world of crime, and the other the world of justice.
In March of 1893, to consolidate power before challenging Senator Wolcott for his seat, Gov. Waite had his new police board fire Republican police Chief Thomas Farley, replacing him with populist James C. Veatch. He was a Navy engineer during the war who first came to Denver in 1877, and his Red Lion Inn at 16th and Wazee was one of Denver's most famous establishments.
The special officers who had been assigned to the city's gambling houses, paid $85 a month by the owners, were removed.
At this time, Lou is said to have owned twelve policy shops, but didn't seem to mind Ed Chase hogging the spotlight. Chief Veatch had the Colorado Policy Association raided, and Chase was arrested. Soapy Smith posted the $1000 bail.
Soon, one Charlie Coryell came calling, demanding $85 a month on behalf of the police board. He even handed out receipts but somebody squealed, and soon the Denver News was calling for the heads of Veatch and board president Stone for complicity in Coryell's scheme.
The News claimed they were "partners of Charley Coryell in his successful holding up of the gamblers of the city. If these charges were true, Governor Waite owes it to himself and the state to bounce the entire outfit and purge the newly elected stables that already smell as rank as the more ancient barns of the Republican outfit in Denver."
In May, Coryell was indicted for embezzlement. Gov. Waite replaced Stone and Phelps of the police board for shielding Chief Veatch. Two days later, the 1st of July, the Aspen Weekly Times reported that new commissioners Orr and Trimble attempted to take their seats on the police and fire board, but Stone and Phelps would not yield. Remaining board member Martin recognized Orr and Trimble, and the three adjourned to Mayor Van Horn's office to conduct business.
Chief Veatch was called before the new board, but did not appear, instead inviting them to come to his office. The courts end it, and Lt. Perry Clay is Veatch's replacement. Soon Farley is given his old job back.
In 1894, the Blongers' influence had not yet matured. Other players had their hold on the bunko rackets too, notably Soapy Smith, but the game was the same as it would later be in the Twenties bunko was hard to prosecute under the best of circumstances, and at worst a fixer could usually solve your problem. And so it was that in March of 1894, Gov. Waite found himself wondering why prisoners transferred from the penitentiary to the state reformatory all seemed to get paroled. Everybody and his brother seemed to be walking out of jail. Denver evidently needed new police commissioners, again, unsullied by ties to the gambling and bunko industries, and Waite ordered that two more appointees should replace Martin and populist Orr and occupy these offices.
When Waite appointed Messrs. Barnes and Mullins to replace Orr and Martin on the police board, the latter two refused to leave the building. The state charter granted Waite the right to make appointments to the Denver police board, but not, evidently, the power to force the municipal government to accept those appointments. That power resided with the courts, but the courts had no case to hear. The governor threatened to call in the militia to install the new police board by force, and in response Denver's mayor began recruiting a "special police force" to defend city hall against an incursion. For his part, the county sheriff began recruiting some two hundred deputies to join the defense of City Hall.
While this brewing fight is now sometimes considered a fight over home rule, as it was often framed at the time, it was in fact an attempt by the governor to counteract the gambling fraternity's influence over Denver city affairs. Knowing the new board would outlaw gambling, the men signing up to defend city hall were largely gamblers, con men, pimps, drunks, hobos and assorted criminals. That is, the denizens of Larimer Street. The halls of the bulding were packed with dynamite, and arms distributed. Soapy Smith recruited many of his associates. The Blongers probably did the same, in all likelihood. Many of these same players will later emerge as Lou's staunch allies.
This threat from without, the state threatening the city and the system that had worked so well for so many for so long, may indeed have multiplied the Blongers influence in Denver. All the "right" people were momentarily united, and working toward a common goal, and anything one might do to help would be appreciated by city politicians, cops, the sheriff and his deputies, detectives, gamblers and bunko men alike.
Pagosa Springs News, March 16, 1894
It seems from newspaper reports that every Denver tough who is not behind bars is either a deputy sheriff, or a special police officer.
