Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

PAYOFFS IN THE CLOAKROOM

Morning Star, November 3, 1996, pg. 4

Back in 1987, Michigan State University professors Bruce A. Burenstein and Lawrence E. Ziewacz published their acclaimed book, “Three Bullets Sealed His Lips,” which reopened the case of the murder of Albion’s state senator Warren G. Hooper (1905-1945). The authors visited Albion and signed books locally. There were numerous tidbits about Albion and Albion personalities in this book, and the case has been known as Michigan’s most unsolved murder mystery. Of course, particular members of the infamous “Purple Gang” which had a headquarters here during the 1930s, were purported to have carried out the murder while being incarcerated at Jackson State Prison.

The two authors of Three Bullets have published a sequel to their book, entitled “Payoffs in the Cloakroom: The Greening of the Michigan Legislature 1938-1946.” Published in 1995 by the Michigan State University Press, this 260-page hard-cover book delves into political corruption in the Michigan Legislature. Of course none of this goes on today, mind you. The book postulates that Senator Hooper was murdered to prevent his grand jury testimony against Republican boss Frank McKay, who was facing bribery charges. The authors state that Hooper admitted in 1944 that he took money from McKay to influence legislation.

Although Albion is mentioned in passing, there are quotes from the Albion newspaper, and other local references. Also, a better photograph of Hooper was obtained from the authors, as well as other photographs of leading personalities.

This book is a “deeper” resource into the Hooper case, and I suggest our residents obtain a copy and read it. The book is available at the Albion Public Library. For those who wish to purchase one locally, they can be obtained at the Local Focus bookstore on the corner of Cass and Superior Sts.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Senator Warren G. Hooper. By the way, I haven’t forgotten about writing an article about the Purple Gang. It will be coming shortly here in our Historical Notebook.


Senator Warren G. Hooper

Next: LYNN BOGUE HUNT PART 2


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