CHIEF INSPECTOR R. J. KNIGHT MAKES SOME
4 SENSATIONAL WHITE SLAVE CHARGES
Charges that white slave recruiting stations were allowed to run in the
guise of employment agencies during Former Gov. Deneen's regime are
made by the new chief inspector, Richard J. Knight.
Knight recently filed charges against four of the old deputy inspectors,
Tony Blasi, Hector Durante, Charles Vavirek and W. B. Page. They are
charged with knowing that certain agencies were violating the law, but
tolerated these conditions.
"I suspended these inspectors and filed charges against them because
they were, at least, guilty of neglect of duty," said Knight. "They not only
allowed some agencies to run without licenses, but allowed the sending qt
girls to houses of ill-fame. Since I have been in office they have constantly
tipped off these agents to my plans.
"There are several theatrical agencies in this city tliat were used to
catch young girls and lead them into immoral lives. But there were other
kinds of agencies started for practically the same purpose.
"Two girls applied for work at the Sophie Prendota agency, 849 Mil
waukee avenue. They stopped there that night with several other girls.
Men came there during the evening with automobiles to take the girls out.
"Foreign girls are the worst sufferers. The Greek restaurant owners
do all their hiring through these shady agents. When they go to the
agency they look over some young girl and then take her into a room to
"In he room with the girl alone they make advances to her. They
invite her out for a good time. The job is used as the lure. Unless she is
willing to go out with them they are not hired. Once they go out their
ruination is complete.
"The Baker Booking Exchange, 219 S. Dearborn street, was permitted
to run as a theatrical agency until the United States got after them under
the Mann White Slave act on a charge of sending Emillie Waite, a singer,
to a house of ill-fame in New Orleans.
"The department of which I am inspector was created just to stop such
practices. And it s up to the inspec
tors to turn in reports. But the four I
suspended wouldn't. I am confident
they knew about it.
"It is commonly known that there
are some agencies which se'nd young
girls to work as maids in houses of
"There are also other charges
against these four men. Durante,
though being paid to devote bis en
tire time to his job, spent six hours
a day &t a printing shop of which he
is owner. He worked two hours a
day for the state and for this drew
$1,500 a year and expenses.
"Vavirek had badges made for 50
cents apiece and sold them to agen
cies for $2.75 apiece. One of the
agents to'ok him to the country every
summer and bought him clothes, etc.
"The habits of the employment
agentsi were illustrated when I first
took office. We were all offered
bribes. One man offered me $100 a
month if I would let things continue
as they formerly had. My Polish in
spector has been offered money sev
"There are charges of immorality
against Blasi. Miss Mary Bleiksser,
1114 Milwaukee avenue, whose li
cense was revoked Aug. 18, 1910, ac
cused Blasi of immoral conduct and
improper attentions. The matter
was brought before William H. Cru
den, then chief inspector, but her
complaint4 was sidetracked and for
daring to make the charge she lost
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