As the thirtieth anniversary of the JFK assassination approaches, I must tell the world about a 58-year-old man who can identify the conspirators. What follows has never been published before. I am a journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University who was born after the assassination. I don't have the money to travel to New York City where I know of people who can testify that this 58-year-old man holds the key. In the limited time I have had to solicit media people who could expose this story, they have all dismissed the idea as libelous. The Washington Post and the New York Press (a free weekly) turned it down. My faculty has no pull.
So please, somebody, steal the following story! I'm a poor student who must prepare for final exams. Can you send this along to a journalist you know who can publish or broadcast it? He or she knows that the best defense against libel is the truth, which is:
The JFK assassination conspirators recruited Ron Pataky, now 58, to seduce and kill journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. Their motive was to prevent her from printing the truth about November 22, 1963 in her widely read newspaper. She had already published front-page stories in newspapers around the country implicating Chief Justice Earl Warren and the Justice Department in the cover-up. She worked closely with Mark Lane, a lawyer who in 1964/65 was working on his ground-breaking assassination book "Rush To Judgment." He gave Kilgallen leads for her news stories. In the fall of 1965, she told him and other friends that she was about to travel to Dallas, where she expected to find evidence that would break the JFK case wide open.
But on November 7, 1965, a newspaper columnist named Ron Pataky waited for his intimate friend Dorothy Kilgallen to arrive for a prearranged meeting in the cocktail lounge of New York's Regency Hotel. That night she appeared as usual as a panelist on the TV game show called "What's My Line?". Millions of people around North America saw her figure out the careers of two contestants as CBS broadcast the series live from 10:30 to 11:00 pm. She then joined Bob Bach, the producer of "What's My Line?", at a club called P.J. Clarke's, whose employees later admitted having seen her. After midnight, she left Bach to visit the cocktail lounge of the Regency Hotel (Park Ave. and 61st St.), whose employees have never admitted what they saw.
One Regency employee, Harvey Daniels (press agent), did tell a writer in 1976 that he saw Kilgallen enter the cocktail lounge at about 1:00 am on November 8. But he did not pay attention to where or with whom she sat. He left the building shortly thereafter. This writer who interviewed him is Ms. Lee Israel, a veteran magazine journalist whose conversations with Helen Gahagan Douglas and Katherine Hepburn had appeared in Esquire and Saturday Review. When Ms. Israel tried to interview other Regency employees for the Kilgallen book she was working on, the management (Loews Hotels) warned her away.
I found out earlier this month (November 1993) that several employees of the Regency who were on duty that night still work there. The only name I know is John Mahon, a bartender. He told me that he and various waiters and bellhops will talk if you clear it with Loews Hotels. The contact person, Debra Kelman, did NOT work there in 1976 when Loews told Lee Israel to keep away.
The direct line to Debra Kelman is 212-545-2833. On the phone she sounds too young to remember the assassination. But I don't have the money to stay in New York to interview anyone.
What could you get out of an interview with a Regency employee? Well, the official cause of Dorothy Kilgallen's death is an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol, "circumstances undetermined." I interviewed Ron Pataky and I believe he gave her a Mickey Finn in that hotel lounge. When Loews Hotels warned away Lee Israel in 1976, the media did not have the power it has today. Oprah Winfrey and cable TV had not yet come along, and the JFK assassination was still largely a taboo topic. Someone who approaches Loews and then bartender John Mahon and other Regency employees may get better results today.
You might wonder about contacting Ron Pataky. I already interviewed him on the phone for three hours and taped it. In the beginning of the conversation he became very upset when I asked about his frequent stays at the Regency in 1964/65. He then rambled on about his "close friendship" with Dorothy Kilgallen. He later admitted to talking to her on the phone long distance five times a week, often at three in the morning. He revealed that she made overseas calls to him from a vacation she made to Europe, and she sometimes used his Regency Hotel suite to change clothes before they painted the town in New York. He says he wrote the lead paragraph to one of her JFK articles. He first met her a year and five months before she died, but he denies that they had an affair.