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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 13, 1905)
-VOLUME 5, NUMBER M
m . r
DARK LANTERN METHODS BY THE
"DEFENDERS OF NATIONAL HON
Democrats will remember that John A. Mc
Call, president of the New York Life Insurance
company, was very active in his opposition to
the democratic national ticket in 189G. Mr. Mc
Call frequently gave out high-sounding newspaper
interviews, declaring that he was actuated by
high and lofty motives, and he issued a circular
to the policyholders in his company, in which
he warned them that the election of the demo
cratic ticket would force the company into pay
ing claims of the insured in "50 cent dollars." In
that letter Mr. McCall said: "To compel the
policyholder or his family to accept one-half the
value that he has paid for at the maturity of the
claim would be as iniquitous and indefensible as
though he had been robbed on the h ghway." Mr.
McCall further said that the issue in 189G "in
volves the honor of the people and the prosperity
of the country" to which, as Mr. McCall put it,
"the Chicago candidate and platform are antagon
istic." Mr. McCall then asked thoso who would
hear him to sot aside their "non-essential con
victions" and aid in the defeat of the democratic
ticket "for patriotic reasons if for no other." In
that letter he had much to say concerning the
"sacred trusts" confided to his care. He sought
to make his policyholders believe that his op
position to the democratic ticket was based upon
his anxiety to guard thoso "sacred trusts." The
testimony before the New York Insurance Com
mittee shows that at the time he was making
s those appeals in behalf o the republican na
tional ticket, and not only then, but long prior
to that time and since that time, Mr. McCall and
his associates were trafficking In the "sacred
trusts" confided to their care. The testimony
shows that Mr. McCall and his associates had
small conception of "honor when it came to liand-c
ling the policyholders' money.
It was not "50 cent dollars" that Mr. Mc
Cali and his boon companions were afraid of in
that campaign. They knew they were 'guilty of
fraud, bribery of legislatures, corruption of poll-
tics, and misuse of trust funds. They were afraid
of criminal prosecution, and they felt safer under
a republican administration.
The testimony introducod before the insur
ance committee at New York shows that McCall
and his Associates lied (the term may be harsh,
but it is deserved) in every material statement
made in a circular issued by them, which cir
cular was intended .to impress upon the agents
of the company and the public generally the no
tion that the affairs of the New York Life In
surance company were in the hands of highly hon
orable men, who could be depended upon to ad
minister those affairs honestly and in a business
like way. If any 'one douMs this statement let
him read the circular now in The Commoner's
possession. This circular is entitled "The Com
pensation of the Executive Officers of the New
tYork Life Insurance Company; Who they are;
How Chosen; Their Duties."
The following showing deals with extracts
taken from this circular:
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 1
"The doors of the New York L'ife are open
wide .for public Inspection; it courts publicity
and welcomes the sunlight."
Yet the testimony before New York's insur
ance committee showed innumerable instances
of dark lantern deals, while tho officers' of the
company, admitting that $100,000 was paid to one
Andrew Hamilton, could not say for what purpose
that large sum of monev was expended. Tho
' New York Herald says: "These Hamilton checks,
- drawn on the unexplained order of Mr. McCall,
and paid on March 9, 1A04, were for $55,000 and
$45,000 respectively. They were first charged
against the 'non-ledger' account in the Hanover
bank oflce, No. 5 Nassau street, which Is really
the headquarters of the chairman of the Finance
committee. Later they were transferred to the
real estate account on the regular- books of the
company, and the $100,000 entry was included
la an item designated 'sundries,' which aggregat
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 2
- "There is not a single thing the executive'
officers nave to conceal."
YGt it Was brought OUt before t.lin'-lnHiirnnnn
"Aommlttflfl that thSuNow York T,lff-fmnnnnr lio"
fatfrVarioua times- transferred blocks of .securities,
aggregating several millions of dollars, to tho
New York Security and Trust company, now
known as the New York Trust company, to en
able it to conceal the ownership of these stocks
in its annual schedule of assets.
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 3
"The following direct and positive state
ments are made: The last of the New York
Life's holding of stocks were disposed of in 1901
in accordance with its own modifications of its
own by-laws Since that date not a dollar of its
funds has been invested in bank stocks, trust
companies' stocks, railroad or any other kind
Yet the testimony shows that millions of dol
lars of the funds were invested in such securi
ties, and that in order to bolster up its false
statement the New York Life adopted a system
of transferring these securities to a trust com
pany, the transaction taking the form, on the
company's books, of a loan to the Life company
the loan being secured by notes drawn by em
ployes in the New York Life with the stock as
collateral security. One of the employees, who
drew a note running to the Trust company, was
a messenger who received a salary of $600 a
year. His note was for $1,500,000, and was ac
cepted by the Trust company, qne of the other
employes who gave his note was a clerk in the
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 4
"No officer of the New York Life has re
ceived any profit from the sale of stocks or other
securities of the New York Life."
