This article was last modified on July 21, 2015.

Harry Kaminsky and Auto Acceptance Corp

In late May 1965, Henry Christian Strand of Milwaukee sent a telegram to the US Attorney General alleging criminal activity involving Harry Kaminsky. He wrote, “Have proof of forgery, changed date on checks, fraudulent bankruptcy, partnership to fleece victims, preplanned mental confinement successfully executed to stop victim from rebuttal action. Bribery and politics with district attorney’s office. The above statement is correct. Do not wish to become another Ruby.”

Strand came in to the Milwaukee office of the FBI on June 22 and spoke with Special Agent Alexander LeGrand. After their conversation, LeGrand decided that Strand had no information concerning federal violations, and was something of a “mental case”. Strand said he had been committed to a mental institution in 1962 as part of a “plot” that Kaminsky had against him. Checking with police, LeGrand found that in 1962, Kaminsky foreclosed on an apartment house that Strand owed $20,000 on and was unable to pay. Upset, Strand threatened to kill Kaminsky and was then committed.

Harry Kaminsky filed for Chapter 10 bankruptcy on August 2, 1966. He claimed $1.3 million in assets, but over $7 million in liabilities.

On September 20, 1966, Doris J. Walker called Irving Kirsch Corporation and said she needed five rooms of furniture and ten filing cabinets moved and put in storage. By the end of the day, she called back and said she no longer thought she had to move.

On September 21, the US Attorney got word from a landlord that Doris Walker was living in an apartment but for the last three months her payments were not made. The landlord was shown papers from Walker purporting to show that she worked for Auto Acceptance, and claimed it was Harry Kaminsky who had been paying her rent. He also provided her with a Chevrolet convertible that was leased. She said she handled mortgage transactions in Chicago. The landlord said the apartment was full of filing cabinets and telephones, which caught the attorney’s attention: if the cabinets contained papers from Auto Acceptance not submitted during bankruptcy, Kaminsky would be in big trouble. The landlord was pleased with the lack of payment, as he was trying to evict her for a long time because of visits she had late at night from various men, including a Milwaukee Journal employee. (Upon further inspection, the cabinets appeared to contain papers from Kleen Key, a wholesale cleaning products business.)

On September 21, the FBI spoke with Evelyn Kohnke, the apartment manager. She said it was her understanding that Doris Walker had been married several times. When asked about the late night visitors, Walker said these were out of town businessmen who needed a place to stay, and there was nothing improper going on. (A credit with the credit bureau revealed that Walker had been married at least five times, her birth name being Doris J. Davis. One of her husbands, Fred Treuber, had died in 1951. Walker was born in 1914, and had been involved in businesses in Wisconsin, Illinois and Florida. Other than Kleen Key, she had owned or operated a series of other businesses: holding company Dee Jay Association, Trubilt Trailer and Marine Company, Tower and Layton Trailer Park, and the Garden Pool Apartments.)

On September 22, the receiver for Kaminsky’s bankruptcy went to the FBI office and said he thought there was something suspicious going on. A United Van Lines truck was seen at Kaminsky’s house (8130 North Beach Drive) on August 27, which was after he filed for bankruptcy, but before his home was examined for assets. The receiver expected such items as antiques may have been taken out and hidden.

On October 8, Kaminsky testified that all his records were at the office of the Auto Acceptance Corp and not anywhere else (such as with Doris Walker).

On February 27, 1967, attorney R. Arthur Ludwig said Auto Acceptance employee George Whipple had gone to Illinois and gotten a $1000 check from Leo Fox for Kaminsky. Such funds should have been turned over to the court. Ludwig also said Whipple had rented a truck and repossessed pinball and vending machines, turning them over to Kaminsky. Whipple said these actions were okayed by the court’s appointed trustee, Frank Verbest. Ludwig also objected to a claim by Harvey W. Landers for $84,000 in commissions from Auto Acceptance. As Landers was Kaminsky’s brother-in-law, he found the request suspicious.

On April 6, 1967, a $4.8 million judgment was ordered against the Kaminsky brothers and Auto Acceptance.

On May 2, 1967, Harry Kaminsky filed a police report saying various equipment was stolen from Auto Acceptance: a photocopier, three adding machines, five typewriters, one typewriter stand, and a check protector. Total value was considered to be over $6000. The equipment had been taken some time during the night.

On May 12, Terry Kaminsky was arrested in Elk Grove, Illinois (at the O’Hare Oasis) for shoplifting and held on an old warrant for resisting arrest. They searched his car (a white over red station wagon) and found all of the stolen office supplies inside. Terry gave his address as the the Tri-State garage, 5250 North River Road in Rosemont. Harry Kaminsky was informed and said he would arrange to have the equipment picked up. Because Terry was his nephew, he would not be pressing charges.

On May 29, Terry Kaminsky was arrested again, this time following a traffic stop for obstructing the flow of traffic. While writing the ticket, Kaminsky attempted to run Officer Melvin Clarkdown with his car. The officer fired shots at the vehicle and a chase ensued, ending with Kaminsky fleeing on foot and being tackled. He resisted violently. In his vehicle were seven typewriters, a movie projector and various office equipment that traced to Rockford Memorial Hospital. He was put in Cook County Jail on $15,000 bond for aggravated assault, resisting arrest and grand theft.

Harry Kaminsky’s health took a downward turn in 1968. On March 28, he had a liver biopsy that showed cholestasis and bile plugging, compatible with extrahepatic biliary obstruction. He was put on corticosteroids to reduce the jaundice, but it was a complete failure. On April 13, he had a celiac angiogram and it showed there was likely a lesion in his pancreas. They opened him up on April 17, and found a large growth on the pancreas strongly suggesting pancreatic cancer. A cholecystojejunostomy was performed to remove the obstruction. Kaminsky was discharged from Mount Sinai Hospital on April 29, and it was suggested he undergo chemotherapy. When examined on May 10, Kaminsky was “mildly jaundiced” and quite thin — within two months he had dropped from 179 pounds to around 148.

Kaminsky died October 27, 1968. Pending indictments against him were dismissed.

Also try another article under Organized Crime
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

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