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PAGE 4 PART 2- TWO DESCRIBE AUTO DEALER'S PLEA FOR GASH Tell of Sale at Which 359 Cars Vanished BY SANDY SMITH An auto agency owner and one of his salesmen testified yesterday that Leroy Silver-stein, 37, demanded cash from buyers when 359 cars vanished from his auto agency in a two day sale now under investigation by federal authorities. "Silverstein told me he wanted to raise nioney, but for what purpose I had no idea," said Daniel Bragiel, 5431 Howard st., Western Springs, osvner of a Berwyn used car firm. He and the salesman, Charles Steen, 1915 S. Harlem av., Berwyn, testified at a federal District court bankruptcy hearing into the vanished assets of the Sterling-Harris Ford agency, owned by Silverstein and George Harris. 'In Need of Cash' " Bragiel said Silverstein told him he needed cash immediately and didn't want any checks," Steen testified. " He told me Silverstein wanted the cash that night because he needed it early Monday morning." Their testimony was the first Indication at the hearings that Silverstein needed cash during the big week-end auto sale last March 4 and 5. Attorneys for creditors of Sterling-Harris agency contend that the cars were peddled at bargain prices to pay off loans from crime syndicate gangsters and loan sharks. Bragiel and Steen said they bought 10 of the cars, paying for them with. $15,000 in currency and a $7,000 note. Creditors Seek Cars Attorneys for the creditors of Sterling-Harris asked the federal bankruptcy referee, Stephen R. Chummers, to order Steen and Bragiel to surrender the cars they bought to a bankruptcy receiver. Chummers continued the hearing until today. Earlier, in a report filed in federal District court, the Federal Bureau of Investigation gave the first complete tally of the 244 new cars and 115 used cars that disappeared from the agency. The number of missing cars was believed previously to be 300. The FBI report was presented to Judge Julius H. Miner, who last week issued a search warrant that resulted in the discovery of the auto agency's records, which had been missing. FBI agents found the records in the basement of a waste company operated by mob figures and by Silverstein. 359 Cars Listed The FBI reported that inventory stock cards listed 359 cars the agency had on Friday, March 3. The agency lot on North Cicero avenue was bare, the cars missing, on Monday morning, March 6. Crime syndicate gangsters and an underworld loan shark, Leo Rugendorf, 46, have been accused of engineering the two day sale to recover a five-figure loan to the agency. The cars reportedly were peddled below factory prices for cash .to buyers, who included hoodlums, racketeers, gamblers, and one city worker. Bank Account Traced The FBI found work sheets analyzing the bank account of Sterling-Harris agency from January to March 7, but James H. Gale, Chicago FBI chief, refused to discuss the bank records. Attorneys for the creditors eharee the money from the March 4-5 sale disappeared J along with the cars. The funds have not been found in the Sterling-Harris bank accounts, the attorneys said. F and the N. Ul taxi-cab of be 777, cab the of of on cer a

Clipped from Chicago Tribune, 26 May 1961, Fri,  Page 24

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Chicago Tribune
(Chicago, Illinois)
26 May 1961, Fri  • Page 24