The testimony justifies the conclusion that
some one did receive some of these profits. As
the Chicago Record-Herald says: "The records
of the company show.jthat it participated in cer
tain, syndicate operations. There are memoranda
to show th'e. amount of profit made by the syndi
cates and the share to which the insurance com
pany was entitled. A thorough and exhausting,
search of the booksj lasting for -weeks, has in
a number of cases, "however, failed to show any
indication that the company received the profits."
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 5
"All of the New York Life's financial trans
actions have always been directly carried on in
the company's name never in the name of any
individual or individuals."
Yet the testimony discloses that transactions
amounting to millions of dollars have been- car
ried on in the names of poorly paid employes.
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 6
"No officer of the New York Life has ever
shared in or received compensation of any kind
from the purchase of securities by the New York
Yet the testimony justifies the conclusion that
this "direct and positive statement" was a per
version of the truth.
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 7
"No officer of the New York Life receives any
salary or compensation, directly or Indirectly,
from any corporation whose securities are held
by the New York Life."
Yet Vice President Perkins is a member of
J. P. Morgan & Co., in whose securities the Life
company extensively dealt.
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 8
"No officer of the New York Life receives a
profit or compensation of any kind from the sale
of securities by the New York Life, or from
investments made with the funds of the New
Yet the testimony discloses that syndicates
galore trafficked in the New York Life's funds.
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 9
"No officer of the company has ever been
allowed to borrow money from tfie company or
in any way to secure the company's funds for
his own purposes."
Yet John A. McCall on his own motion and
without tho sanction of anyone, paid more than
$148,000 to the republican national committee.
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 10
"The board of trustees of the New York -Life
most jealously guard the policyholders' funds
No officer would bo allowed by them, oven if
he were so disposed, to profit directly or Indirect
ly by his official connection- -with the company
or in any other way than by -the salary voted
by the board and allowed to him for his scrvipM
Yet the testimony discloses many inStanl
showing the untruth of this statement.
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 11
"We commend the policy of an open ledger
We commend a ruling- under which information'
when sought, is sent promptly to the nollcv'
holders." , 3
Yet the testimony discloses that the habit
of the New York Life was to transact business
in the dark.
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 12
"President McCall's life has been an open
book. Under his superintendency the New York
insurance department became the terror of evil
doers and the sure support and defense of thoso
who did well. All that President McCall has
gained in popularity and position and power in
the world of business and finance has been
achieved by his diligence, his capacity for hard
work, his strict adherence to upright business
methods, by rugged integrity and by his keen
sense of his tremendous responsibility toward
the vast and sacred interests in his charge."
Comment on this highly eulogistic and wholly
undeserved tribute is unnecessary. Sec testi
mony before New York's insurance committee.
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 13
Under the title, "Some of the More Import
ant Duties of the President," appears the fol
lowing: "Transferring securities; satisfying
mortgages; making and calling in investments
with consent of finance committee."
Yet the testimony discloses that President
McCall in dealing with these important affairs
did not wait for the consent or approval of
any one. : '
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 14
"No one in. an official -position with this
company, can participate in any income from its
business,, or receive directly or indirectly any
other, fee, emolument or compensation than his
regular monthly salary check."
This statement is amply' refuted in the testi
mony given before the insurance committee.
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 15
"Prior to Mr. Perkins' connection with the
J. P. Morgan & Co., the New York Life had a
bank account" with that firm. After Mr. Perkins
entered the firm, that, bank account was closed
and the New York Life has sinqe had no financial
transactions" of any such kind or nature with
the firm of J. P! Morgan & Co." -
Yet Mr. Perkins himself admitted that as
vice president 'of the New York Life he sold to
himself, as a member of the firm of J. P. Morgan
& Co., $800,000' in securities, and that later as
vice president of the Life company he bought
those same securities from himself as a member
of J. P. Morgan & Co.
.FALSEHOOD NUMBER 16
"In every particular have the board of trustees
of the New York Life safeguarded the interests
of its policyholders by surrounding the actions
of its committees and executive offlcers with by
laws that are strict and wise."
The testimony before the insurance commit
tee discloses that whatever these by-laws may
have been, they were not sufficient to safeguard
tho interests of the policyholders while McCall,
Perkins et al, were in control.
FALSEHOOD NUMBER 17
In one paragraph it is stated that the treas
urer of the New York Life sees to it that "just
and true cash, check, bank and other pror
books are kept especially including records oi
all moneys received, deposited, drawn and dis
bursed, for what, and from whom received. ioi
what and to whom disbursed, and of all linea
ments and securities." .
Yet the testimony discloses that, acting o
his own authority, the president paid ?H
to the republican national committee, witnoui
designating for what purpose the money .i
expended, and in another instapce 5 , , . rt
Andrew Hamilton checks amounting-to ?u. l
tho purpose of vhieh payment no one seeing i
to explain, whjk) $135,000 additional was clinic
to "sundries.')'"' !
TALSEHOOD NUMBER 18
"The -Nqw -York Life is nothing if "o; a
' (Continued on Page' 7)
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