The Pittsburgh Press (September 11, 1941)
PLAYBOY G-MEN OUSTED BY F.B.I.
Major shakeup reported due to hotel parties
New York, Sept. 11 (UP) –
Several pretty young women, many from the male-devastating corps of beautiful New York models, were questioned today by the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding their friendship with members of the FBI.
Three FBI agents have been dismissed and it was reported by the Daily News that 250 more now in key cities would be discharged or transferred.
Back of the reported shakeup were many parties attended by the models and FBI agents who lived in the Beaux Arts Apartment Hotel.
A key figure in the investigation, and the only one held, was a mysterious brunette who claims to be the counsion of the German Sesa Devil, Count Felix von Luckner. She is being held at Saratoga Springs, NY, on charges of impersonating an officer of the Department of Justice.
The prisoner, who was arrested two weeks ago, is known variously as Louise Lauckner, Paula von Luckner, Paula Davis and Carol Hill. She has been a professional singer.
An official of the FBI at Washington said today three agents in the New York field office has been dismissed “for the good of the service.” He denied reports of mass dismissals or transfers. The FBI official said that special agents that the models at the hotel parties pumped the G-men about their work. But, it was understood, agent Robert Gleason had been assigned to investigate the parties and that two or three G-men had been discharged for:
….association with persons prejudicial to the best interests of the Department of Justice.
Confronted with the report that 250 FBI agents had been discharged or transferred, B. Edwin Sackett, in charge of the office here, intimated that the figure was too high. He said:
That’s the bunk.
Earlier, he said the story:
…doesn’t justify comment.
Long before the parties at which she was hostess, Miss Lauckner told reporters she was graduated from the Law School of the University of Michigan and had practiced at Niagara Falls, NY.
A severe sunburn which required hospitalization led to her arrest and the FBI’s involvement in the story. After she failed to pay a $170 hospital bill, it was saudi, authorities discovered that she was posing as a member of the Lands Division of the Justice Department.
She was able to make the pose look realistic, it was reported, because of a close friendship with an assistant to the Attorney General in Washington. It was through this friend. it was said, that she became acquainted with FBI agents.
Questioned at the Federal Building on this phase of the story, an assistant United States attorney withheld comment.
Two of the models who attended the parties denied indignantly that they had the slightest interest in FBI secrets ort that the gatherings has been other than friendly meetings among persons who lived in the same apartment hotel.
Miss Keith Ferguson, 21, a stately blonde from Memphis, Tenn., said:
I was just a dumb, innocent victim. I hardly knew them. It was just howdy-do to you – how are you?
Lucy Leake, 19, of Canton, Ohio, said:
I suppose that the FBI thought the boys were giving us secrets.
Miss Ferguson dismissed the Beaux Arts G-men as:
…nice, young, dumb boys.
I tried to be helpful to the FBI and then, instead of believing me – which is typical of the FBI – they went around investigating everyone I knew.
She said she objected particularly to the “insinuating” type of questioning to which she was subjected.
Miss Ferguson said:
I can’t imagine how you live off your income as a model.
And they said to me:
Being a model, you wouldn’t have anything to sell but your body.
And to think, I won’t even pose in lingerie.
Miss Leake said:
I have lost my illusions about the FBI.
Miss Ferguson added they were invited to the parties because she knew Miss Lauckner slightly.