The merry political war in Denver still continues. In the Republican camp Stevens is on top, while Governor Waite is running things with a high hand among the populists.
Orr and Martin secured an injunction against the governor from district court Judge Graham, enjoining their dismissal.
Pagosa Springs News, March 16, 1894
Probably never before in the history of this country has a governor been enjoined by a district judge from doing any certain contemplated act. Judge Graham of Denver the other day enjoined Governor Waite from doing a certain thing in relation to the Police and Fire Board.
Will Governor Waite never quit his foolish business of removing officials contrary to law and all decency? If he will keep on the balance of the year as he has in the past month he will have the whole state in a muddle. He should read the decision of the supreme court of Kansas on the act of Governor Lewelling in removing Mrs. Lease.
But Gov. Waite was not interested in a district court judge's opinion. To prove his point, he then sought to force Judge Graham to issue a warrant for the governor's arrest for contempt of court. The ensuing case before the state supreme court would surely show that the governor did indeed have the right to appoint and install the new board.
Aspen Weekly Times, March 17, 1894
WAR CLOUD IN DENVER
Governor Waite Has Ordered Out the Colorado National Guard
HE HAS ASSERTED HIS DIGNITY
The Injunction of District Court Judge Graham Will Be DefiedMartin and Orr Must Step Down and Out and the New Police Commissioners, Barnes and Mullins Will Be Inducted Into OfficeThe Governor's Orders Not Subject to Review By District Judges.
At 10 o'clock Wednesday night Governor Waite, commander in chief of the national guard of Colorado, issued the following order, says the Denver News:
(Special Order No. 242)
Brigadier General E.J. Brooks, Colonel A.W. Hogle, commanding First Battallion, C.N.G.
You will immediately upon receipt of this order, order the troops of your command to assemble at the armory at 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 15. You will report to Brigadier General T.J. Tarsney, who will assume command.
DAVIS H. WAITE
Governor and Commander-in-Chief
Like orders were issued to Captain R.A. Kincaid, commanding Chaffee light artillery and to chief signal officer of the signal corps attached to teh First Battallion.
When the governor returned from Colorado Springs Wednesday evening he went into private conference with Adjutant General Tarsney and ex-Mayor Platt Rogers, who is chief council for the new police board. At the conclusion of this conference the orders were issued and there is little room for doubt that the governor proposes to use the national guard to place Commissioners Barnes and Mullins in possession of their offices and declare martial law until that end is accomplished. Judge Graham in refusing to modify his injunction laid down the proposition that the governor's power ends with his appointments and that he has no power to induct his appointees. The governor seems to intend to demonstrate that Judge Graham was in error.
Just what plan will be followed is not known. Wednesday afternoon the impression was the governor in person would proceed to the office of the board and demand possession from Messrs. Orr and Martin. This was to be accompanied by the handing over of a formal written notice demanding an immediate vacation and a transfer of the records, together with warning that a failure to comply will leave the responsiblity on the heads of the board.
Before the militia were called yesterday the attorneys for the new board and Governor Waite in the fight openly announced that injunction would not be recognized and that it was their purpose to force Judge Graham to order the arrest of Governor Waite for contempt of court. The purpose of this action is to make the issue one clearly between the power of a district court and the chief executive of the state. Commissioners Mullins and Barnes will have nothing to do with the matter. The governor will serve as their vanguard and endeavor to place them in office.
Platt Rogers, attorney for the new board, stated when asked about the case: "We will bring matters to a head. Our object is to test the authority of Judge Graham over the legal acts of the Governor. We will not pay any attention to the injunction and take such action as will place the governor in contempt and force the courts to do something. Then the issue will be, not on the validity of the injunction, but on the power of the district court over acts of the governor in conformity with the power invested in him."
"What will you do to get into contempt?"
"I do not care to say just what will be done. No, it will not be necessary to wade in blood up to the bridles. No blood will be shed."
And how would "Bloody Bridles" Waite show his contempt for Judge Graham's ruling?
Waite made good on his threat to send the state militia to downtown Denver, with their infantry, gatling guns, field artillery. Even signal corps on bicycles. But the boys down at city hall weren't about to roll over.
Aspen Weekly Times, March 17, 1894
It Looks Threatening.
DENVER, March 16.The situation here is growing threatening and more warlike every hour and the streets are filled with soldiers and artillery ready to attack city hall where are fortified the old fire and police board and a large body of policemen armed with shotguns. Some efforts have been made to avert the impending crisis but the governor as commander-in-chief of the state troops, is firm in his stand that justice must be done, or by the eternal, blood will flow and the responsibility will rest upon the corrupt gang at the city hall who have set themselves up against the governor's rights, have defied the law and are willing to commit murder. The grand old governor will endear himself to many here and to the people over the state generally if he will proceed to wipe up the earth with this corrupt and villainous gang of political spoil hunters, men who recognize no law except the law of brute force. It looks now as though Governor Waite will teach them a lesson in force that they will never forget. The militia will respond promptly to the Governor's orders, no matter how far-reaching they may be. General Brooks has informed the gang that any attempts to intimidate him or persuade him from the line of duty will prove abortive. He is a true soldier and as such will obey every order. If he is told to capture the city hall he will do it and if there is resistance somebody is going to get hurt.
It would be a good thing for the purity of politics of Denver if Governor Waite should turn his batteries loose upon the city hall crowd and wipe them out of existence. For some years Denver has been the most corrupt city, politically, of any in the United States. Not only has fraud and force been used by the old political gang as the usurpers of the rights of others, but murder has been added to their crimes. They are in politics for spoils and they are willing to commit murder rather than give up their official positions to their legally qualified successors. If it is necessary to go to war to enforce the law, it is to be hoped that the battle will be short, decisive and convincing.
A standoff ensued between the militia and the Denver machine policemen, firemen, politicians, gamblers, bunco steerers and other ne'er-do-wells with both sides maneuvering for control of the city government. The confrontation was eagerly observed by thousands of spectators in the streets, seemingly oblivious to the explosive nature of the situation.
Castle Rock Journal, March 21, 1894
WAR'S HORRID FRONT
DENVER AN ARMED CAMP.
Governor Waite Calls Out the Militia to Oust the Recalcitrant Police BoardCannon Trained on the City Hall.
Denver was shaken from center to circumfrence Thursday the 15th by wars and rumors of wars.
The contest over the positions of the Fire and Police Board of Denver had reached a critical stage. The preceeding facts are as follows:
Governor Waite on the 8th removed Orr and Martin from the board because they protected gambling. He appointed Barnes and Mullins in their places. Orr and Martin refused to vacate. The governor threatened to drive them out with the militia. Orr and Martin appealed to the District Court, and Judge Graham issued a temporary injunction forbidding the executive from interfering with them. Governor Waite and his attorneys held that the court had no right to restrain the state's chief executive from doing what he considered to be his duty.
The morning papers made public the startling fact that Governor Waite had ordered the infantry, artillery and signal corps, Colorado National Guard in the city to report at the armory at 1 p.m. It was generally believed that his intention was to disregard he injunction of Judge Graham and attempt to forcibly remove Messrs. Orr and Martin, the old members of the police board from its office in the city hall and install the new board, Messrs. Rogers , Mullins and Barnes. The supposition proved to be correct for at 2 o'clock the militia was ordered to move on the city hall under Adjutant General Tarsney. Colonel Hogle was relieved from the command as he was feared to be disloyal to the governor's cause. The force consisted of the Chaffee Light Artillery with two Gatling guns and two twelve-pounders, the signal corps mounted on bicycles and the infantry, the whole force numbering about 200 men. The column accompanied by a great crowd of curious citizens moved down from the armory at 26th and Curtis streets to Fourteenth and Lawrence, one block from the city hall. The cannon and Gatling guns were unlimbered and pointed toward the city hall.
During this time the other side had not been idle. The police force had all been concentrated in the city hall, armed with rifles and shot guns and given orders. The sheriff also being in sympathy with the old board had pepared to take a hand by swearing in a large force of deputies, said to number 200, who would be used to support the court's injunction and help defend the old police board. Some of these deputies were of the worst class of tough citizens. It being generally understood that the new board if installed would put a stop to gambling, the gambling fraternity were very ready to lend all the aid possible in defense of the old board. It was stated that besides ordinary arms the forces at city hall had a supply of dynamite on hand to use as a last resort if an attack was made upon them.
Such was the condition of affairs at 9 o'clock.
But attempts at an adjustment of the controversy had been in progress. Committees of citizens and a committee of leading business men representing the Chamber of Commerce labored with the two sides to secure a compromise of some sort that would prevent the opening of hostilities.
The lawyers for the opposing sides had not been idle and were in consultation all day. The attorneys for Orr and Martin asked the other side to submit to the Supreme Court the question whether the governor had the right to call out the militia, as he had done. Barnes and Mullins refused to accept the proposition. They wanted the Supreme Court to decide the whole question as to who should hold the office. Orr and Martin would not consent to have the question of their rights thus hurriedly passed upon. It has been stated that the object of Orr and Martin was to keep the case in the courts as long as possible, they holding on to the offices until it was settled.
The governor had advised the officers to delay an attack on the city hall pending these negotiations, but at five o'clock the attorneys for Orr and Martin refused to discuss the matter further.
But Governor Waite had decided that the force of the militia at his command was not sufficient to cope with the formidable forces within the city hall and he did not give the order to fire. Instead he appealed to General McCook at Fort Logan, ten miles from the city for United States troops to help keep order in the city. General McCook responded in person, accompaned by 300 men who were encamped near the depot for the night. It was explicitly stated by General McCook that he came not to interfere in the contests, but to assist in maintaining order in the city.
Governor Waite, having decided that he needed a larger force before beginning an assault on the city hall, ordered the militia back to their barracks. He then caused General Tarsney to issue an order to the National guard at Leadville, Aspen, Boulder, Pueblo, Grand Junction and Durango to hold themselves in readiness to proceed to Denver if ordered to do so on Friday. General Tarsney said that fully 1,300 men would be under arms on Saturday in Denver800 regulars and 500 extras.
Late in the afternoon the attorneys for Orr and Martin applied to Judge Graham, who had issued the injunction, to order the arrest of Governor Waite for contempt. Judge Graham refused, however, to sign the writ, saying that he did not believe that the governor intended to be vicious in this matter. He said he would wait for further developments.
This was the situation when the citizens of Denver went to bed on Thursday night.
Taken aback by the strength of the city hall forces, Waite recalled the militia to await reinforcements, including units from around the state, and regular army.
The Colorado state supreme court ended the conflict a few days later without bloodshed, ruling that the governor did have the right to replace the police and fire board, but lacked the authority to have the state militia do it for him. The new board would, nevertheless, now take office.
It was General Tarsney, by the way, who led us to this chain of events in the first place. An article connected Lou to the later investigation of a crime against Tarsney. More on that later.
A fellow populist and reformer, Waite is said to have given Tarsney control over the city hall operation because there was doubt as to the willingness of Brooks and others to faithfully execute this operation.
Aspen Weekly Times, April 21, 1894
AN END OF GANG RULE
Commissioners Orr and Martin Step Down
and Out Yesterday.
HOW THE DECISION WAS RECEIVED
The Gambling Fraternity That Stood So Faithfully By the Gang of Dynamiters Are Trembling In Anticipation of the Fate That Awaits ThemTheir Conspiracy Against Decency and Order Fails and With It Their Hope of ProsperityThe Political Machine Is Smashed.
DENVER, April 17.The decision by the supreme court yesterday was a complete and conclusive victory for Gov. Waite and the new fire and police board. Commissioners Orr and Martin will vacate the board rooms at noon today without further controversy and both departments will be turned over to the new board. The belief is that under the decision of the court Messrs Orr and Martin cannot even bring a suit for damages in the district court on the ground that their removal was for political reasons. In fact there is strong intimation in the decision that Mullins and Barnes could ask for damages from Orr and Martin.
The most important matter remaining to be developed is the policy of the new board towards the gambling houses. The members of the board decline to state what course they will pursue, but a populist who stands so close to them that his utterances have almost the force of an ex cathedra dictum says that every gambling house in town will be closed.
"The program which is mapped out," said he, "is to shut every one of them and keep them shut. The governor and board are committed to that course and there will be no half measures. Lower Seventeenth street will also be cleaned of the bunco men who have infested it. All these people have been helping to hold up the old board with money and physical force. Jeff Smith will be arrested every day so long as he attempts to continue his present occupation. The district attorney may turn them all loose or refuse to prosecute if he likes, but the board will keep right on arresting."
"No, it is not intend even to center gambling in one locality under surveliance, at least not for the present. It may not be that business men's petitions will be received and then the subject will properly come up for consideration, though it is very doubtful if any petition will be granted. I tell you, too, that the best of the gamblers will be glad to have the present state of affairs ended. There is a whole breed of deputy sheriffs and leeches living off them and they are being bled to death. They couldn't stand it much longer."
Even though the board may not be so drastic as this political light expects, there is no doubt it will adopt stringent measures.
Commissioners Orr and Martin said they would leave today. They met during the morning and renewed some saloon licenses. A couple of officers were kept on guard in the board rooms as usual all day.
Commissioners Mullins and Barnes were of course elated and Mr. Barnes had a handshaking matinee with Mayor Van Horn. Commissioner Mullins said the board would assume its duties fully and would give all its efforts to securing reorganization upon a basis which would give efficient service and satisfy the public. They were very busy with the detail work of selecting men, etc.
Auditor Gird says that the authority of the old board to draw warrants will be recognized so far as he is concerned up until noon today. He does not think there will be any difficulty about the officers or men getting their pay. The only hitch might arise from the mayor refusing to sign the warrants and it is understood his honor will not refuse. There will be some question about the pay for the past two weeks of the ten men discharged by the old board for refusing to sign the agreement.
The republicans of the gang could not find anything too bitter to say of Justice Elliot. They stood on the street corners and declared that it was politics that put him on the supreme bench and that rightly or wrongly, law or no law, he should have stood by the old board and the gang. They said they would stand united to defeat his renomination for his present place.
Now that the row is over one of the men most deeply concerned says that the puzzle to everybody connected with the case is: What was the cause of the governor calling out the militia so suddenly? When the chief executive went to Colorado Springs that day it was understood by the attorneys and all others interested, that the governor in person would go to the city hall the next morning with the new commissioners and make a demand for the offices. The governor went to Colorado Springs and participated in some exercises at Colorado college library. Late that night, after returning to Denver, he peremptorily ordered the militia to report at the armory at noon next day. It is now surmised that the governor must have suffered some slight or snub at Colorado Springs, which has never been made public and which led him to make up his mind to take prompt action for the assertion of his dignity and prerogative.
When Gov. Waite employed contempt to goose the courts into action, attempting to force his policy decision on Denver with the state militia, he did so knowing full well such a move was uncalled for and should result in his own arrest (it didn't). What's more, he didn't anticipate the army of lowlifes standing by the cops and firemen, ready seemingly to defend city hall with their lives.
Yet in the end, the Colorado Supremes had to rule that the Governor's appointments were legitimate. Orr and Martin were out, Barnes and Mullins were in. So what?
So now the governor's men would clean things up from the top down, shutting down prostitution, games of chance and bunco activities in Denver once and for all, and putting the criminals behind bars where they belonged.
They would give it a shot, anyway.